Downrigger ball..weight, style?

4/24/14 @ 7:55 PM
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amstel239
amstel239
USER since 12/28/01
What size downrigger balls do you guys run and what type fin, no fin pancake etc.. Benefits?? I will be doing most of my fishing out of Port Washington and I have 2 Big Jon short arms and 2 Big Jon long arms if that makes a difference. Thanks
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Displaying 1 to 10 of 13 Posts
2/2/15 @ 12:17 PM
John Schultz
John Schultz
USER since 3/14/14
The heavier the ball, the more stress it puts on your rigger boom, motor (if electric riggers), and gunnel or transom. I don't want to burn up my downrigger motors if a 12# weight is getting the job done for me.

(608) 225-2395
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1/29/15 @ 9:04 PM
BallsDeep1
BallsDeep1
USER since 12/15/14
Last year was my first year trolling for salmon and was told to purchase 15lbers for my cannons. Just curious why most wouldn't fish with them if they track better and have less blowback? Do they spook more fish due to being bigger? Any thoughts? I typically fish 100 ft or less in the summer.

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1/8/15 @ 11:12 AM
luckylou
luckylou
USER since 8/25/11
We run 12# 9 out of 10 trips, on all riggers. If you do need to fish deeper than 100 feet (I admit, an arbitrary limit), we'll use 15# weights. It minimizes tangles. If we're fishing that deep, we typically don't jam more than 2 riggers down that far.

I kind of disagree that fishing down deeper than 100 is a waste of time. There are days/periods when the fish are there. You can do a lot of damage down that deep. Several trips come to mind when I remember fishing successfully down deep.

My advice would be 12# cannon balls with fins. We used to run 4 riggers, same weight on all (minus balls deep). We only run 2 riggers now, with 12# on both. In my opinion, 8# is bordering on "too light" as currents can do damage depending on depth and dipsy spread. They all work, but 12# are versatile.

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1/8/15 @ 9:01 AM
John Schultz
John Schultz
USER since 3/14/14
I have 12# fish shaped, 12# pancakes, and 15# round balls with a fin. The 15# very seldom get used. I seem to get more blowback with the pancakes, so the fish weights are used the most. I can usually mark those on my graph down to about 80 feet. After that, they blow back enough to get out of the cone.

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1/7/15 @ 2:08 PM
JamesD
JamesD
MEMBER since 2/16/04
After re-reading Slayers post, the last part in particular, made me think of Kewaunee where I fish. One hundred foot depths are 2 miles from port and 200ft., only three miles out. Big fish do show up on the sonar over 100 feet deep and I bought a 12# weight to help get down to them. I guess it depends what fish you target. I've heard current screws up pancake weights somehow, and rounder shapes track better when currents swirl. My fishing buddy PK swore by his big "shark" weight till he snagged and lost it. I have hand crank units too. Who needs to go to a gym when we do weight lifting right off the back of our boats.

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4/30/14 @ 4:49 PM
eye's r us
eye's r us
USER since 3/3/09
I used 8 pound for years but last summer went to 6 pound weights with a fin on the back. I had no problem getting my baits down and even ran some stackers with plenty of fish caught. And very nice to use with my hand crank cannons! Never had an issue with seeing them on my locator.

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4/26/14 @ 7:46 PM
amstel239
amstel239
USER since 12/28/01
Thank You SS for your input. Helped me out alot.

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4/26/14 @ 1:49 PM
sslayer
sslayer
USER since 6/9/06
Blowback is really only a concern when you can’t mark the depth the weight is at. Today’s downriggers all have a counter that gives a close account on how much cable has been paid out, this allows for repeatability when deploying your baits. If you’re fishing at a depth of over 100’ and trolling about 2.5 mph at the ball I’d expect the blowback to be between 10’ to 20’ with a 10# weight. The blowback isn’t a problem provided you’re not tangling with other downrigger weights, currents factor in to the direction the weight tracks too. If you can mark your downrigger weights on your graph you’ll not have to concern yourself with where the weight i.e. bait is truly being presented.

I mainly fished with 10# weights. I bought one 12# weight to use when the water temperatures drove the fish deeper than 100’. In 20 years I’ve used that 12# weight less than 5 times. Just connecting the 12# weight was a task I’d rather avoid, that two extra pounds of lead makes your toes look for places to hide in your shoes. Steel toe shoes are good shoes to be wearing when connecting downrigger weights to cables especially if you’re using cannon ball style weights that roll around in rough seas.

If you have to fish at depths greater than 100’ you should probably rethink what you’re fishing for and fish inland for pan fish or bass. Most times getting out to where the depth is over 100’ is at least 4 miles from Milwaukee to the Fibville, in Racine is about 6 miles.

Good Luck

SS

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4/26/14 @ 9:12 AM
amstel239
amstel239
USER since 12/28/01
Thanks for the info. Is there a big difference in blowback from a 8lb-12lb ball? I mean several feet in depth?

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4/26/14 @ 9:10 AM
sslayer
sslayer
USER since 6/9/06
The downrigger weight style that provides the most options is a fish shaped weight. These weights come in a range of 8-1/2#s to 14#s now. The one pictured was made from a “Herbie” mold. The fish shape can act as an attractor due to its overall shape. The weight can be painted to attract fish or painted a neutral color like gray or black. Another option the fish shape weight offers is the ability to bend the tail to improve tracking.

10# weights work great to about 100’. Below 100’ I’d use the 12# weights and as mentioned if you’re using manual downriggers plan on having sore wrists and arms, especially if you change baits frequently.

You can find this style weight on eBay or buy your own mold.

Good Luck

SS

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