How to use a downrigger – Just for Fishing

You’re probably looking for more efficient methods of fishing. With so many fishing guides available, it can be tough to determine which methods are the most effective. However, with a little guidance, you can find a handful that will serve you well all of the time. In this article, we will discuss downriggers, including what they are, what they do, and how to utilize them efficiently in a variety of situations.

What are downriggers?

Before we get into the specifics of how to use a downrigger, let’s take a moment to define what one is. Downrigging is a type of trolling that makes use of a cannonball that is attached to the winch; this aids in the carrying of the line and is quite effective.

As you may be aware, some fish species prefer to congregate deeper in the water or closer to the surface. In particular, bigger fish dislike swimming close to the water’s surface, which hinders your ability as an angler to have a good grip on the situation. Getting the larger fish, which are swimming close to the waterbed, to rise to the surface is not a simple operation, and you will not be successful unless you use the right fishing setup.

If that is the type of position you find yourself in, a downrigger would be your best option. This configuration allows your lure to penetrate deeper water and fish at depths that you would not normally be able to reach. The use of a downrigger allows you to drop your lures as deep as 250 feet and keep them there for as long as you need to catch fish.

Is it possible to utilize downriggers for saltwater fishing? What equipment do you recommend? Downrigging is a method that was developed by saltwater fishermen and has now gained widespread acceptance among other anglers. Such a layout can be extremely beneficial when fishing for species that prefer to stay close to the bottom, as it can provide you with an added edge in your quest for a successful fishing excursion.

Where and how do you use a downrigger setup?

Downriggers, as you may have guessed by now, are more often employed to catch fish that live in deep water, such as vast lakes and other bodies of water, as opposed to shallow water. The guidelines are virtually the same whether you want to learn how to use downriggers for trout or salmon, or for any other species that lives in such conditions.

You should have the following items in order to set up a suitable downrigger configuration. You must be certain that the lure you use is appropriate for the species of fish you wish to capture. It is essential that all of the tackle you bring is large enough to fit both your setup and your catch. A huge spinning reel, as well as a cannonball and some clips to hold the downrigger in place, should be considered permanent fixtures.

It makes no difference whether you intend to use the rig for saltwater or freshwater because it should function in the same way regardless of where you choose to put it in. In terms of your setup, the reel is the most significant component. It is important to ensure that the reel wire is connected to the lead cannonball; although you can purchase a lead ball in a variety of shapes, this is not an absolute requirement.

A wire connects the ball to the line clip, which helps to hold the rig together. When utilizing downriggers for salmon, just like you would when using one for other comparable species, it is critical to allow the lure to fall behind your boat before casting. Move the boat to a more convenient location so that you can properly setup the bait.

If you wish to troll the lure, make sure to apply additional pressure to the clip in order to ensure that the fish will finish up on the hook. Keep in mind that other species, like as marlin, require a little more room to maneuver so that they don’t have to struggle as much, which means that you will need to lower the tension on the clip. Every one of these suggestions will come in handy when pursuing different types of fish.

It takes some experience to get the hang of lowering the line with the bait, but it is not difficult. Remove just enough line from the spool to allow the rig to sink with the lure to the desired depth before reattaching the line. By keeping your finger on the spool, you can maintain control over the line. In addition, you can prevent your line from becoming knotted and untidy in this manner.

When the line is properly tensioned, you will be able to tell that you have the setup in place and that it is exactly how you desire. The tension in the line will convey any vibrations, which are indicators that the fish has struck, and you will be able to draw your prey to the surface with ease.

What fish species can be caught with a downrigger?

This is a vital question to be addressed. The use of a downrigger or not will depend on the type of fish you hope to catch and the conditions at the time. Some people are interested in learning how to use downriggers for walleye, while others are more interested in learning how to use them for trout or salmon. However, these are not the only species that may be caught with the aid of a downrigger. There are other more as well. Snapper, marlin, cobia, mackerel, and a slew of other species are among those on the menu.

Fish that prefer to reside close to the waterbed are a little more difficult to deceive with bait than other species because they have a different feeding pattern. Their better-trained eyesight can discern the difference between an artificial lure and their natural prey, which is advantageous to them. It is one of the factors that causes them to be on high alert since artificial lures float on the surface of the water, which is an unnatural occurrence for them.

However, if you employ a downrigger, you will be able to bring the bait closer to them. The customary precautions are not followed, and as a result, the fish can be persuaded to bite as a result. Snappers, for example, are well-known for being the most cautious of all the fish, making them exceptionally difficult to capture. Anglers that have employed downriggers, on the other hand, swear by this method for catching a large number of snappers.

The usage of a downrigger can be extremely beneficial in a wide variety of circumstances. For example, if you are fishing in an estuary where the strong currents prevent bait from sinking, utilizing a downrigger will save you a lot of time and aggravation. In addition, you will not be adversely affected by the strong currents, allowing you to drop the bait to the required depth.

Tips for downrigging in freshwater

If you enjoy trout fishing, you are probably aware that this species favors different depths, which is why it is critical to use a downrigger when fishing for them. In the past, it was extremely customary for anglers to employ a large number of lead and wire lines simply to ensure that the bait sank properly. In the event that you like trolling, a downrigger is an excellent alternative to the strategy outlined previously.

