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Tip #98 #98Downrigger Diversity Improves Your Success

Downrigger Diversity Improves Your Success

By Wisconsin fishing charter Capt. Jim Hirt

Let’s continue with downriggers. In the last article we covered the hardware, weights, releases and manual or electric models. Now we will go into using this tool in many ways. Should you have a question please e-mail me from my Website contact us page. Read all my articles and see video fish reports at

The basic presentation

The basic presentation is to set the lead by allowing the lure to trail behind the boat as the boat goes anywhere from 1 to 3.5 miles per hour. The distance the lure is run behind the weight of the downrigger will change depending on a large and ever changing set of conditions.

Length will change

At or before first light of the day, and again after sunset a short lead of 20 feet is the most effective. The commotion of many lures running side by side will draw fish to the boat. As the sun comes up and the bite slows down, you should consider increasing the distance from the weight to the lure.

Environmental Issues VS Lead Length

Zebra and Quagga mussels have taken much of the color out of the water on and a long lead is required for spooky fish on sunny calm days. This is very important when you are working the top forty feet of water. The short lead is also very good when fishing deeper than 75 feet down. There are lures that must be run shorter than 20 feet to work. Rotators, flashers and dodgers like to run 12 to 15 feet behind the weight.

SWR or ?

SWR is another presentation to run on a downrigger. SWR or secret weapon rig is a rod with two or three colors of leadcore line. The advantage to this set up is it runs below the weight to offer a lure in an environment 100 feet behind the boat.

Down & Outs

For many years some fisherman have been using down and outs. This is a small diving disc adjusted to run to the left or right of the boats path to provoke a hit. Set up the disc as you would for working it on a solo line and attach it 20 feet behind the weight.

Sliders Explained

In addition to the standard rigging, sliders are a popular method of getting more lines in the water. After the main line is set to any depth a six foot piece of monofilament with a lure on one end and a snap on the other is attached to the main line and allowed to slide down to about midway from the surface and the bottom lure.

Stacking Lines

With a downrigger you can also run a stack line to offer more lures at more potential depths. The way this is rigged is to set your main line as usual lower it to 15 feet and add another line by means of an additional release. My experience with this has been outstanding. Two lures together are very effective when working deep lines. I like a dodger or flasher 10 feet behind the weight on the bottom line and a spoon 30 feet back on the top stack line.

Use your imagination, The variations of downrigger presentation are end less.

Buy Four And Get One Free

Badger Tackle has a promotion for a free spoon. Call me anytime to help with your spoon selection. If you would like to try the hottest spoons for salmon and trout for shore anglers or trolling and jigging in 2011 go to Good luck. Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. with Blue Max Charters. He can be reached at 414-828-1094 or visit his web site at Copyright© 2012, James J. Hirt, All Rights Reserved.