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Discussion Starter #1
The boat I bought came with a Cannon down rigger. I have fished since I was old enough to go, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to rig this thing up. Do you need a special pole? How much line do you let out behind the cannon ball? The list goes on. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
 

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No special rod needed.

We usually let out about 20 feet of line before attaching it to the downrigger. Drop the rigger to the desired depth and then take the slack out of the line on your rod.
 
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Drag a 10 lb weight on the bottom with a large crank trailing from it while simultaneously stacking 2 more set-ups at various depths with pop gear affixed to your cable for an attractor above the silt that's being kicked up from the cannon ball.

Actually, scratch that, a beginner shouldn't try that.
Basically it's like anything else, get a solid understanding of the basics then tweak your methods. I suggest using downrigging rods with fireline as far as equipment goes and I prefer the Cannon pincher style releases.
 
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Hey . Thanks for the info. I'll try the downrigger again soon as I can.
 

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tenguage i always found it more helpful to be shown rather than told how to do something, so if you want a semi experience person on downriggers to come along i volunteer my services,
 

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We don't use our down rigger much, but the best piece of advise I can give is this: Whatever dept you set your down rigger at set the shallow alarm on your fish finder 5-10 feet higher. If the shallow alarm goes off because you're getting into a huge depth variation, you'll have time to start cranking the rig up. You absolutely don't want to get the cannon ball hung up on anything for any reason. Bad things.
 

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Here are a couple of more useful links.

This one is the Cannon website: http://www.bottomlinefishfinders.com/site/html/htmlsite/faq.htm#coverage.

This is the website for SEPs Pro Fishing, which is dedicated to trolling for trout, kokanee and other landlocked salmon: http://sepsprofishing.com/index.html

The bare minimum set-up for using a downrigger includes:
- downrigger
- cannon ball (anything from 4 - 12 lbs)
- release clip (I like the "clothespin" type...see picture below)

- rod and reel with a smooth drag (spinning or casting)
- fish finder - highly recommended, but not absolutely necessary

I use downriggers a fair bit when trolling for trout and kokanee and learned how to do so in about 10 minutes with an experienced user.  As others have mentioned, keep track of where your downrigger ball is, and where the bottom is...you do not want to snag the ball on the bottom because the cable is typically 150-lb test and it is very hard to break.  Luckily, you can normally see the downrigger ball on the fish finder, and, if you tweak it just right, you can see the ball, you can see the lure, and sometimes you can even see fish come up to inspect the lure and, if you're lucky, whack it!  The best reality TV show you'll ever watch.

As for tackle, make sure that whatever rod and reel set-up you use has a smooth drag, because you generally want to lower the cannon ball (with the line clipped to the release) with your reel in gear.  A jerky drag will catch, pop the line out of the release, and then you have to start all over again.  If you have a smooth drag, just back off on the drag pressure, lower the ball down, and then tighten the drag back up to your strike setting (don't forget this last step).  Other than that, you can get away with spinning or casting reels and rods in the 7 - 9' range (most of mine are 7 or 7'6").

The amount of line you have between the clip and the lure really varies...sometimes you can get away with a few feet, sometimes you need 50 or more feet.  It just depends on how skittish the fish are, and whether they are likely to be spooked by the big downrigger ball.  I normally start with about 15 ft and adjust it from there.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
If the shallow alarm goes off because you're getting into a huge depth variation, you'll have time to start cranking the rig up.
You don't have to crank up, speed up. By the time you scream, crap your pants, jump to the back of your boat, start cranking your downrigger, your probably into the bottom anyways, relax and just increase your speed, your weight will come up, then when you are over the hump, slow down and your lures are back into the zone again. EASY.

Getting into the bottom with your weight isn't a mortal sin, in fact I often do it on purpose. Just don't run bottom in rocks and be ready to bite your cable in two if you need to. Anyone running a downrigger should ALWAYS have a pair of heavy leather gloves and wire cutters on board and easily accesible for safety (snags). If you do end up cutting your line, try not to do it under tension as the wires recoil will come back and cut your nose off or fillet your face.
 
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Thanks for tellin me about the wire cutters. I am one if it can go wrong it probably will go wrong. Not that I'm jinxed/ well maybe I am.
 
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