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Downrigger Fishing On Lake Michigan

How To Set Up Downriggers For Fishing

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Now is the time to think about changes to make you more productive next season. There are many ways to go on this subject. Over the next several articles I will try to cover topics like rigging, tackle and presentation. My goal is to provide information, which should lead to more fish and less slow fishing.

Let’s get started with rigging. This is a very large topic that needs to be broken down into smaller subjects. Downriggers are a good place to start. This is one of the most basic of presentations and yet is very easy to get confused about. The use of this tool is limited only by your imagination.

For every method I write about here some of you know dozens of other ways to work a downrigger. The basic concept is a wire line with a weight on one end with a release to hold a lure at a given depth. The other end is a spool or wheel to hold the wire and facilitate the raising or lowering of the weight. Downriggers are made in manual or electric. There are many brands out in the market place and I think they are all good. The high-speed electrics will give you an advantage when you are on a hot bite. For the average fisherman manuals will get the job done.

There are all kinds of additional features you can add to your downrigger. An important one is temperature at the ball to tell you when your lure is the temp for your target. This can also be added to any downrigger later. Cameras to watch lure action and the attitude of the fish. All the extras may or may not get you more fish depending on your ability to interpret the information provided.

Basic set up is to let out your lure behind the boat and attach it to the weight. The way you attach it has everything to do with how many fish you will put in the boat. I have tried most of the different styles of releases. I like the Blacks release with the clip to attach the weight as one unit. The Blacks releases are completely adjustable to set the hook when the fish bites and never tangle or wear the line.

Weight selection is also important. Things to consider are size, shape, construction and color. For my corner downriggers a flat weight with a large adjustable fin is the way to go. When the fin is correctly tuned it will spread your presentation and avoid tangles. For the two inside downriggers I prefer a weight that tracks well and looks like a fish. I use 10-12 pound weights when fishing deep and go to 8 pounds for shallow presentation. The best source I have found for quality weights at a reasonable price is Off Shore Weights ask for Ralph 414-425-7663.

I will finish on this subject in the next article.

Good Luck Captain Jim.

Let's go fishing!! Jim charters out of Milwaukee, WI. With Blue Max Charters

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