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Another rookie downrigger question

Old 03-31-2004, 04:55 PM
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Default Another rookie downrigger question

hey guys, I'm another rookie downrigger user and I'm looking for a little help also. After the answers to Jersey Jim's posts, I feel better about setting up my new downer..Cabelas just sent me my new Cannon Unitroll with the swivel base , a universal gimbal mount and rod holder attachment. This is to go in a gunnel rod holder about 2 ft from the transom... Question now is the type of rod / tackle. I was planning on using my standard striper type rig.. 7' medium action Ocean Master rod with Penn 320 GT2 reel and 20lb mono. A buddy came over yesterday and told me the rod is too short and stiff..he says an 8 footer with a really light tip is needed; the reel is OK but should have 30lb Power Pro on it for strength and less resistance..My plan is to use this outfit mainly for Florida to North Carolina coast trolling for small tuna, dorado, wahoo, grouper, whatever,, etc...I am an absolute rookie at this..Is he right?? I'll appreciate any help or comments you can give.
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Old 03-31-2004, 05:03 PM
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Default RE: Another rookie downrigger question

Hi

Downrigger rods tend to be longer when fishing for salmon and steelhead . . . mine are 8 ft long . . . yes I want a rod that has a lot of arc to it when I set it up in the downrigger . . . 20 to 30 pound line is good for salmon up to 35 pounds . . . the 320s are good for salmon

HOWEVER . . . I think that the Penn 320 is too small if you hook into a tuna . . . I will let the others who know more about that advise you . . . good luck

PS Go out a few times with someone who uses downriggers . . . it is well worth the effort and will save you from many a tangled line
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Old 03-31-2004, 08:18 PM
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Default RE: Another rookie downrigger question

Typically we only use downriggers when slow trolling for kings. For normal trolling I Prefer planers. The planers are much easier to control and don't "blowout" You will need a really heavy ball to keep it down at 6-8kts. I would start with a pancake that is at least 12#. Slow trolling with 7ft rods, but for tunas I use 5.5-6ft rods. A big YFT will screw up a flimsy rod with a 320Gt whatever and 20# test, when he is done with that thing, you probably won't recognize it. I bet you could smell the drag burning. Dolphin will be fine, along with smaller wahoo, but they will screw up a drag like nobody's business. A 50# wahoo with 5# drag (Normal for 20# test line) will have a 320 spooled before you can get it out of the rod holder. Imagine hooking a bus on the freeway, that's what a wahoo will do. Biggest things is go try, if the reel starts surging on drag, take it in and have the drag replaced, i would suggest 30# line though.

I really don't like to tell people bad news, but if you are serious about tuna, wahoo and dolphin, you are going to a gunfight with a knife. BTW, i use 80 with 100# test with a #8 HS planer. Planers are horrible on drags, so be careful if you try that route.
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Old 04-01-2004, 03:38 PM
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Default RE: Another rookie downrigger question

I for the most part only fish the gulf stream here out of Jax, FL. We started out w/ the 320GTI's. We had a total of 7....maybe 6. Anyway, everytime we made a trip to the stream, we always came back 1 320GTI less because either a descent sized Dolphin or a Wahoo literally crushed it. We used them up and switched to Penn 15LD's which are great reels and reasonable. I know a lot of guys fish w/ the 320's but I honestly wouldn't want to fish the Bluewater w/ them for Tuna or even Dolphin.

As far as your question about downriggers. You will be fine w/ a 7' Pole either trolling dead bait at 7-8knts or slow trolling live bait. I honestly recommend you switching over and using planers if you fish for Tuna and Dolphin. Use the Downriggers w/ weights for kingfishing. Some guys will use their downriggers when pulling for Dolphin and such, but instead of using a ball, attach the planer to it.
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Old 04-01-2004, 04:35 PM
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Default RE: Another rookie downrigger question

My perspective on using downriggers:

We typically use 7', Med Heavy, All-Roller Guide Rods with 20Lb tackle for Kings and Mahis with our downriggers off the NC coast. I contend that you will be able to handle most Kings and Mahis that you encounter with the setup you've proposed, although you might find the Med action rod to be a little on the light side.

As for Tuna and Wahoo, you'll want something heavier. I'll recommend 30 to 50 Lb tackle for them. I like a 6 to 6-1/2' rod with those line weights, and yes, those rod lengths will work fine with the downriggers.

I never troll for grouper or other bottom fish so I have nothing to offer on the use of downriggers for them. When we bottom fish, we typically go to some very stiff rods and 50 to 100 Lb line.

Good luck with your new downriggger(s). You will enjoy them and wonder how you got along without them.
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Old 04-01-2004, 10:09 PM
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Default RE: Another rookie downrigger question

OK..Instead of preparing to watch my favorite 320 Reel get smoked by the first hoss that goes by, I took everyone's advise and ordered a shimano TLD 25 Reel Combo with a 30-80lb rod from River Marine in Miami...got the reference from this site a few weeks ago and I'm confident now that I have a better outfit to try this with.. I'm absolutely going to get the planars also as soon as I can handle it..Guess I was a little light in the tackle and brain depts but I'm getting there now!
My thanks to you all for your help..I'll let you know how the first attempts come out next week..!
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Old 04-02-2004, 07:30 AM
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Default RE: Another rookie downrigger question

You've made an excellent choice for a new setup. The TLD25 holds about 450 yds of 40 Lb mono, which is what I've been using on mine for the last few years. I'm changing over to 30 Lb Momoi Hi-Vis yellow this season and expect to get about 600 yds of that on the reels. Shimano publishes the capacity for 50 Lb line as well, but I personnaly think that 50 Lb is a bit on the heavy side for that reel and the capacity for 50 is not adequate for trolling. I like to see at least 500 yds on the reel of whatever line I'm using for trolling.

Planers: Some people like them, some people don't. I'm one of the later. If you have a downrigger, you don't need a planer.

Just my views, for what they may or may not be worth.
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Old 04-02-2004, 08:34 AM
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Default RE: Another rookie downrigger question

Steve,

I have heard that the Cannons can be attached to the base backwards. Although they clip in they are not locked and the first few good waves send 'em overboard. I have no first hand experience with Cannons (I have a Penn) and don't know if the condition has been corrected in newer models but it is something to be aware of.

Good luck with the new settup.

Tom
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Old 04-02-2004, 11:39 AM
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Default Which planers?

are you using for tuna? Who makes them and which models are you using? And how deep do they run?

Inquiring minds want to know.

:-)

Syncerus
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Old 04-02-2004, 10:56 PM
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Default RE: Another rookie downrigger question

Syncerus...all good questions.. but look at my original subject..in other words, I have NO idea
about planar makes and models yet !! I am truly learning everything about this from the guys on this forum...and they're doing a great job of trying to keep me from wasting my time , money and tackle on a trial and mostly error learning process!! So to keep this going......Can anyone here fill us in as to what types or sizes of planars to get etc ??
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Old 04-03-2004, 03:30 AM
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Default RE: Another rookie downrigger question

If you read my original post, I use a #8 HS planer. That means it is a size #8 and HS is high speed. It is slightly longer and a little more weight than the standard models.

Here is an exerpt from the sea Striker "How to use planer guide"

Sizes #1 and #2 planers are often trolled on rods and reels spooled with line ranging from 20 to 50 lb. test. This has the advantage of allowing the angler to quickly adjust the distance and depth at which the planer is fished. A #3 planer will require a substantially heavier trolling rod and 40 to 50 lb. line. Be sure to set your reel drag just tight enough to pull the planer without slippage
Click here for planer guide
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