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ChamplainMan

Rookie needs help getting set up.

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Looking for some help getting my boat set up for downrigging. I recently decided to give up tournament bass fishing. I sold my bass boat and bought a StarCraft Islander 191. I installed a Hummingbird 958c and four Big Jon electric downriggers. The boat came with 4 Cabelas depthmaster downrigger rods and reel combos. These rods are in fairly good shape but was wondering if it would be worth replacing them with Okuma or ugly stik combos which leads me to the following questions....(I will be fishing for Lakers,Landlocked salmon and browns)

1. Are the Cabelas depthmaster combos any good ?

2. Should I use braid with fluoro leaders ? If so, what size and how long of a leader ?

3. Is a 10# weight a good overall size to get started with for the rigger ?

Any info would be great guy's ! Thanks.

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Shawn,

I have not used that combo, but can't remember anything bad about them. There are plenty of other things you will want, I wouldn't replace anything in good working order. My Downrigger rods are spooled with mono. 20# for flasher / fly and meat rigs, 15# spoons (some use 12#) . I use floro leaders on my coppers and LC's. 10# will work fine unless you plan to fish very deep water.

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Welcome to the site Shawn.

I'm with Rod on the line weights and leaders on the coppers and lead lines. I, however, like the 12# wieghts. Due to speed and depths that I fish there was way too much blowback. With that said, if you are looking to get started on a limited budget, they will work.

As far as the Cabelas reels, I have used a couple for several years. I found that the drags that are in the reels at purchase are good for about one year or 10 fish, which ever comes first. ;) They also tend to leak out while trolling and are jerky with fish on the line. I put the carbon fiber drags in mine and they work great. I got mine from Tuna Tom in Ludington, MI. They run about $9-10 for each set. The rods should be fine, for starters.

If yopu have $$$ to spend I would upgrade both the reels and the rods. I like the Okuma Convector reels for the money, but the Shimano Tekotas are very nice if you got the funds. Rods, I like the Daiwa Heartland, Okuma Classic, and the Shimano TDR. Any of these would be fine.

Good luck on the setup, and ask more questions when you get them. The people on this site are great resources.

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Welcome. You may want to add a couple wire diver rigs to your arsenal. Very effective rigs. If you are after lakers and they are deep and sluggish a great tactic is to replace the diver with a 1 or 1 1/2 lb ball attached to a 3 way swivel and run either cowbells or a flasher with a peanut trailing. Lower until you hit bottom then raise up and lower bouncing the bottom and raise again. I have found that most hit come on the raise. Yes, you constantly have to work the rod but it sure is a fun way to catch those lakers and will put some fish in the box on those slow days. We used this method a lot when fishing Lk Superior in depths from 180-225.

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Shawn, Welcome to the site.

Take a moment and finish filling out your profile.

Where are you fishing for land locked fish?

How deep do you need to go to get the lakers? A 10# weight is good for around 60-80'.

I use 12#, and 15# here on lake Mi. The 12# are nice down to 110-130'.

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Nailer,

I believe all the GL salmon and steelhead are considered landlocked, no ocean to go to or return from.

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Thanks everyone for your warm welcome. It's weird for me to see honest advise from fellow fisherman. I'm used to the bass guys sending me in the wrong direction so I wouldn't be a threat. Guess I made the right decision to get back into this kind of fishing !!

When I said "landlocked" I was referring to the Atlantic salmon in Lake Champlain. They do not grow huge but love to jump and put up a good fight for a small fish. I'm guessing I will be dragging bottom for lakers somewhere between 80'-150' in summer. This is a guess as I have not done this kind of fishing for 20 yrs. The only baitfish in those days on Champlain were smelt. I have to learn about these new Alewives everyone is talking about.

Keep the info coming ! I'm taking notes!!

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Your going to want to get some core/copper setups also. I don't know much about Lake C. but when the fish are the top 80-20' they can be targeted with Core, and copper setups.

