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downrigger purchase


Hoffer

Question

Hi all-

Another downrigger question.

I have finally decided to pull the trigger and buy a downrigger.

I have seen the cannon "lake troll" and cannon "uni-troll".

The first one is about 130.00 and the 2nd one is about 270.00

What is the main difference for the extra money and would you guys recommend spending the extra money on the more expensive one?

Last, do any of you mount yours on a "gimbal" mount - and is this hard to put in the boat? I have a 1650 fishhawk with a smaller gunnel - and am hoping to simply put in the gimbal mount holder so I can take the downrigger off and on easily.

Any other advice that you might have as well is greatly appreciated!!

Thanks-

Mark

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

For the extra 30 bucks get the Easi troll over the lake troll without any question.

Difference betweent he Lake and Easi troll.

Easi troll 150' of cable and three-digit depth counter

Lake Troll 100' of cable and the swivel-head depth counter is junk.

For inland lakes you won't need to get into the uni line.

All Canons come with a simply low profile base that the downrigger slides into. You'll need a flat spot on the gunwale for that. If you don't have that then you can get a piece of aluminum broke I would not use a gimble mount.

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I have a Scotty downrigger. I have a Lund Rebel. I had to build a block, for lack of a better term, to raise the mount to the same level as the gunnel to get the arm over the side. One thing I did was to mount it so the arm goes over the side, not over the transom to keep the cable away from the motor. Just be carefull at the landing to not hook it on the dock. I just wish I had more chances to use it.

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I echo Frank. Two of my downriggers are the Easitrolls, and they are great. It takes only a few seconds to dismount the rigger from the base.

If you post a pic of the gunnel area you'll be mounting it in, and give its width in inches, there'll be some good advice waiting for you on how to make a base work. smile

In your situation I would definitely fish it out to the side like Cicada mentioned. Since it's so easy to dismount the rigger from the base, dock issues are really non-issues with the Cannons.

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No matter what you get a highly recomend swivel bases. Mine can be fished straight out the back our cocked at 45 or straight out the sides. Any rigger mounted permanently out the side will surely become a dock issue or a pain to take on and off. You dont want to be taking riggers on and off on the water.

Post pics of your boats rail system and we can give ya some options.

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Swivel bases are for sure more convenient, especially with multiple riggers. I've got swivel bases on my Rivieras, and they are great. smile

Hoffer, I see that if you can't get the mount on a gunnel because the gunnel is too narrow, a Cannon gimbal mount should get the rigger high enough if you mount it to the rear seat, if that's the style of your boat. Really hard to judge unless there's a pic involved. smile

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awesome replies!!

Thanks so much - thats why I love this site so much! Lots of experience and friendly people willing to share their ideas.

I have a 2003 1650 crestlibner fishhawk. I just measured the gunnels and they are an even 3 inches wide from front to back.

The reason I mentioned gimbal mounts is I saw a guy on a TV program using them and it looked very easy to slide your downrigger on and off the boat- they were basically just like rod holders and when not in use the base wasnt very obtrusive on the boat gunnel.

I am hoping my gunnels would be wide enough to simply use a standard mounting base of some kind from one of the downrigger companies. Keep in mind that I am not very good at any kind of "customizing".

I am also wondering on where to mount it. I was thinking passenger side toward the back end. However, can you see or tell if you have a strike?? I dont want to always be looking over my back all day and get a sore neck.

I am still curious why a gimbal mount is not receommneded?? They looked easy enough to slide in and out - and you can take the whole riggger easily out when not in use.

I do think the swivel base will be a must as well.

Thanks again for the advice - I am trying to get all hooked up and ready to go for a trip to Canada in 3 weeks!! I have never used a downrigger before this - and am looking forward to trying it - but the first step is getting everything set!

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Hoffer, I haven't used the Cannon swivel bases so don't know how wide the mounting screws are set. I'm not near my boat right now so can't measure the spread of the screws on the standard Cannon mounts. I know the base is about 5 inches per side, and there are two sets of four mounting screw holes on mine. One set is just inside the edge of the mount, and the other set (the one I used), is further in yet to suit narrower gunnels. I think 3 inches might be pushing it, but without being able to measure just now, I'm not sure.