The advantage of using a downrigger is that it is more lightweight. It also makes it much easier to control as a result of this. Furthermore, you won’t have to be concerned about your tackle being hefty and difficult to use. While it is true that downriggers are more commonly associated with saltwater fishing, there are a growing number of anglers who are willing to take a chance and employ this technique to catch trout in freshwater.

Consider the following suggestion to increase your chances of success when employing this fishing technique. To the same downrigger, attach two or three lines at a time if necessary. If you do this, you will have an increased chance of catching more fish and you will be more efficient than other fishermen who are stumbling around with a conventional rod and reel setup.

Using downriggers for saltwater

Using downriggers for saltwater fishing is quite effective because it allows you to get the bait in very close proximity to the target fish. For saltwater anglers, one of their goals is to cover as much water surface as possible, and they accomplish this by employing a variety of techniques. A downrigger is an excellent tool for covering more ground.

Downriggers can be employed with the same efficiency in harbor entrances, where the currents are known to be strong. Even if there are certain difficulties linked with how quickly or easily you can get the fish out of the water once it has struck, these fisherman appear to be well prepared for a wide range of situations. They choose re-curve hooks that are robust and will not enable the fish to escape once they have been hooked using the hooking technique.

What kind of baits and lures can be used with a downrigger?

One thing you might be wondering is what kind of bait or lure to use with this type of setup. Here are some suggestions. A downrigger can be used for trolling or drifting, but there is nothing wrong with spending some time thinking about the many baits and lures that can be used to catch the fish. It is possible to catch more fish with this technique if you use a variety of baits, including lie baits, rigged dead baits, skirted lures, and minnows.

There are a variety of different things to keep in mind. For example, if you are using a charter boat, a combination of hummingbird sounders in conjunction with a downrigger may prove to be highly beneficial.

Instructions for operating a manual downrigger

Despite the fact that automatic downriggers are available, some anglers choose to experience the thrill of using a manual downrigger instead. To ensure that your downrigging technique is successful, you must follow a few simple procedures.

Set the boat’s speed to trolling, and then allow the line to naturally unwind from the spool of line. Make sure to keep your thumb on the line in order to ensure that the lure lowers to the proper level of depth. Once that has occurred, use the drag clicker to stop the reel from spooling. At this point, the only thing left for you to do is to place the rod in the rod holder and concentrate on the line you are casting.

With one hand, catch the line immediately below the rod tip, and with the other, control the direction in which the line is released. Right now, the cannonball is submerged in water, and you must lift it in order to correctly attach it to the ship. After that, you can drop the cannonball into the water, where it will sink together with the bait.

The next step is to grip the reel and begin loosening the disc that is holding the cannonball in place with your fingers. Allowing the cannonball to sink into the water until it reaches the depth you desire for your bait is accomplished by letting it go. Keep in mind that you must rotate the knob in the opposite direction of the clock in order for it to be loosened.

It is possible to start cranking the reel once you detect that the cannonball is starting to pull down on the reel, which will allow the cannonball to begin its descent. Keep an eye on the line counter, which should be mounted on the rig’s top for easy sight and visibility. This will enable you to calculate the depth of water required.

When you have decided to stop the descent because you have reached the required depth, you should tighten the disc once more. To do so, turn the knob clockwise this time around to tighten the disc. You will be able to prevent the cannonball from sinking any further in this manner.

Now that you’ve got the cannonball in position, you should concentrate on reducing drag. Setting the drag clicker on the reel will allow you to tighten the fishing line until it is no longer slack, which you will notice once the drag clicker is set.

After you’ve completed all of your preparations, it’s time to sit back and wait for the fish to strike. Then you’ll have to go get the bait, which will take some time. It is suggested to use a brusque movement while releasing the line and pulling the fish upward, as the fish may have begun to struggle at this point. The greater your speed and strength, the greater your chances of landing the fish that has been trapped in the hook.

Bring the cannonball back to the surface of the water is the next stage. To begin, loosen the knob and turn the reel counter-clockwise until it stops spinning. As soon as the cannonball is visible, you can tighten the knob to keep the cannonball from moving around. This comprehensive guide will teach you all you need to know about operating a manual downrigger successfully. While it may not appear to be difficult, it may take some practice to do it correctly the first time.


Downrigging is one of the many fishing techniques that may be used to catch more fish and increase the number of fish caught. Even though it has its origins in tactics that are primarily practiced by saltwater anglers, it may be applied to freshwater fishing as effectively. When dealing with fish that prefer to swim near to the bottom, the only way to persuade them to strike is to bring the lure closer to where they are swimming.

Downrigging is the best method for accomplishing this. The method is not difficult to learn, and just a small amount of practice is required. There are other advantages to using this way of fishing as well. Aside from the fact that you can be more efficient, another advantage is that you can tie more than one line to a downrigger, so increasing the number of times you can catch fish. By following the simple guidelines outlined above, you can improve your ability to use this method as well as other methods.