is a Downrigger?
A downrigger is a large reel that uses stainless steel cable and
a heavy weight to take your lure down to the depth where the fish are. Downriggers
will improve trolling results for any species of fish by giving you accurate depth
control. You can reach the big ones at precisely their level, deep or shallow.
You attach your fishing rod line to the heavy downrigger cable by
means of a 'release clip'. The rod is placed into a rod holder and there is tension
between the tip of the rod and the release causing a bend in the rod. When a fish
takes your lure, it is released off the downrigger cable, so you can fish with light
tackle, unencumbered by a heavy weight when playing with your fish.
Downriggers allow you to catch fish that are in deep water without having to
use heavy weights on the fishing line to get your lures down deep.
Manual vs. Electric
Both manual and electric downriggers are available. In recent years many fishermen
have opted for electric downriggers because they can be easily and quickly brought
to the surface and out of the way when a fish is hooked. When you look at the additional
cost of buying an electric model, it might seem like a luxury; however, when you
are fishing at depths of 75 feet or more, hand cranking a heavy weight up and down
several times an hour can whip even the most athletic angler.
Electric downriggers are an especially handy feature when
fishing alone, or when you have multiple hookups of large fish. It can get a little
crowded around the transom with multiple anglers fighting fish and others trying
to hand crank up several downriggers at the same time. With electric models, you
only have to hit the retrieve button and concentrate on bringing the fish to net.
Despite the numerous advantages of electric units, manual
downriggers still have a useful niche, especially for anglers who fish from a small
boat. Manual rigs are more compact, and they do get the job done adequately. For
the most part, small boats are used in freshwater, or close inshore in saltwater
where the depths will not dictate running out and retrieving a lot of cable. Manual
downriggers are also more compact, and portable, which makes them ideal for fly-in
trips or use on rental boats.