Seriously, I know what boat you've got because you already let us know that, but I don't know how your boat looks. I guess I can Google it and hope to find a pic. Otherwise, can you take a quick digital pic and post it here? It's easier to do now. You just look at the icon fifth in from the left on the toolbar above this reply field and follow the directions. You can now upload a photo directly from your computer instead of having to link to a hosting site like Photobucket.

As to which side, for sure mount on the passenger side (my assumption is you have a console instead of a tiller since you mentioned the passenger side). Simple fact is, if you are alone in the boat you're always going to be turned half way back to keep an eye on the rigger, and catching the rod releasing or bouncing out of the corner of your eye is a lot easier when it's on the other side of the boat. The farther up you mount it, the more you can run into trouble with the cable or line fouling the prop. I'd not mount it more than a couple feet forward of the stern.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Those mounts go into a flush mount rod holder. I guess they call them gimble mounts, thats a new one to me, the name not the mount. If you have rod holders in a location where a downrigger would work they would be an easy fix.

Depending on your gunwale you may or may not need a backer. Most are just aluminum and in that case a backer is needed. That backer needs to span to the support structure of the gunwale.

If you have flush mounts take a look underneath to see if they have a backer.

So your gunwale is 3" wide. You'll need the backer and a block wide enough for the canon base, that will sit on top the gunwale. To that block the canon base is mounted. Or make the bracket and I'll even bet you can buy them.

You can remove the downrigger from the boom out position and put it back in with the boom in when trailering and at the dock. It takes about 3 seconds to do that.

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well I researched a bunch of mounts on the web - and they dont show the dimensions. I am going to a few stores to check them out tomorrow. Surface tension - I will take a pic of the boat gunnels when I get back (am traveling the next few days0 and try to post it.

They are to me very basic 3 inch wide gunnels. I am hoping all I have to do is buy a mounting bracket (hoping that it wil fit on a 3 inch wide gunnel) and install that and then I should be good to go.

I still might consider doing a flush mount rod holder type of one with a gimbal type holder. I like that because it would be easy in and out - but not sure if that will work on my gunnels either.

So, how fast can you troll with a downrigger - can you go 3mph without the line slipping out of the holder?

Are they generally easy to use?? I have never used one and am hoping they wont be too difficult for a starter.

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Hoffer, you can easily troll 3 mph. You've got a lot of fun ahead, learning a new style of fishing. There are a variety of releases available (the things that attach to the ball that you put your line in) with varying tensions. As you move along, tell us what type of fishing you'll be doing with the rigger and we can help you out with tips and tactics.

I was also thrown by the use of the word "gimbal" for those mounts. Had to Google it to get a pic. To me, the "gimbal" mount has always been the type of 360-degree ball mount that you can tighten and loosen with the twist of the knob. My handheld GPS and boat electronics are mounted to my dash with those mounts. Way not strong enough for the torque produced in downrigger fishing.

Mounting a block to the gunnel is no big deal, if you have to do it. But if you can find a basic Cannon downrigger base in the store and measure the gap between mounting screws, you'll know if it'll bolt right on. In any case, it's better to drill all the way through the gunnel and use bolts/nuts for the mounting base than screws. Screws can, if things go wrong and you get a ball caught on the bottom, rip right out of your gunnel. My gunnel is carpet on top, then thin aluminum, then 3/4 plywood.

Looking forward to the pic. If you also can stick the camera up under the gunnel from inside the boat and show us a shot of that, it'll help us help you even more. smile

Even with my wider gunnel made up of the materials described, I needed to do more to make it sturdy than a simple piece of backer wood under the gunnel. Not trying to put you off. Lots of folks here who can help you through the process. Also, I'd bet there are quite a few other HSOers down in T.C. land who are more experienced with mods and would help you out. smile

I also bet one of the Duluth area guys would be happy for a little company on an outing. You can learn a LOT in a short time in the trolling boat with an experienced angler. You can go to the BWCAW-Duluth forum, where there's a stickied thread for an open seat in the boat. You can click here to get to that thread. And many of my laker guiding trips up here involve helping clients get started with their own gear.

