Down Rigger Weights

Discussion in 'Saltwater Fishing Forum' started by The Skeptic, Jul 20, 2020.

  1. The Skeptic

    The Skeptic New Member

    I apologize if this has been addressed elsewhere. If it has, please link me.

    My father recently upgraded from manual down riggers to Scotty 1106 riggers. They are awesome. They also allow us to fish deeper than the manuals did. We had just been running 12 lb cannonballs with the stabilizer fins.
    I have immediately noticed the angle on our gear while trolling can become extremely exaggerated, especially in current, to the point where I really have no idea where the balls are in the water column.
    Fishing 75' of water with 125' on the down rigger counter makes me really nervous.
    What's the popular outfit here? Should we just buy 15 lb balls? 20lb? Should we just buy pancake weights? If so, what size? We are new to trolling saltwater so any advice would be appreciated.

    We fish out of Sidney in a 16' Lund if anyone ever wants to say hi.
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  2. Jon

    Jon Active Member

    Use 15’s I’m sure you will notice a difference .
  3. Pineapple Express

    Pineapple Express Well-Known Member

    I have 1106s and use 15lb balls with a small fin which helps prevent twisting.

    I've read here but can't really vouch for the accuracy that 15lbs is the sweet spot for the 1106s. Going heavier and deeper is recommended to upgrade to the 2106s
  4. Rockfish

    Rockfish Well-Known Member

    You are correct that there has been a great deal of discussion on various aspects of relevance to your questions and I suspect dozens of threads. When you have some time it would be useful for you to play around with the search function.

    The short answer is if you are experiencing a lot of blow back with high cable angle then going to 15lb ball will help although you will notice the rigger will slow down a little compared to a 10 or a 12. A few will advice they go even heavier on slow speed riggers but most stop at 15lb balls. It is wise not to use more weight than you need as you will lose the odd ball and bigger ones cost more and wear out your rigger cable/braid and rigger terminal gear faster. If you are fishing at say 50 feet and not stacking in modest or flat current, the 10 or 12 will work just fine at normal trolling speeds and not have excessive blow back angle.

    Besides going to a 15lb ball you can reduce the blow back angle by:
    - reducing boat speed
    - fishing in slower current or on tide changes.
    - avoiding localized higher current areas when the current is fast such as where the tide flow is restricted in a narrows or forced up over a reef or around a point.
    - reducing drag by changing to a thinner cable or braid and not stacking a second rod off the same rigger. We use round balls with no fins much of the time.
    - do not use side plane rigger weights (disks etc.) with the large tune-able fins that in effect trade better line separation for increased drag unless you really need line separation and the current is manageable. I do have a buddy who uses 14lb tuneable large fin disks and has no problem with excessive blow back most of the time. He needs the separation on the sides as he sometimes runs 3 riggers off a 16 foot boat.

    If you want/need to go deep and heavy, especially in stronger current, moving up to 2106 will help but there are some trade offs and lots of threads discussing the Pros and Cons between the slow speed riggers vrs the high speed riggers.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
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  5. halimark

    halimark Well-Known Member

    I recommend looking at what cable or braid you are using. If its scotty "rope" then a switch to the Tuff line downrigger braid should solve your issues and stay with current cannonballs. All braids are NOT the same, same weight but not same diameter, some are same as wire others are like sewing thread and all with same rated breaking strength. Do a reasonable comparison, CTire has braids buy a small diameter one (Tuff Line downrigger braid is thinnest for price) and see what blowback you have. I bet running depths you state you will see an immediate decrease in blowback while using same downrigger weight.

    I have compared many times when trolling beside my buddy with his new HP's, scotty braid and 20 lb balls, I use the tuff line and old 13 lb gibbs fat pancakes, both dragging plugs in the mud at 240 ft, my riggers read 280 ft and his says 320 ft out. His blowback is far more evident than mine and we are tracking side by side same speed.

  6. Chasin' Dreams

    Chasin' Dreams Well-Known Member

    #15 balls and aim for about a 45 degree angle on your cable. I only use cable, not braid so I'm just commenting on the cable/ball set ups... Keep in mind that no matter what the tide/current is doing you should aim for this angle so that you know your lure/bait is functioning the way it should. If you see a huge drag on your ball and the angle has increased a lot you need to slow your boat down to get the correct angle back. Don't go by boat speed, that will change with tide, current, wind etc affecting your boat's speed. If you want to go faster to get more action on your lure bait for other species of fish then just keep that faster cable angle in mind and dial that in. There are times in ripping fast, heavy current/tide areas where I will have to slow my boat down to almost no speed at all just to keep my lure/bait/cannon ball all working properly. It's almost like hovering in the current and letting your gear do their thing down in the fast current without hardly having to move your boat. 12# balls can be ok too but again, you have to learn the cable angle and get that dialed in for that ball size. If targeting springs for speed you will find the cable angle with a 12# ball will be a fair bit steeper than when using 15# balls. Personally I use 15's to 20's depending on depth/current/ etc and I fish different cable angles with all of them. After a while of dialing in your different balls/speed etc it will become second nature to you to always be checking your cable angles while trolling.
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  7. Aces