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if you already have the rods and reels i would use them unless i just had money to spend. then i would replace the reels first. depending on your budjet, the tekotas are about as good as you could ask for but they are pricey. my next choice would be the daiwa sealine sg lca reels they run about 100.00 each but are well worth the money. and you can keep an eye on ebay and really get some good buys on these reels, from about 55.00 to 70.00 each for new reels or some really nice used reels. i bought all my sg17lca reels on ebay and i got them for those prices. but you would probably be better off with the sg27lca. or you can pick up the okuma convectors for about 65.00 to 70.00 new and they are a good reel for the price.

as for weights the 10,s are pretty good weights if you already have them. but i wouldnt go out and buy 10 lb unless i just planned to fish shallow. i would go with atleast 12 lb or even 14 lb if your riggers can handle them. i personaly like the 13 lb pancake weights. you get very little blowback from them. but some guys say they have problems with the pancake weights. i think maby the fins get bent on them and cause them to run to one side causing problems. myself i like to bend the fins alittle to make my out downs run out alittle to the side. just make sure which side you use them on.

as for downrigger line i think mono is just fine for riggers or boards. but if you decide to run any divers then you really do need to run braid. 30 to 50 lb will work good for divers. and i dont think it hurts anything to use a good floro leader even with mono line. i use nothing but seaguar leader for my leaders.

when you get ready to try divers i recommend the lite bite slide diver. i dont even use the slide part of the divers but i love the lite bite arm. i just tie my braid to the diver then use about an 8 ft floro leader and tie to a split ring and lace the leader through the back of the diver going through the lite bite arm. i set the rod tension alittle tight so i dont get alot of false releases. then i set the lite bite arm as loose as it will go. that way if a 8" or 10" shaker gets on it will trip the diver. you dont spend the whole morning draging a shaker around. you can check them out at slidediver.com

i also recommend the chamberlain rigger releases. they have 2 adjustments on them. 1 for the rod tension and 1 for the lure tension. they look and work alot like the blacks releases, but they have the extra adjustment for the lure tension. you can set the rod tension tight so you can really crank your rod down. then adjust the lure tension loose enough that a shaker will trip the release. they even make these in a stacker model that works really good. you can check these out at downriggerrelease.com and click on the video.

the best of luck to you on your new fishing adventure. i hope something some of us has said will help you out.

sherman

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You guy's ROCK !!

The gentleman who invented the Chamberlain release actually lives a few towns over from me. I heard they worked really good. I think I will use the rods and reels that came with the boat for now as they are in good shape. The boat also came with two dipsy diver rods and a box full of dipsy divers. Do you guy's use attractors behind the divers? Should I invest in some planer boards for spring fishing?

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You can run spoons, attractors, meat rigs pretty much anything used for salmon fishing behind a dipsy. A set of planer boards would be a good buy. Check your area for clubs - swap meets. Great way to get some good deals, info and good people.

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Shawn , Welcome to GLF

I would buy inline planer boards then you can run your coppers off them to , either church walleye boards or offshore inlines should do the trick. I dont know how they fish lakers over there but in lake michigan a good way to fish them is with a dodger with a spin-n-glow behind it. If you want a picture of this setup i can post one for you. As for the divers you can run spoons or spindoctors and flies ,or dodgers and spin-n-glows for the lakers .When fishing the lakers in lake michigan I like to bump bottom with the down rigger weight ,and drag the dipsey in the bottom ,this stirs the bottom and attracts the lakers.

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You guy's ROCK !!

The gentleman who invented the Chamberlain release actually lives a few towns over from me. I heard they worked really good. I think I will use the rods and reels that came with the boat for now as they are in good shape. The boat also came with two dipsy diver rods and a box full of dipsy divers. Do you guy's use attractors behind the divers? Should I invest in some planer boards for spring fishing?

If you don't have any of the Chamberlain releases yet, get some. You will really like them whether going after the smaller Atlantics up in the water column or lakers down deep. Being able to set the hit release tension different than the rod tension is wonderful. Really nice to put a good bend in the rigger rod but still have a small fish trip the release.

I run attractors behind my divers about 75% of the time -- flashers with flies or cut-bait or dodgers with a fly or squid. I prefer the flashers because they run effectively at a wider range of speeds. Spoons can also work well. The Slide Diver Lite-Bites use the same concept of separate release settings for the rod and the lure/fish as the Chamberlain rigger releases, plus they allow the lure to be set behind the diver at any distance you want. Dipsy and Walker divers pretty much restrict you to the length of the rod to be able to reel the fish close enough to net it. In shallow and/or clear water or when the fish are boat shy, this can be very helpful.

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Sounds like most of you think I should get some copper/lead sets going. Could you explain the whole set up from the type of pole to the line/leader combos, Attractors and basically how to use them and when. I am not familiar at all with this type of set up. All I was tough growing up was to drag a ball on the clay bottom with a "Lake Troll/cow bell with a spoon or rapala behind it.

Thanks.