For pics of how I mounted my Cannon bases, you can click to go to this thread. Like Frank said, you can see from the mount that it takes only a few seconds to take a rigger on or off. smile

And you can find additional recent downrigger talk here and here.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Canon bases are 5.75 x 5. The four mounting holes are 2.5" on center.

Some guys use a trach system. Traxstech for example. You mount a track on the gunwale. Accessories like rod holders and downriggers mount to that track.

The rod holder mounts might work for you but I've seen where they don't recommend using them off the side of the boat because of the side twist.

When you start adding rod holders, gimble mounts, and track systems the price of the riggers will look cheap in comparison.

I have the plain jane canon mounts on my 16'er. They are non intrusive and didn't cost me a nickle as they come with the riggers. That same boat gets used for eyes, crappies and whatever, the mounts don't get in the way.

My Lake Superior boat has 4 downriggers. Two Big Jons off the back with a home made receiver type mount(like the gimble) that was made from aluminum square tubing. They can also got out the side. Two long boom riggers off the sides on swivel bases.

Cheap solution.

Here is a bracket you could have broke at a sheet metal shop. You sort of get the idea there, change the angle and bottom foot to what you have. 6" wide would be fine. If you want a swivel base use it.

full-831-805-bracket.jpg]

Red is bracket.

Gray is your hull and gunwale.

Black is canon mount.

Brown backer.

Green bolts

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wow guys this is aweseome stuff - I am totally understanding all of this now.

I think the main think will be the base. I have to make sure I get a base that will fit my 3 inch gunnels. I have seen some stainless steel swivel ones that are all the way up to 130 bucks for just the base. If I can get a standard one with the 2.5 inch space for the screws - I am thinking that would work out great!

I will try to post a pic of my gunnels - but try to imagine a standard 3 inch wide by 3 inch deep square metal tube - only with an open bottom. The gunnel top is plain metal - no carpet. The gunnel then also drops down the side on the inside of the boat as well for another 2 to 3 inches. In otherowrds - its not going to be too easy to try and work underneath it (just for maneuvering around = its a tight space) to attach a base/board for the screws to drill through and bolt on - but I think I can manage. So, I think I understand you guys now. With my rod holders I just side mounted them and used self tapping screws with no bolts or washers etc...

However, with the down riggers being bigger and more heavy - I am thinking you must need to use a base (backer) under the gunnel as well for added strength - or the whole base could just rip out!

Do you need to also have an additional block on TOP of the gunnel for the downrigger base to attach to so that the downrigger is higher??

I did go to youtube last night and looked at some videos there of how to use downriggers - and am really starting to understand. Even things where guys on other posts have said to "twist the line" in a few loops to put in the release when using superlines cause otherwise they will slip out of the release too easy. Before watching the video - I had no idea what they meant - but now I totally understand and its pretty simple! One guy even uses a rubber band and half hitches it to his line and then puts the rubber bad in the release.

I think the only issue I am going to have now is how to mount the downrigger mounting bracket and which bracket to buy so that is the least obtrusive, also hopefully swivels and isnt too much money!!

Last, on youtube one guy was also using a scotty brand downrigger. The "reel" on the scotties was actually behind the rod holder and was horizontal rather than vertical like on the cannons. It looked to me like a better placement and also easier to use?? any comments there on the scotty vs the cannon?

Thanks again!!

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However, with the down riggers being bigger and more heavy - I am thinking you must need to use a base (backer) under the gunnel as well for added strength - or the whole base could just rip out!

Do you need to also have an additional block on TOP of the gunnel for the downrigger base to attach to so that the downrigger is higher??

Thanks again!!

I was given the advice from Endoftheline ( Joel who ran a charter boat on Lake Superior)to use composite decking for backing and that is what I did for my track system. In your case you might have to rip it if you can not find in in a small enough width. That and some heavy duty stainless bolts and you should be good. I added about 4" to each end foe a little overlap.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

The aluminum cap on your gunwale is sandwiched between trim on the exterior and most likely angles underneath. Normally that isn't strong enough to support downriggers. The purpose of the backer is to span to and over the supports underneath that cap on your gunwale. Since your width is 3", a block on top won't be needed because the base will span that, becoming part of the sandwich. Note that you don't want any of the base protruding outside the boat. The dia I provided covers all that.

