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TOPIC: Downrigger decision

Downrigger decision 25 Jun 2014 18:18 #1

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Hi Guys,

I've fished with downriggers in the PNW and AK. but never owned any.

It's time to buy so I'm looking for input from people that have used the different makes and models.

Your experience and opinions would be appreciated.

Cheers,

Chris

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Downrigger decision 25 Jun 2014 18:33 #2

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I have 4 Big Jon electric riggers w/ counters mounted on a transom bar (custom built from Big Jon). they're currently 20+ years old and have never had a problem with the setup. The outside riggers have 3' booms and the inside have 2'. The closest current model to the ones I have are the Big Jon Pro Tournament Electric model, #ED04000.

I like having them on the transom bar because I can remove all four as a single unit when I'm not going to be using them.

Jim

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Downrigger decision 26 Jun 2014 17:56 #3

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Thanks for the reply Jim, I'm only going for two. The ED04000 looks good but its are bit high for a few salmon a year.
I guess all the other downrigger fishermen are out fishing.

Chris

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Downrigger decision 26 Jun 2014 18:42 #4

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Pacrimrat wrote: Thanks for the reply Jim, I'm only going for two. The ED04000 looks good but its are bit high for a few salmon a year.
I guess all the other downrigger fishermen are out fishing.

Chris


I agree, the prices are quite dear. To be honest, the Admiral would never let me buy them myself. My father gave me his rig when he unable to use it anymore due to his health.

Jim

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Downrigger decision 26 Jun 2014 20:44 #5

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GOod choices up here in the PNW is either Scotty or Cannon... Scotty use to be the go to rig but they no longer transfer replacement parts like they use to.

I have had both and they both have their + and -'s... I currently a pair of Cannon Mag 5 ST's. I like that they impart a small voltage to the line to attract fish. They are power up and power down. Scotty are power up only and you release a hand brake to drop the weights... It may take some practice to get the drop speed so you don't unclip the flasher and line with the Scotty. If I recall, the scotty required a clip on the wire or nylon braid to stop it at the surface. The Cannon stop by themselves at 000 on the counter. The new Cannon have the Marinco style plug that twists to lock in place. I hated the old Scotty and Cannon style plugs as they were easy to kick out of the socket at the most inconvenient times... Not sure what the new Scotty uses for a plug but it would be important to make sure you get the right one. Also the Cannon has a reset fuse on the downrigger. Scotty has an in line fuse normally down in the engine bay unless you install it near the downrigger. I like how the scotty flips up to be out of the way when going over the gunwale... It can't be used that way if you are fishing and have a ball on it... Both have extensions to get the ball further away from the hull. I think the Cannon has a faster retrieval speed but they both get the job done...

Hope that helps.... I do like my Cannon better then my Scotty's... oh, don't forget to look on CL or ebay for downriggers. No sense in buying new if you stick with the Big Jon, Cannon or Scotty... That will save you a few dollars... but you will have to figure installing sockets which normally come with the new units...

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Downrigger decision 28 Jun 2014 03:51 #6

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Doug,

Thanks for the info. I’ve been looking at the Mag 5’s and 10’s. On Amazon they both get 1 stars and 5 stars. It looks like it’s about 50/50/ But now day with our Chinese made American produces that’s about what I expect. You might get a good one you might not. If that sounds cynical, it’s because it is. It’s like quality has become a bad word.
The Big Jon’s are nice but by the time you get the bells and whistles they’re way up there. Even with a pair of mid-range Cannons it’ll be a grand before they’re operational.

But I think of all the fresh salmon we’ll get and the sockeye are doing their 4 year run this year so what the hell. If I amortize it out over the season I may be able to get it down to a hundred bucks a pound.

Have you or anyone else out there used gimbal mounts in the rod holders?

I have to outfit a new fishing boat, install downriggers, a GPS antenna, VHF, my monster pot puller and rig a tow harness. Not counting getting Pau Hana ready to go. So I was thinking the rod holder mounts may save me some time and also flexibility in location.

