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speckchaser

downrigger to spoon length?

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I have been running my all my plugs and spoons between 60 to 80 ft behind my downriggers, is this distance correct, or should distance back be 100+?? Please help, I have been running the baits and plugs recommended by the tackle shops and matching the depth, etc. 7 trips out of Frankfort and holding close to the pack without a single fish on the line muchless in the box. I maybe new to the big water but ...?

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In my opinion that is a bit much. I might stretch it out on a slow day but 9 times out of 10 I run them 15-30ft behind the ball.

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Thanks for the reply. I'ge been "informed" that because the riggers are directly behind and below the boat I need to get my rigs back away from the motor noise.

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Speckchaser;

I don't think it's wrong to run long leads. I've run 100' drop back for many years but;

the longer the lead the less consistent the speed of the bait especially in waves of 2'~4'or larger. Your bait will speed up then down. Sometimes that erratic action can trigger a strike but I like a consistent action so I now run 30'~ 40' leads.

You not getting any hits is more likely caused by the wrong depth of water and depth of your cannonball (as a combination) or speed of the bait. Spoons can be run a little faster than plugs; up to 3.4 mph, body baits I run a little slower 2.5 ~ 3.0 mph.

I'm in Manistee fishing now and the best depth for me during the past 4 days has been 100' ~ 160' of water with the downriggers running at 65' to 90' down. Frankfort shouldn't be that different. Didn't fish today but I filled out yesterday and didn't set lines until 9:30 in the morning and was back to the dock at 1 PM.

If the days you were out fishing w/o a hit, included last Mon & Wed. you're not alone. During those days of fishing only had 1 fish that broke our line. Tough day of fishing for sure.

One last thing. I don't fish by the pack. Get away. Try by the lighthouse North of the pier. Run the depths that I mentioned earlier. You should do ok.

Good luck;

Kahuner

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Early in the morning and close to dark 15-30 is a good length once the suns up 50-100 usually work better.Remember in low light conditions the noise from the ball works as a attractor.

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Thanks Kahuner. I've been running plugs and spoons mixed off 4 d-riggers @ 2.3-2.8 average, 100-180 tow, depthh of baits staggered 5ft intervals 60-90ft down. Cant buy a fish although I have really increased the size of my taclebox an all lures have been washed real well in lake Michigan water LOL.

I will try your suggestions this weekend and try out of Manistee as its closer to my camp in Wellston.

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I agree withekbelt. I ussually have my baits about 20 ft back depending on the lure. J-plugs i would have them closer 15-20 ft. in my opinion it puts off a better movement in the water and ive caught more fish being closer to the boat

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TThanks to everyone for the help and advice. I will keep pushing on an somethings going to work. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. Right?

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I agree with the advice to keep a short lead on your DR presentations unless you go with a SWR set up. Too long of a lead does not allow your presentation to run correctly.

However a Secret Weapon Rig (SWR) is usually 2-3 colors of leadcore + a mono leader that allows you to run your presentation back further and the leadcore stabilizes the presentation to allow it to work correctly.

I like to run one two color SWR on one down rigger and one three color SWR on the other down rigger just to put some separation between them.

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Try one rigger/spoon close to the ball, like 6-8ft especially in the dark/dusk. I usually shorten my leads if I start getting a lot of rips on the dipsy's since I feel like that is the most aggressive presentation. I have not tore the fish up this year on spoons myself, I'm running half SD's/Flys and the other half Kingfishers/Cut bait. I'm switching out to MS spoons or an Ace Hi plugs later in the day on the riggers.

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I've always gone by the "rule of 100". If if have your rigger ball 50' down, put the lure 50' back. 30' down; lure 70' back. (50 + 50 = 100; 30 + 70= 100).

I think you get the idea...

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speckchaser i would ask the guys catching them how far back they are running whatever baits and approx speed. hang in there because when the blind squrile finds a nut he finds number 2 and 3 and...

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I've always gone by the "rule of 100". If if have your rigger ball 50' down, put the lure 50' back. 30' down; lure 70' back. (50 + 50 = 100; 30 + 70= 100).

I think you get the idea...

Good to get a guy started but we still fish riggers down past 100, and if I'm fishing that deep, I don't have anything else near it so I say stretch it out and add stealth to it- plus I don't want anything that isn't at least 50' down more than 50' back ie nothing 30' down with 70' stretch..........way too much potential for tangles with 10 oz or long wire divers.

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try some shorter leads. I have had good luck with leads as short as 9 or 10 ft off the balls. I just feel it gives the spoons and plugs a better action in close. now there are times when longer leads are needed but don't be afraid to try some short leads.

sherman

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Sherman and Corey K have some good ideas (not that others don't ... what works for some won't work for all)....but I would try to shorten them up significantly. 50' behind our boat is waaaaay long...I typically run them 10-20 ft, and when running stackers/sliders will run them 8-10ft because I don't want to have to catch up to 100' of line, and I think the two lures running close to eachother looks like a school of bait.

Anyway, 8-10' - give it a try with spoons - I think you'll like it.

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I have been running spoons about the same as my dodgers, 4 to 6 feet back, just think about how many hits you get on sliders that are only 4 to 6 feet back. Also how long is your leader on your dipseys? We tend to over think things a bit. You have to have the bait in the zone that the active fish are in and speed should be any where from 2 to 3.5 mph depending on how many and what type of other baits you are running. Plugs don't like much over 2.5 mph, Dodgers like slower yet, Spin docs can run up to 3.5. Spoons I run as high as 4 mph when fishing for Steel in the summer on top.

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You also mentioned you're running all spoons and plugs. You might think about adding a flasher/fly to your program. It may not take hits, but might help draw fish in to your spread.

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Agree with Hook...  ☝️☝️

4 days and no fish on Plugs/Spoons/Meat out of Pentwater...  everything they hit had a 11" paddle on green or white flies...  it changes, but the last few days for us have been paddles/flashers and we've tried to get the spoons/plugs and meat to work... it wasn't like we put them away back in the box. 

As for the advice on length behind the ball.... like others say, depends on time of day and what's being pulled.  I also like a paddle on a rigger as I think it draws to the middle of the spread and then the tasty critters can swim off and see the rest of our fluttering hooked morsels.

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I'll run j plugs and jointed rapalas up to 5 mph for steel.

I run flashers 15-20' from the ball, spoons usually 25-50'.  I tend to only run two riggers.  More isn't better.

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