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Ok guys...another angle on this whole thing!

I looked at my boat a little closer and had another idea.

In the back I have a "butt seat" on a 2.5 inch diamter atwood brand circular stand. So its real sturdy.

I rarely use that.

I then looked at where the insert for my passenger seat is located. I put the butt seat there and eye-balled things. The stand is exactly 23 inches from the outside of the boat. Its also tall enough right now so that the seat ir right at the gunnel level. The insert for the seat is abut 60 inches from the back of the boat.

It would be very simple to remove the 4 bolts that hold the seat on - and then bolt on a thicker piece of wood to the seat stand bracket. Then I could mount any type of mounting bracket for the rigger I wanted to on to the wood and then the downrigger would slip on and off that bracket. (wouldnt matter the size of the bracket - cause the wood would be big enough to take any size).

It would really be simple and I could just take the seat pole in and out anytime I wanted to.

But heres the questions.

Do you need more 'clearance" for the downrigger than the 23 inches I would have tot he side of the boat?

Also, does anyone mount their riggers more toward the middle of the boat like that - or does that not work at all??

My other idea is that if it needed to be mounted toward the back and also a little closer to the side...I can always buy another mounting plate for the floor that the seat pole slips into - and then mount that plate on the back casting platform right in the back of the boat way towards the pasenger side so the rigger would have plenty of clearance over the side. The only issue is that there would then be 2 mounting plates back there and that would take up some room and be a little awkward. (the original one for the butt seat is right in the middle of the boat...so I cant use that cause its even further away from the side than the 23 inches that the passenger seat is from the side).

Anyway, I kind of like this idea if it would work cause it would be super easy to mount the bracket for the rigger to the seat pole, and it would be super easy to take the rigger in and out of the boat when I would like - and also have no other permanent mounting plates on the gunnels.

let me know what you think!

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alright so I did some more research and I think I answered one question above.

I dont think mounting it in the passenger seat mount will be a good idea.

I guess there is more of a likelihood of the wire rubbing the side of the boat and also possibly getting caught in the prop if the boat turns sharply and the line runs under the boat. With it mounted near the back - it will be more likely to stay out of trouble with the wire scraping the boat or getting caught.

The more I think about it - the more I think I am going to moount a 2nd round bracket that accepts the seat pole. These brackets are made with 6 holes in a larger circle that should help to spread out any torque. It may take some additional space on the transom casting platform - but still its a pretty flat circular piece and it shouldnt interfere too much.

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or maybe this is the best bet...I have room on my transom rail for this on either side of the motor....only question is will the downrigger be in the way when the boat motor is turning?

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Your not going to have enough room nor will it be user friendly mounted on your transom.

Mount it on your gunwale.

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Surface tension...

I have been looking at the yrack systems.

I have a perfect spot on my transom corner deck toward the very back corner.

Heres a link to a place that has the track systems. They sell a 6 inch track with a matching backer. I have a perfect spot for it.

Then I am thinking of buying the 6 inch riser.

Do you think that would be enough room to clear things??

I eyeballed it and it looks like it would.

I am just thinking tring to mount this on a gunnel or gunwale or whatever its called will be tough. I looked at mine again last night - and I just dont know. I love your diagram and that would work - but I have no skils to fasion something like that.

So, I think I am either going with the track system with the 6 inch riser (wish they had a higher riser...) or I am going to try my idea of mounting it to my seat pole. That seat pole is very sturdy and it will sit up high and for sure clear everything.

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Trust me you do not want your riggers mounted back by the transom. You will want them by the back livewell/battery storage or your furthest back seat. Remember you have to be able to use these things and set lines when in waves and too much bending over the transom or gunnel isnt good.

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Northlander-

yeah...I have 2 bsttery compartments on either side of my transom deck.