Chris

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Downrigger decision 28 Jun 2014 04:35 #7

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You will not be happy with the gimbal rod holder mounts. I don't know anyone that is happy with them and they will eventually spend more money and install the gunwale mounts. Try ebay and amazon for a good deal on mounts. Another source may be craigs list for diownriggers... here is an older cannon that may get you started... my thought is you can use this one until you want to go with new or find a good deal on a pair of them and then sell this one for what you paid...

seattle.craigslist.org/skc/boa/4537114606.html

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Downrigger decision 28 Jun 2014 17:38 #8

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I had "Frank-N-Riggers, Cannon Mini-Mags with Old Style Scotty Plugs. The Cannon plugs were CRAP, any moisture & the downriggers started operating themselves. The most important part of a downrigger decision is "How" you mount them. Stay away from gimbel mounts, lots of noise & always in the way. I highly recommend the Cannon Pedestal mounts, the short 6" version. They put the downriggers at exactly the right height for a quick grab when a fish trips the release.

See pics of my VERY EX Trophy for an example.

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Downrigger decision 29 Jun 2014 21:15 #9

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Doug,
I don't like buying used without being able to touch and feel. Plus I'm running out of time to shop.

I'm down to the Scotty 1106 or Cannon Mag 5, but I'd like to have the telescoping boom so that puts me into the Mag 10.

Do you think 24" is too close for the boom?

I was concerned about the gimbal mounts slopping around. With two negatives from John and you I'll go for the permanent mounts.

Thanks again for the input guys.

Chris

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Downrigger decision 29 Jun 2014 22:30 #10

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My bad... Well, I checked and I actually have the Mag 10's :sick: I do not run them all the way out and in fact, they stay about 30" out... just far enough for me to grab the wire and snap for my fishing line. The further out the boom, the harder to grab that downrigger line... I did use to use the ceramic ring around the downrigger wire with a line attached to bring it closer to the boat but got tired of that line getting in my way. I think 24" would work but you may want the longer boom some day...

I started out with a fixed length manual cannon as my first downrigger and will never go back to a none boom extension. They come in handy if you are fishing double downriggers. If just one, the 24" may work just fine... BUT, if running it on the kicker side, you may want to invest in a prop guard on the kicker or an extending boom...

Hard to say... It really depends on the price difference between the 5 and 10... Have you checked Outdoor emporium (also now Sportco)? I bought a couple of downriggers from them in the past and they were good prices compared to other vendors...

Maybe get one 5 and one 10? Run the 10 on the kicker side...

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Downrigger decision 01 Jul 2014 02:45 #11

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My 2 cents...Scotty is the only way to go. I guide at several Haida Gwaii lodges and down in the Vancouver BC on my own boat and a couple of Grady's. The only downrigger used is the Scotty. The new model with the digital depth counter is awesome in that you can always reset to zero and the numbers are huge as well as the fast retrieve. Scotty is warrantied for life and you can buy all the typical parts at any fishing store (cable, clips, line stoppers and spare replacement belt.) They can be locked onto the boat or easily removed after each use. At the lodge, they go up and down 7 days a week 14 hours a day for the entire season. They are very easy to maintain.

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Downrigger decision 01 Jul 2014 07:11 #12

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Well guys I bit the bullet and bought two new Mag 10's. The 10's come with a swivel mount and telescoping boom and are not that much more then the 5's with a 24 in boom and fixed mount.

I appreciate the input on this.

Doug are you going to Canada this year? We're heading north about he 25th.

Cheers,

Chris

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Downrigger decision 01 Jul 2014 15:24 #13

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Pacrimrat wrote: Well guys I bit the bullet and bought two new Mag 10's. The 10's come with a swivel mount and telescoping boom and are not that much more then the 5's with a 24 in boom and fixed mount.

I appreciate the input on this.

Doug are you going to Canada this year? We're heading north about he 25th.

Cheers,

Chris


We are heading to Ucluelet on 15 Aug and return home 5 Sept. Be fishing Barkley Sound for those salmon and butts... not sure if we will hit any of the Gulf Islands until late Sept/Oct this time...

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Downrigger decision 04 Jul 2014 04:48 #14

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Cuffnbilly wrote: My 2 cents...Scotty is the only way to go. I guide at several Haida Gwaii lodges and down in the Vancouver BC on my own boat and a couple of Grady's. The only downrigger used is the Scotty. The new model with the digital depth counter is awesome in that you can always reset to zero and the numbers are huge as well as the fast retrieve. Scotty is warrantied for life and you can buy all the typical parts at any fishing store (cable, clips, line stoppers and spare replacement belt.) They can be locked onto the boat or easily removed after each use. At the lodge, they go up and down 7 days a week 14 hours a day for the entire season. They are very easy to maintain.