    Aces Well-Known Member

    As others have alluded to, smaller diameter braid or steel cable helps a lot.
    I used double spun 150 lb Superwire that’s not produced any more but it’s very small diameter and I used 15 lb balls with small fins to reduce spinning
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  8. Ian wagner

    Ian wagner Active Member

    There are way more variables to using line angle to judge your speed the important part is how deep your fishing if my gear is at say 80 ft and my line angle is 45 degree and catching fish if I keep the same speed and drop down to say 200ft my line angle is going to change to 75 degree
    Ryan A and Pineapple Express like this.
  9. Chasin' Dreams

    Chasin' Dreams Well-Known Member

    Yes correct and that's why I (and most guys fishing deep waters) use heavier balls when fishing deeper waters. More often in winter time. Lot's more drag on a longer wire/ball the deeper you go. Also why I specifically said in my post to learn to use different size balls and the angles that they fish best at. But yes I didn't include the explanation of depth but thought that was obvious why folks use balls up to 20 lbs depending on current, tide, and depth. Boat speed is something you dial in with the conditions you are fishing and the size ball you are using. Once you know how your gear is best fishing with those different size balls in different conditions, dialing in your boat speed to get those angles will come like second nature after awhile. Rather than keeping a 12# ball on and trying to fish it at 200' with a very steep angle 'guessing' if your lure/bait is fishing right, you can put a heavier cannon ball on and dial in the right angle for that ball at that depth.
  10. Rockfish

    Rockfish Well-Known Member

    Line angle vrs finding the actual depth you want to be at. For us it is sometimes easy less than 50 feet down as we can often see the ball on the sounder if we are fishing slow and heavy.
    For deep water we have caught lots of big Chinook in the bottom 20 feet on flatish safe bottoms - say at 145 actual depth in 160 feet of water column. Drop the ball to the bottom (gently when you are close) then bring it up to whatever depth you want from the bottom. More accurate than trying to calculate actual depth based on line angle at greater depth.
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  11. The Skeptic

    The Skeptic New Member

    I appreciate it everyone. Sounds like I need 15# balls and a little more confidence.
    Most of our fish have hit at faster trolling speeds which is why I see more blowback.
  12. Reeltime

    Reeltime Well-Known Member

    I'm in a 16' also and use round coated 15 balls and the thinnest braid you can find, it will cut the water like a hot knife on butter..
    set your transducer angle slightly so you can see your gear...
    halimark likes this.
  13. Skucy

    Skucy Active Member

    15lb balls will definitely help. Drag sucks but it’s just a thing we have to deal with. That’s why using a thinner diameter cable or line on your downrigger will help. Also any clips to the ball, clips holding on the release clip. Changing them to smaller diameter will help. If you can find a thinner profile ball like A pancake that will help a lot to. Anything to minimize the amount of gear/size/profile will help. If you can change any of those three things that will be your friend in this situation.

    Honestly I am not a fan of the 45 degree angle method that a lot of people use. I can see how it may help new fisherman get a feel for what they should be doing.. But to me you need to fish your gear. There is a lot of variables to this.. Some lures/bait fishes better at different speeds. Even spoons some times have better action at different speeds then others. So this method goes out the window as using the 45 method you would be trolling the same speed. Then if you are using a flasher for your setup. Depending on size shape and design of that flasher it will cause different amounts of drag. From a flasher that walks back and forth, to a mini version, to one that just spins. They all cause different amounts of drag. Also if your using mono vs braid on your main line. The mono is thicker and will cause more drag in the water. The more snaps, quick changes, swivels will all add to the amount of drag.

    There is a lot of variables. Not all fisherman use the same equipment, gear, size and set up. So to me to put in place a blanket rule doesn’t make sense. Throw in currents in there and it seems even less likely. As we fish different locations with different currents and variables. You need to pay attention to what your gear looks like and what it’s doing in the condition set before you. Besides if your getting a massive amount of blow back what chances do you think bait fish are swimming against that current? They like to swim with the current. Salmon like to face current. Think of it like in river. That’s why you hear more hook ups on trolling with then against the current.
    Original likes this.
  14. 2xeagle16

    2xeagle16 Active Member

    I have used a 14 pound disc weight and a 15 pound round ball side by side – no difference in blowback and both downrigger weights touch bottom at about the same depth. There is also no need to extend you're downrigger booms with disc weights. Some people like to troll slow and some troll fast, that’s where the confusion starts when it comes to blowback.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2020

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