I am thinking of mounting the riggers just "behind" those battery compartments. In otherwords they would be about 1 foot from the very back transom moving toward the front.

Then with the riser - I am hoping they will clear the gunnels and I will be using them at a 90 degree angle from the back transom - going over the side of the boat about 1 foot before the very end of the boat.

And if I can do this just right - and get the brackets that rotate I think I can rotate the whole thing so that the boom will actually run right over the very back corner - so basically 45 degree angle from the back transom.

Hope that makes sense. I figured this will put them away from the motor and also away from the sides of the boat so they wont scrape.

Or if I go with the idea of using the seat pedastel - they will be about 20 inches high in the air and will go directly over the last 1 foot of the bacl of the boat. They will be up high and should easily be within reach and operation. So, I kind of like the seat pedastal idea the best...

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I think if you put a 6" track right behind your back cleats on your gunnel and put a backer under the gunnel you will be fine. Thats what I did on my Explorer and its Rock solid.

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So lets say my gunnel is 2 inches "thick" (from top to bottom).

And the gunnel is NOT open underneath...its got a bottom too - in otherwords I cant get the backer to sandwich between the top layer of the gunnel and the track.

Would you just bolt the backer on the very bottom using longer bolts that would go through both the top layer of the gunnel and the bottom layer??

If thats the case - then this may be a really good option!!

I would only be left with a 6 inch "track" on the back of the gunnel once I remove the downrigger when not in use - and it probably wouldnt look bad at all - and there is probably other things i could use to slide on the track like a rod holder etc...

Let me know if thats what your thinking...might be a real good way to go. plus, i would have 2 "layers" of gunnel to support the whole thing with the backer being a 3rd "layer".

Plus, the rigger would then be wayup top on the gunnel and i could position it further away from the boat and motor. I am thinking I like that smile

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Tracks are 3.5" wide. Those will fit over the gunwale nicely and no extra support needed on top because the track will span across trim and angles.

As long as your block on the bottom of the enclosed gunwale spans across bracing, angles, or whatever, then you should be fine.

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OK...darn maybe a setback here.

I took off the "sidewall" that attaches to the edge of the boat on the inside so I could get at the gunnel and see what it looked like.

Although the top of the gunnel is 3 inches wide...the inside part is NOT that wide.

The sides of the gunnel comme down and that takes up space on the under side where the backer would go.

So, this ready made backer i was going to purchase that would work with the 3.5 inch track will be too wide to fit in on the bottom.

so....if I used some washers that would fit in the space...would I still get enough support for the whole thing that the downrigger wouldnt rip off the gunnels?

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

If you used fender washers and they at least covered part of the support then that should be OK.

Or cut the block to fit.

I think your over evaluating things. smile

Its not like were asking you to do a space walk to fix a broken solar panel with a monkey wrench. smile

If you lived closer I'd mount them for you.

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Hey Surface...Your right!!

But keep in mind my talent for fixing things is about a 1 out of 10!

However, I have a neighbor who is a russian engineer and pretty handy. I am just asking all the questions cause i have to buy this stuff over the internet - and want to be sure I am going to get the right stuff - cause returns are a pain through the mail!!

i think I am pretty set and am ordering stuff this weekend. Only thing is they are all out of the riser bracket - but are making more this week and i should have it in by the time I leave. So, for now i can order the track and get that installed - thats the main issue anyway.

Thanks!

Hoffer

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

A Russian Engineer you say. Well Well. You won't be alone when the Russians lock onto the Space Shuttle.. If your tether breaks on the space walk you have a back up Russian with a jet-pack.

Now I really wish you lived closed because I'd like to come with. I could met you for a pickup but just my luck my rocket would be headed toward Uranus and then I'd never get back hoooooommme.!

Then again I might find Intellect Beings there, more so then I. Launch at 0100(Closing Hour) smile

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I will take some pics of mine later and have Frank post them. Its very simple and I didnt use any backing just long stainless bolts and washers. Its the cleanest and easiest way to do it on your boat. Plus super easy on and off. Plus when you dont have a rigger on the track you can mount a rod holder or whatever in the track or just slide the spacer back in it.

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