Need to change Downrigger Cable??
Take em 26 just be aware that your downrigger counter will be off adding more line. Its a bigger loop on your downrigger spool per handle turn. If you have a good locater you maybe can see the downrigger depth with that. Or maybe do some measuring at home. You can then figure out how much your counters changed and adjust. I missed that you wanted braid. So that would also very depending on line diameter verses wire diameter.
To the poster asking about size ball where manual states max of 8#. That limit is due to the design of the downrigger not the wire. Think of it this way, I could put semi tires on my van, I still can't put 34k lbs in the van but two axles for a semi that isn't much of a problem. If your limited to 8# ball look at getting a shark or similar style that will help reduce blow back. Braid might be helpful as well to avoid line dia.
Steel is much better then other materials before it lets go and if your watching you will see tell tail signs, but 10 yrs you have paid for it a number of times and the cost of the ball alone is worth the investment to re-spool.
If you don't bounce off the bottom and you use shock cord or similar method to keep tension on the steel wire after you reel in for storage so no sharp bends it will and does last a long time. I purchased 2 DR used last year and pulled out the wire and check it. Looked good so I am going to use for the next few years then will replace it and put a durable outdoor sticker to note when it was changed and lb line used so I have a ref and if sold next person knows this info as well. When you need to replace is hard to tell. If you cut off a few feet each season then when you start getting close to being spooled to get to depth is your answer. If not any kink, you better cut and you can test the steel but putting enough load to break is going to be tough. Engineering labs with Chinese fingers to hold the wire to destructively test it isn't readily available to most. But I will say hearing a 1" steel rod pop is lots of fun. ;-) Hearing a support structure snap when in a cab of a tractor pulling a sprayer isn't when I want to hear a pop. Thankfully things are designed with safety factors.
Personally I like Steel, The sound, extra protection in case it hits bottom. If I had 4 DR I might put braid on one or both of the high ones with smaller weights.
Can you peel the cable onto your lawn and inspect it? I have one rod for the downrigger that has 30# mono. I was lucky when the cable broke we were shallow enough I was able to hit the brakes and hand over hand the 8#ball and flasher /fly back into the boat, losing nothing but my pride. Thank heavens for the 30# test and a Black's release not letting go. Check cable for kinks that got straightened out but cause weak spots. I have one rigger with a 200ft. stretch and another that I just added 100ft. to make it 200. A simple double loop knot did the trick.
Just remember when the fleas show up braid is NASTY. I was a guest on a boat that ran braid when the fleas where present . That 1 trip convinced me to never consider it.
There might be a difference in kinds/styles of braid now?
My first downrigger was purchased used. I lost a couple of weights when the cable broke just swinging back and forth so I changed the cable. Wire can “fatigue”(google fatigue of stranded wire) but no idea how to test if it has. No failures so far so you might consider reversing it. No failures on termination I would keep doing in the same way. I use 150# American Fishing Wire. As the strength goes up so does the diameter of the wire and the blow back.
A number of years ago I tried braid on one rigger and not long after I lost the ball etc. Braid has a lot of great properties but abrasion resistance is not one of them. Thus any nick leaves it vulnerable to breakage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2ilksQgUMg
If you want to reach deeper on you riggers options would include Snap Weights on you rigger rod, lead core or a dipsy diver off you rigger release.
So I have a pair of manual downrigger. They come with 100' of cable. I would like to install 200lb test of 200' braid. In the manual it states they recommend no more than a 8lb ball. I'm kind of new at trolling but I would like to be more versital and productive. Also it sucks driving over fish that i cant reach. Any tips or things I should consider before making the switch?