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Thoughts on a method used on the Columbia River (Washington)

5/4/18 @ 10:30 AM
User since 7/23/10

I have been digging around various tackle boxes and came upon some tackle I used years ago on the Columbia River in Washington in the 1970's. 

Back then we utilized a rig that involved 50 lb. test line to a three way swivel much like a pump handle, but with the following changes.  The main line, (back then it was mono, today I would use braid) attached to one ring on the three way swivel, a lead ball was hung on the second ring of the swivel on a dropper about 24" long, and a 3 ft. length of from 80 lb. - 200 lb. mono acting as the leader was attached to the 3rd ring of the swivel.  This short length of heavy mono was attached directly to a flasher or dodger set up.

The idea behind such a rig was that the ball (10 oz. - 24 oz.) and heavy mono lead created an effect much like an extremely short drop back from a down rigger ball yet the presentation could be placed well back from the boat.  The various weights of balls combined with speeds determined your depth. It is similar to a pump handle, with the biggest change being the very heavy mono lead somehow changing the action of the flasher/dodger set up.

We had down riggers on the boat but it was felt the above described rig day in and day out produced riggers.

Does or has anybody utilized anything like this on Lake Michigan????


5/5/18 @ 8:52 AM
User since 6/9/06

I have fished a rig with that short of leader to a flasher or dodger. Usually when we used 30# wire for bottom bouncing for Lakers the leader was about a 3' or 4' length of cowbells made from #2 Indiana spinner blades on 30# wire leader. The lead weights (balls) were 1 to 2 pound. We used 0 sized (8") dodgers and trolled about 1.6 to 1.8 on the probe. You let out line until making contact with the bottom and the rod tip bounced every 3 to 5 seconds.

I think if you tried a 3' or 4' downrigger lead you'd really notice the flasher or dodger action increased. The shorter the lead the better the action.

The problem though these days is the water clarity is so good that unless you're fishing down 75' or more the short leads don't do so well because the fish are spooked by the boat shadow (sun is up), of the sonar.

I attached a West Coast rig and the Laker rig for comparison.

Good Luck


5/5/18 @ 8:37 AM
MEMBER since 2/16/04

Years ago, before I had the scratch for 30# stainless wire for my pound ball rig, PK and I used the same 30# mono rods we clipped to the plastic down rigger stuck in the oarlock. Both caught fish so we were pretty happy. The mono stretched pretty far back, to the point of diminished returns as far as depth goes. Heavy mono with a ball works in the spring shallow bite. Crossover salt gear form the Northwest makes sense at times. I saw a video of cut bait techniques from Puget Sound that was pretty much the same as for Lake Michigan. I lived in Olympia, Washington for a year and got to watch the salmon trying to jump the dam into Capital Lake. Can't wait to get started out of Kewaunee. Warm weather is finally here!

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