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ReelTimes

Downrigger Leader Length

11 posts in this topic

Just wondering thoughts on the length of the leader between the cannon ball and lure that everyone uses. In doing some research, a number of times I noted recommendations of 7-15 feet or maybe up to 20 feet behind the ball....with the deeper depths requiring less distance behind the ball. I think the rational was that the downrigger line and cannonball can be natural fish attractors, and keeping the lure closer to those structures as well as less potential for tangles from currents. I have generally tended to run longer distances (30-40 feet or more) with the thought of getting the lure away from the boat (like you do with boards). I would be interested to hear what others are doing and any thoughts on the subject. Thx.

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Usually not more than 10-14ft, even less if you're running stacks. In that case, the leader on the bottom cannot be longer than the height of the stack, otherwise, tangle city! Sometimes longer leaders will get more fish, but not often enough to warrant doing it all the time.

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I run them all over from 8' to 40' I let the fish tell me what they want. The only problem with that is if one bites on an 8 footer and the other on a 40 footer, your no closer to figuring out what they want! grin.gif

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Shorter on bottom and longer on top if you're stacking is a good rule of thumb. It depends on what you're running for baits (spoons,dodgers/flashers,etc.), and how many lines you have in the water, how far apart the riggers are, wind on top and current below, how fast you let it down, and boat speed. There are numerous factors but it pretty much all boils down to keeping lines from getting tangled. Everyone has their preferences and you just have to play around and see what works best for you. As for me, I see no point in running anything further than 35 feet behind especially in a loaded boat.

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Usually from 10-20' for me. If the fish are hitting them short Ill stay short. Uslually 1st ones of the day are about 15'. Or 1 at 10 and 1 at 15'.

How many other guys pull bombers or other sticks behind riggers for eyes? How far back do ya run those?

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STEVE

THANKS for not giving out the hole deal I would like to tell but if you come to the seminar you would know ????? we will try to help you can try different feet and when one works for you keep it there it is all about speed with smelt it IS SLOW with spoons you can go faster it is about where the fish ARE than where you are fishing and how fast you are fishing. if you think we need another seminar we can put one on let me know we can help... shocked.gif..

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I can't give a definite answer to the question either other then to say it depends. As a rule the shorter the length the less slack time from the point of release till the rod loads back up. That helps with hooks ups. Downside is ball shy fish.

Matt pointed out some variables that will dictate your drop back lengths. I'm usually the opposite though on stacked lines and the bottom set with a longer drop back then the stacked line. When I have a lot of lines down I slow the speed of the drop and let the balls settle in a few times when going deep, that seems to help with tangles especially on the outdowns with wingers. Most my tangles happen from one of a few reasons. A fish that runs lateral after a strike, heavy cross winds and driver error.

Skippers Kid made the point about speed and flashers/dodgers. I too run slow when running meat rigs and couldn't do that without the drift sock. Of coarse you'll have to pick a spoon for stacked lines that'll give action with those slower speeds.

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I pretty much run all mine short. As little has 3ft at times on big spoons. I've tried running my shallow ones way back but havn't had much luck. So I tend to put them back 20-30ft. But iam a spoon guy who likes to cover some water. One of theses days I'll slow down and fish some meat smirk.gif

Frank you run your sock down the chute? do you have to bring that in everytime you get a fish. Just seems like it would always be in the way. I'm going to have to get one. Cant troll slow enough for the huge flasher meat rigs.

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Dont want it in the back of your boat Randy. Run the sock down the front of your boat or off the side cleat. If ya have 2 small ones it works great you dont have as hard a time steering.

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Right, I tie the lead of the sock to a forward cleat. Its out of the way and easy to put in and pull out.

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Thanks for all the info. Its great to compare notes on what others are doing. Sounds like I tend to run them farther back then most. I have had very few problems with tangles but have system that works for me and agree you have to be attentive to the rigger release and reel up the slack or you can have difficulties with your hook-sets. I may try some shorter lengths and experiment a little. Northlander...I run bombers on the riggers sometimes but personally have had better catch success running them on the boards with weight attached or running deeper diving lures (reef runners). Also, I have used the riggers successfully on Mille Lacs when I had my girls with and they didn't have quite the touch to know whether they were on bottom with the bottom bouncers, so we ran crawler and leech harnesses 30 feet behind the bombs about 4-5 feet off of bottom. Has worked well twice now for us. People kind of look and think your craZy. I'd personally rather hold the rod with bottom bouncer but my daughters just did't have the feel for doing that.

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