Downrigger Buying Guide

July 18, 2017

FishUSA Downrigger Buying Guide

When selecting a downrigger, there are many variables that come into play. How deep you are fishing and what you are fishing for are important factors to take into consideration before making a purchase. For some applications, the most basic downriggers will work, but others will require more advanced models. Here are some variables to consider when looking to purchase your next downrigger.

Depth. The first thing you need to consider when looking at downriggers is how deep you plan on fishing. Fishing small, shallow lakes less than 50-feet deep and trolling at slow speeds will not require more than a basic model, like Cannon’s Mini-Troll Portable Manual Downrigger or Easi-Troll ST Manual Downrigger. The Easi-Troll is even good for some deeper lakes, using up to a 10-12lb downrigger ball. The Mini-Troll should only be used with smaller downrigger weights, around five pounds or less. For fishing deeper Great Lakes with heavier weights, more advanced manual downriggers or electric downriggers like Big Jon Sports Pack Manual Siderigger Downrigger or Big Jon Captain's Pack Electric Downrigger work best.

Length and ability to mount. When looking at downriggers, make sure the boom is long enough to clear the back of your boat and the gunnels, wherever you plan to mount it. Also, make sure that the downrigger comes with a base or that one is available to meet your needs as far as fixed base, tab lock or swivel base. The Bert's Custom Tackle Drilled Gimbal Mount is a universal gimbal mount that will work with any downrigger, regardless of the manufacturer. Bert's also has a Single Track System and a Fixed Mount Downrigger Base that are excellent choices for mounting downriggers.

Convenience. Let’s face it, everyone wants to save a buck or two. While you may want to cut corners in certain areas, spending hundreds of dollars of downriggers and accessories that will be mounted to your boat is going to be an investment. Make sure the model you are looking at is going to work for you long term. While electric downriggers are expensive, they making retrieving and deploying lines easy. Today, some models, like Big Jon’s Sportsman Electric Downrigger, are close in price to manual downriggers.

Shark Weight Extreme ChromeGo with a shark. Shark weights are becoming the most lethal downrigger weight on the Great Lakes. While the flashy chrome models are a sure-fire attractor for salmon and steelhead, the black models work great for walleye fishing. These weights cut through the water with ease, giving them less swing behind the boat.

Accessories. Just like buying a boat, buying a downrigger requires accessories like release clips - anything from basic clip releases to stacker releases like Chamberlin or Roemer. Making sure you have a terminator kit, like Cannon’s Terminator Kit, will give you what you need in case you have to make quick repairs to your cable while on the water. Downrigger covers are a great add-on for electric downriggers to keep them out of elements when you are not fishing, ensuring they will last longer.

Related Products

Bert's Custom Tackle Drilled Gimbal Mount
Bert's Custom Tackle Drilled Gimbal...
The Bert's Custom Tackle Drilled Gimbal Mount is pre-drilled and constructed of durable anodized aluminum. This mount is designed to work with any downrigger. The end is slotted to ensure it doesnt move when placed in rod holders.
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Bert's Custom Tackle Fixed Mount Downrigger Base
Bert's Custom Tackle Fixed Mount Do...
(1)
The Bert's Custom Tackle Fixed Mount Downrigger Base is constructed of stainless steel and anodized aluminum. This Berts Fixed Downrigger base is weather and corrosion resistant making it great for freshwater or saltwater applications. Berts Custom Tackle Fixed Mount Downrigger Base fits into the Bert's Track System (sold separately), and it is designed with pre-drilled holes to work with all downriggers.
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Bert's Custom Tackle Single Track System
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The Bert's Custom Tackle Single Track System is an anodized aluminum track that can be mounted to any flat surface on your boat. Bert's Track System provides flexibility in adding and changing Bert's rod holders, downrigger bases, step pads, boating accessories and more! Berts Custom Tackle Track System is easy to install and includes mounting instructions, end caps, and hardware.
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Big Jon Captain's Pack Electric Downrigger
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The Big Jon Captain's Pack Electric Downrigger is Big Jon's most popular downrigger and is loaded with features that make this rigger a popular choice among both professional and recreational anglers. Like all Big Jon Downriggers, the Big Jon Captain's Pack Electric Downrigger features precision machined aircraft grade aluminum construction and is given a protective anodized finish for corrosion resistance in any conditions. The reinforced boom design of the Captain's Pak allows for the rigger t...
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Big Jon Sports Pack Manual Siderigger Downrigger
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The Big Jon Sports Pak Manual Siderigger Downrigger is the manual version of the ever popular Captain's Pak Electric Downrigger. Formerlay known as the Captain's Pak, the Sports Pack Manual Siderigger Downrigger allows you to spread lines off the side of your boat by way of it's reinforced boom design, increasing the size of your lure presentation.
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Big Jon Sportsman Electric Downrigger
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The Big Jon's Sportsman Electric Downrigger is loaded with features that make this rigger a popular choice among both professional and recreational anglers. This rigger is transom mounted and has the same reliable motor that is found in the Big Jon's Captain's Pack Electric Downrigger. It is ideal for an entry level downrigger and is designed for fishing off of smaller boats. Like all Big Jon Downriggers, the Big Jon's Sportsman Electric Downrigger features precision machined aircraft grade alum...
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Cannon Easi-Troll ST Manual Downrigger
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The Cannon Easi-Troll ST Manual Downrigger is a hardworking, durable downrigger ideal for smaller boats and fishermen just beginning to realize the advantage of fishing a downrigger. Features an innovative design with a 1 1/2:1 retrieval speed, and One-Hand Clutch Deploy allows for controlled weight descent and accurate bait positioning. Cannon has improved this model adding a new oversize spool, allowing a 50% faster retrieve of the weight with reduced cranking effort. The Easi-Troll ST Manual ...
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Cannon Mini-Troll Portable Manual Downrigger
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Chamberlain Stacker Downrigger Release
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The Chamberlain Stacker Downrigger Release from Northern Strike features easy to use vertical and horizontal adjustments for precision settings no matter what species your fishing for. Tension is adjustable from 0 to 4.5 lbs. and the use of magnetics on the horizontal adjustment assures a fluid and accurate release. The precision design minimizes false releases and is small fish friendly. The stacker feature allows placement at any point on the downrigger cable.
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Shark Cannonball
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Shark Cannonballs are downrigger fishing weights that are quite possibly some of the best and most effective cannonballs ever made. Designed to attract fish to your lure, these weights target the lateral line of game fish by creating and transforming energy into signals similar to ones made by gamefish. The unique, concave facets on the sides of Shark Cannonballs are the key to this ability. By transforming light and sound using reflection, signals are bounced off of the weight's surface and are...
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