Downriggers: Why You Should Buy Them
A downrigger is an extremely efficient piece of fishing gear that enables fishermen to troll at precise depths.
Yet, many anglers are skeptical about downriggers. If you’re one of those fishermen yet to be convinced that they’re worth it, here are some reasons why you should buy a downrigger for your boat.
If you’re out fishing for hours and have nothing but a pathetic catch to show for the expense of burning up fishing trip fuel, you’re going to feel like a fool! However, if you come back after hours of fishing with a 50lb grouper or salmon, you know you’re getting your money’s worth already!
Back in the day, downriggers were mainly used for trolling deep lakes. However, the success rates they provided prompted fishermen to start using them for shallower fresh waters, and eventually for saltwater fishing too. Today, downriggers are used by anglers in deep open waters, at mid-depth thermoclines, and for shallow water trolling.
Makes Deepwater Fishing Easier
The biggest problem with deep-water fishing is not only getting the line in deep enough, but also keeping it there. As lines move through the water, the pressure builds up against them, and pushes them backward and upward (blowback). Although blowback also occurs when downrigging, the downrigger minimizes the effect. Downriggers have opened up fishing for deeper water feeders like wahoo and swordfish to the masses. Because downriggers are effective at minimizing blowback, they’re also perfect for use in areas with strong currents.
Carries the Weight
A common misconception is that the weight is attached to your rod and line when downrigging. However, the weight is actually attached to the downrigger’s cable, so you can use a lighter rod and a thinner line. A fisherman would say this gives them more feel, and makes fighting a fish more rewarding. It also makes fishing less tiring, because you’re only reeling in your line and the fish on the end of it, not a ton of lead weights.
Gives You the Upper Hand
Downriggers enable anglers to position their lures at extremely precise depths. When a downrigger is used in combination with a fishfinder, it provides you with an unbelievable advantage over the fish. If you can see where the fish are, the downrigger can put your bait right in their midst, which virtually guarantees you a bite.
Choosing a Downrigger
Now that you have some compelling reasons to own a downrigger, which one should you buy? Basically you have two main options to start: manually powered or electrically powered downriggers.
The biggest advantages of manual downriggers are their compact size and minimal weight.
They’re easily portable, and can fit on just about any boat, even a small skiff or bass boat. Another benefit of a manual downrigger is that it doesn’t require a power source, so there’s no wiring to worry about. Additionally, manual downriggers are less expensive than their electric counterparts.
The downside to manual downriggers is that they require physical exertion to operate, and you’ll need to wind in the cable and weight before you can start reeling in a fish. Manual downriggers are better suited for catching smaller fish.
With an electric downrigger, all you need to do is press a button and it will wind the cable and weight in automatically, leaving you free to immediately grab the rod and do battle with the beast!
All your energy can be used to reel in the catch, not the downrigger’s weight and cable. Their electric motors and gearing wind in the cable far quicker than manual downriggers, and electric models are also capable of trolling deeper waters and handling larger fish.
The downside to electric downriggers is that they require a power source, and thus more wiring in your boat. They can also be quite heavy, so they must be mounted on a sturdy part of the boat, or on a strengthened downrigger mount.
Another drawback is the price, which is considerably higher than a manual downrigger. However, is the price really too high when your return on investment is a monster catch?