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Shawn here is a pic of my favorite laker set up , this is and 8 " dodger with 30 lb floro carbon leader 23" long with a spin-n-glow and flie combo. run this 20 foot behind the ball, bounce the ball on the bottom. Hope this helps Jimmy

0628122104a_509116.jpg

as for copper set ups get a reel of good size,and a rod with large eyes they make some very affordable copper rods out there ,for a reel an okuma cv 55 will work fine , put mono backer on it 30 lb, then copper ,i run 45 lb copper,on the end of that run 30 foot of floro carbon leader 20lb. always run all the copper out and put your planer board on the mono, try to always put the board in the same spot so you can watch for any wear in the clip area. copper lengths run different depths 300 copper runs 60 to 70 down 250 runs 50 to 60 150 runs around 35 to 45 down.

in my opinion a wire dipsey is a great set up , if you runa mag dipsey you can easily get it down 80 to 100 foot .you will need a roller rod for this tho.

hope this will help. jimmy if you want to call me with questions please by all meens do so ,i love to talk fishing. my number is 616-240-7017

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Jimmy, Thanks for the picture ! Is there a certain size for the spin n glo I should know for ordering ? Do you have to attach the fly yourself or does it come pre rigged from the supplier ? Any opinion where I should order some from ? If you make them yourself would you mind giving me a tutorial on how to make one of these ?

Many thanks.

Shawn

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For your initial rod and reel investment I would look into Convector reels in the 30 and 45 size depending on what you plan to spool on them. Great reels that last a while and pretty cheap for how long they last. One thing I would add is that when you store your gear, back the drags off all the way or else Okuma's can get sticky. TDR rods are a cheaper rod that stands up to alot of abuse as well.

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you really have to admit these guys are really good about sharing there knowledge. but i have never used copper or lead core or wire on my dipsy.

but another way to get your divers deeper is to go with the lite bite slide diver, then get the assy pack that has the large ring and the 4 oz weight. ust the large ring and switch out the stock weight with the 4 oz weight and that will get you alot deeper alot faster than the stock weight and small ring. and i have no problem fishing 50 to 60 ft with the stock weight and small ring. and thats on a 4 setting out to the side. on a 1 or 2 setting with the 4 oz weight and the large ring i would say you can get very deep.

they do have a dive chart with them but i think it is for the stock weight and no ring. the best way i have found to get my dive curve is just set up the diver the way you plan to use it, then go out to 50' of water and slowly let it out until you start bumping bottom. then devide your depth by how many 10' sections of line you let out to reach bottom. say it takes 130' of line out to get 50 ft down, then just devide 50x13, that would give you 3.8' for every 10' of line you let out. if it took 135' to get down 50' then just devide 50x13.5. that would be 3.7 ft for every 10' of line out.

so say you get down 50' with 130' of line out which gives you 3.8'. and say you want to run 90' down. then just devide 90x3.8 that would give you 23.6 times 10' or roughly 236' of line out would be 90 ft down. but im sure with the big ring and 4 oz weight it would be alittle steeper than what i just did. the no# i just gave you would be close on a 2 setting with 50 lb braid and the stock weight and small ring. but i really just pulled these no# out of my head. you would need to go out on the lake to 50' of water to get the right no#.

the only no# i can be sure of right now without my chart is on the 4 setting with 65 lb braid at 2 mph. then at 50 ft down it took 185' out which gave me 18.5 times 10' which gave me a 2.7 dive curve. so if i wanted to run 60 ft down i would just devide 60x2.7 which would be 22.2 times 10', that would put me close to 59.94 ft down.

i really hope me trying to teach you a good way to get your dive curve for divers hasnt just confused you. if it has and you want to discuss it some more just pm me, and we can get together on the phone or something.

another nice thing about the lite bite slide diver you can set your leads as far behind the diver as you want. or you can just use it like a standard diver. its up to you. and you have the 2 tensions you can set on these divers. if theres any way i can help you feel free to pm me. i fish the central basin of lake erie, i run 3 divers per side and 1 outrigger and 1 downrigger per side. i do have a double planerboard mast but havent gotten it installed on my boat yet. i plan to do that this spring.

sherman

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Shawn ,here is the web site i orders from its http://www.yakimabait.com/

I order the number 4s and number 6s ,i like lime green, glow lime green, and clown colors the flie is a rapture glow dude i think ,just trim it down about half the length with 2 beads behind it And one in front.When you get the spin-n-glows trim the holes so they are smooth so they spin freely. jimmy

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Great tips. I ordered a bunch of spin n glos and some flies. Does anyone think I would have a problem with a 13# pancake weight for my Big Jon captain pak ? Its rated for 12# but The pancake type I found comes in either 10# or 13# Any ideas ??

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