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Downrigger Mounting on Gunnel

Old 09-25-2019, 05:49 PM
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Default Downrigger Mounting on Gunnel

Hey everyone. Iím looking to mount a downrigger or two on the gunnels of my 2014 Sea Fox 226 Commander. Does anyone have any experience mounting a base plate on a gunnel with a diamond grip texture? I was thinking of using a piece of rubber between the gunnel and base to conform to the texture. My gunnel isnít too thick so I plan on using a stainless steel backing plate on the under side of the gunnel to distribute the load. Any suggestions are welcome.

This is my first time posting, so let me know if I need to post this somewhere else or if there is a format to follow.

Thanks in advance for the knowledge!
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Old 09-25-2019, 06:15 PM
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You're doing it the right way (rubber is optional). Make sure you check under the gunnel for wiring and/or anything else. Use lots of sealant in the bolt/screw holes.
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Old 09-25-2019, 06:24 PM
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The Pacific NW is "Downrigger Use Heaven". Most everyone uses them for deep trolling for Chinook Salmon.

Scotty is the big brand here, as they are made in Sidney, B.C. Canada, right across the Straits of Juan De Fuca from me.

My boat has Penn electrics. I like them, very durable. Out of production but they work well. I have 4 spares "just in case".

Mounted on the gunnels just aft of the center console, so I can tend the downriggers when at the helm. Most folks put the downriggers way too far aft, makes it difficult to hook up the fishing line in the release clips. Think about access before you start drilling holes.

Mounted on 2 inch thick teak blocks to both match the teak trim in the boat and to raise the base high enough to clear the inboard spray rail as you can see in the photo. Through bolted with a 1/4 inch thick marine aluminum backing plate.






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Old 09-25-2019, 06:28 PM
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Stiff rubber like from a conveyor belt would be ideal for use between the downrigger base and the diamond plate. Be sure to tighten enough to compress the rubber into the raised diamonds. You want the base to be very snug and no "wiggling". Use stainless bolts and nylock nuts.
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Old 09-25-2019, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Jus Teasin View Post
You're doing it the right way (rubber is optional). Make sure you check under the gunnel for wiring and/or anything else. Use lots of sealant in the bolt/screw holes.
Thanks for the tips!
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Old 09-25-2019, 06:35 PM
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I use a Yamaha T 9.9 for trolling, and have a prop shield on the lower unit. This is a must have to keep the downrigger lies out of the prop if you make a tight turn. Braid or stainless steel wire will make a mess around the prop and eat the lower unit seals..



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Old 09-25-2019, 07:22 PM
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Mount them directly to the gunnel (no rubber or anything else).

Use the double tape method and life seal (not life caulk) to seal around the edges.

Done and done.
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Old 09-25-2019, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Altamaha View Post
The Pacific NW is "Downrigger Use Heaven". Most everyone uses them for deep trolling for Chinook Salmon.

Scotty is the big brand here, as they are made in Sidney, B.C. Canada, right across the Straits of Juan De Fuca from me.

My boat has Penn electrics. I like them, very durable. Out of production but they work well. I have 4 spares "just in case".

Mounted on the gunnels just aft of the center console, so I can tend the downriggers when at the helm. Most folks put the downriggers way too far aft, makes it difficult to hook up the fishing line in the release clips. Think about access before you start drilling holes.

Mounted on 2 inch thick teak blocks to both match the teak trim in the boat and to raise the base high enough to clear the inboard spray rail as you can see in the photo. Through bolted with a 1/4 inch thick marine aluminum backing plate.
Great info! I am more comfortable about adding them now.
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Old 09-26-2019, 06:07 AM
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It's easy like RB said, drill the holes, use 1/4-20 stainless, backing plate and washers. Caulk with something like 4200 so you can remove. I use axles grease on all the bolts especially if you have aluminum mounting bases and break everything loose once a year, otherwise corrosion will win.
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Old 09-26-2019, 06:47 AM
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I have mounts that go into the rod holders and are bolted on to the downrigger bracket.

they stay on the downriggers.
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Old 09-27-2019, 02:47 PM
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Just an update. I made it over to my boat for some measurements and it looks like Iím ok as long as bolt-on mounts with a backing plate arenít over 5.5 inches wide. Might use very thin rubber and caulk on the edge of the mount. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 09-28-2019, 02:50 PM
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I canít tell on the sea fox if the gunnel is 1 piece as it wraps down the inside or not. I had an Edgewater 185 that did and midship downriggers were solid. I tried this on my Defiance. The gunnels are totally fine to stand on but with a 3í Rod off to the side and 13# weight there was just to much flex for my comfort level, so they had to go to the back corner.

Putting painters tape around the outside of the base prior to caulking can help with a nice clean look.
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Old 09-28-2019, 05:24 PM
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I use starboard to back them. If the bases are plastic, do not overtighten..... just enough to snug them in place. Overdo it and you will crack the base.
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Old 09-28-2019, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by rbhankins001 View Post
Mount them directly to the gunnel (no rubber or anything else).

Use the double tape method and life seal (not life caulk) to seal around the edges.

Done and done.
This. No rubber. It has to be as solid as possible without flex. Also make sure your mounting location does not interfere with the use of any rod holder (like mounting to close in front of rod holder). Donít overtighten the nuts since that area is foam cored.
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Old 09-28-2019, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by redink View Post
I canít tell on the sea fox if the gunnel is 1 piece as it wraps down the inside or not. I had an Edgewater 185 that did and midship downriggers were solid. I tried this on my Defiance. The gunnels are totally fine to stand on but with a 3í Rod off to the side and 13# weight there was just to much flex for my comfort level, so they had to go to the back corner.

Putting painters tape around the outside of the base prior to caulking can help with a nice clean look.
My gunnels are one piece, but the fiberglass is only about an inch thick and have a few support brackets attached to the underside of the gunnel and the side wall. The stainless steel backing plate I plan on using will be the width of the gunnel and about 8 inches long. I think the backing plate will distribute the load enough. As for the rubber, I will just caulk around the base. I didnít think about having to overtighten the bolts to compress the rubber and possibly crack the fiberglass.
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