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WHAT ARE DOWNRIGGERS?
Downriggers are devices used in recreational and commercial fishing to lower bait or lures to a specific depth in the water column. They are used to target fish that are found at particular depths, and they can also be used to keep the bait or lure at a specific depth as the boat moves through the water.
Downriggers are typically mounted on the transom (rear) of the boat, although they can also be mounted on the bow (front) or on the sides of the boat. They are commonly used in freshwater and saltwater fishing, and they are especially useful in deep-water fishing or when targeting species of fish that are found at specific depths.
ARE DOWNRIGGERS AND OUTRIGGERS USED TOGETHER?
While outriggers and downriggers are both used in fishing, they serve different purposes and are typically used independently of each other. However, some boats may be equipped with both outriggers and downriggers, allowing the angler to have multiple options for fishing in different conditions.
WHY DO I NEED A DOWNRIGGER ON MY FISHING BOAT?
There are several reasons why you might want to use a downrigger on your fishing boat:
- To target fish at specific depths: Downriggers allow you to lower your bait or lure to a specific depth in the water column, which is useful if you are targeting fish that are found at particular depths.
- To keep your bait or lure at a specific depth: Downriggers can be used to maintain a constant depth for your bait or lure as the boat moves through the water. This can be useful if you are trying to follow a particular depth contour or if you want to keep your bait or lure in the strike zone of the fish.
- To increase your chances of success: By being able to present your bait or lure at the right depth, you may increase your chances of catching fish. Downriggers can also help you to get your bait or lure into areas that might be hard to reach with other fishing techniques.
- To fish in deeper water: Downriggers are especially useful in deep-water fishing situations, as they allow you to get your bait or lure down to the depths where the fish are.
- To troll: Downriggers can be used in trolling, which involves dragging a bait or lure behind the boat at a specific speed and depth. Trolling is a popular technique for catching pelagic species such as salmon and tuna.
Overall, downriggers can be a useful tool for a variety of fishing situations, and they can help you to be more effective and successful on the water.
CONSTRUCTION OF DOWNRIGGERS
Downriggers typically consist of a mounting base, a telescoping boom, and a weight (called a "downrigger ball").
The mounting base is attached to the boat and provides a stable platform for the downrigger. It is typically made from a strong, corrosion-resistant material such as aluminum or stainless steel.
The telescoping boom extends outward from the mounting base and allows the downrigger ball to be lowered into the water. The boom is typically made from a lightweight, strong material such as aluminum or carbon fiber, and it is designed to be easily extended and retracted.
The downrigger ball is a heavy weight that is attached to the end of the boom. It is made from a dense, corrosion-resistant material such as lead or stainless steel, and it is designed to be easily attached and detached from the boom. The ball is lowered into the water by the boom, pulling the fishing line and bait or lure down with it.
In addition to these basic components, downriggers may also include features such as a brake system to control the descent of the ball, a line counter to measure the depth of the bait or lure, and a release clip to allow the line to be easily detached from the ball. Downriggers may also be equipped with an electric or manual winch to assist with raising and lowering the ball.
COMMON DOWNRIGGER ACCESSORIES
There are a variety of accessories available to enhance the functionality and performance of downriggers. Some common downrigger accessories include:
Cannonball weights: These are the weights that are attached to the cable on a downrigger and are used to anchor the bait at a specific depth. Cannonball weights are available in a range of sizes and materials, including lead, stainless steel, and brass.
Cable: This is the material that connects the cannonball weight to the downrigger reel. Cable is typically made of stainless steel or other durable materials to withstand the stresses of being lowered and raised repeatedly.
Rod holders: These are used to hold the fishing rod when it is not being used, allowing the angler to have both hands free to operate the downrigger.
Depth finders: These are electronic devices that are used to measure the depth of the water, helping the angler to determine the best depth to fish at.
Swivels: These are used to connect the downrigger cable to the fishing line, allowing the line to move freely without becoming tangled.
Release clips: These are used to quickly and easily release the cannonball weight when it is time to bring the bait back up to the surface.
Tensioners: These are used to adjust the tension on the cable, allowing the angler to fine-tune the depth at which the bait is being fished.
Line counter displays: These are used to display the depth at which the bait is being fished, helping the angler to keep track of the depth and make adjustments as needed.
Electric motors: These are used to power the downrigger, allowing the angler to raise and lower the cannonball weight quickly and easily.
Protective covers: These are used to protect the downrigger from the elements, helping to extend its lifespan and keep it in good working order.