This is funny, I was just talking with a boat neighbor about this. I sent him an email a while back about his preference. His reply went into my spam I didn't it.
Today he said he had Cannon but switched to Scotty's because he couldn't get Cannon parts in BC.

It's too late now I've already purchased Mag 10's. I guess I'll pick up some spares to take to BC.

Chris

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Downrigger decision 04 Jul 2014 05:09 #15

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Chris, spare what? I've been running these Cannon's the past 7 years with no problems. My Scotty's were down a couple of times due to the rubber belt breaking... I had to carry spares for that since I could not find Scotty spare parts in Ukee... No worries on a Cannon that I am aware of... They are gear ring driven... I did change out my stainless steel line this year. It was due... But I do that every three maybe four years...

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Doug ;}
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Downrigger decision 04 Jul 2014 16:06 #16

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Doug,
I'm not worried about it. Most of the replies I've received don't say anything real bad about any brands.
Being new units I figure they will work great for the season or break right away like most products we can get today.
I've had Chinese made junk break in my hands as I was taking it out of the package and others that worked work well for years. It's like Japanese made in the 50's.
I bought my new to me 19 foot 2007 Twin Vee tender/fishing boat yesterday. I'll be installing the pot puller this weekend and the downriggers will be in the 8th.
Chris

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Downrigger decision 12 Jul 2014 06:01 #17

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I know you alreeady went with the Cannon downrigger but here's my .50 cents worth for anyone else. I started Winter King trolling in Kachemak Bay this past year (2013-2014) and bought 2 Big John's Manual Siderigger. I like not having to deal with electronics whenever possible so that's why I went manual. I got the swivel mount base also. I had good performance with them although my trolling skills are still being fine tuned as I only got 4 Winter Kings last season. Correction..I got 2 and the Admiral got 2. One selling point for me is they are made in the good old USA. B) I also like that they are alll aluminum so on a cold winter day I have no worries of plastic pieces becoming brittle and breaking. Maybe I'm over cautious???? Cannon, Scotty, Big John all make good products. Enjoy slaying the salmon!!!!

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Downrigger decision 13 Jul 2014 04:23 #18

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As important as the model of downrigger selected is the location where it's mounted. Try and install the bases (with backing plates) as far aft as possible. This will inhibit the downrigger cable from going under the boat if you're in strong cross currents or in a forced fast turn. I cannot count the number of times that I used to wrap a cable around my prop (almost always on the port side as the prop will "grab" the line rather than trying to cast it off. After switching to a location just forward of my transom, and long arm downriggers, I can now concentrate on fishing!

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Downrigger decision 21 Jul 2014 16:41 #19

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It's always easy in Canada to identify the US fishermen. Canon downriggers with level-wind reels :silly:

The Scotty riggers are built here on Vancouver Island and are warranted for life. The new High Performance units are very fast, easy to service and extremely reliable. The new digital counter is excellent. Any of the dealers will provide warranty returns on broken components to keep you fishing.

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Downrigger decision 22 Jul 2014 03:20 #20

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Scotty will only warrant the downrigger as long as you own it now. Once it has a new owner, the warranty goes away... Also, I understand the ease of having a unit that is made right here in the PNW. But, I have not seen or heard of anyone requiring spare parts for their Cannon downriggers. They are sealed from any water intrusion. They are also a simple DC electric direct drive... no belts...

Do a fast check on ebay and one will see pages of Scotty downrigger repair parts... :evil: none for Cannon... :whistle:

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Downrigger decision 21 Aug 2014 15:30 #21

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Well, the Cannons work just fine, even in Canada with my level wind reel.
I fished the Blackfish area last week and picked up some Pinks, Sockeye and a couple Coho.
I had to leave the boat and wife in Lagoon cove and fly down to Brazil for a job. I hope to get back by next Tuesday and hopefully get some more Sockeye.

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Downrigger decision 12 Jan 2015 16:18 #22

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A little late to the game but for what it is worth I have both Scotty and Cannon. Both have goods and bads however at the end of the day I will pick my Cannons everytime. They have options which for me the Scotty do not. I'm running two digitroll 4 and they have been rocksolid super reliable.

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