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How many downriggers


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For over 40 years we have always run 4 to 5 riggers on our boats. They are still the best presentation for fishing. The focus on long lines, 450' and more is fine if all you want is a fish in the box. But the work bring in fish on 300 to 450 feet of copper line is really not much fun. If your boat has an 8' transom you can run 4 riggers easily and not crowd the rest of your presentation. On our 24' John almond we were able to run 4 riggers, 8 long lines and 4 dipsy divers. The key is keeping track of where you are and running the deep to shallow V presentation. I still catch as many fish on riggers as I did in the 1970's and 1980's. Its a lot more fun bring in a 10# steelhead of a 6# coho on a rigger presentation than on a long line. We still fun short lead cores for Steelhead but I no longer rely on 450 copper or longer at all. No one wants to retrieve them even with a fish on.

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Your choice of how many riggers to run at any given time of year should depend on what predominant depths the fish are being caught at, and what species of fish you are targeting. Obviously, if you were targeting steelies, out deep, 35' and shallower, you don't need as many deep rigger presentations to offer. Conversely, if you are targeting big kings 80'-135' down, then you want the 4 riggers. Otherwise, like Mike said, you can run those 500' braids/coppers and see how many crewman want to reel it in, lol. I know several boats that keep the extra riggers stored below, ready to put into action if the need arises, esp. if they have the mounts in the boat gunnels already.

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I have four on my boat,sometimes I only use 3 and the fourth gets used for my probe.but I agree that a rigger rod is by far the most fun to catch a big fish on.

But the number of down riggers I use at one time almost always depends on how many people are on the boat,and size of the boat is going to dictate how many people can fish from it. Just my opinion if any of it makes sense to you.good luck

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your choice of how many riggers to run at any given time of year should depend on what predominant depths the fish are being caught at, and what species of fish you are targeting. Obviously, if you were targeting steelies, out deep, 35' and shallower, you don't need as many deep rigger presentations to offer. Conversely, if you are targeting big kings 80'-135' down, then you want the 4 riggers. Otherwise, like mike said, you can run those 500' braids/coppers and see how many crewman want to reel it in, lol. I know several boats that keep the extra riggers stored below, ready to put into action if the need arises, esp. If they have the mounts in the boat gunnels already.

thats me i can run up to 6 riggers.

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All above is good info. I personally run four riggers on both of my boats. If I was you I would install the four riggers you already have. Not for my personal preference but because of the versatility. If you have the four on your boat you have the ability to run what you want on any given day. Some days you might want to run three or four and you can. On another day you may want to run three and have one fail for one reason or another (electrical issues or broken cable, etc.) ant you still have the ability to run three and not two if you only had installed three.

I had a cable break one trip and was down to three riggers. It was a tough bite and I was only getting hits with all riggers set five feet from one another and all mupped up, creating a small school of fish. The presentation was not working with two riggers and would only get hits when the third one was down there.

I have always gone with the most I could afford. I can always use less, but I can not use what is not there.

Good luck out there and enjoy the fishing.

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nothing beats a big king on a rigger. im in process of rigging my boat and am going with 4 with room in middle 4 a 5th. guys on lake of the woods are running 6 on there 27 ft sportcrafts but there tickin bottom on all of them ( shad raps) so not such a mess.

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I have four when the long lines are doing better I run two or three riggers. When the bite changes I get all four down. One weekend this past summer when everyone was complaining about no fish we came in with 14 one day and 11 the next. just ran four riggers and four divers with most of the fish coming on the riggers. I say put em on and if you need them then you have them available.

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Here's another thing to consider. If you are targeting the Lake Trout on bottom, why not run the 4-6 riggers at 80'-90' down/bottom, peanuts, & max. out on them, hopefully, then remove the 2-3 riggers for the outside/deep fish you want to target later after the first bite inside has concluded? This way, you have done the best you can to maximize on the bite inside, and now, outside after moving out to deeper water. The fishing Science will continue.

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I have 4 and sometimes remove 2 or just use one with just the FishHawkl probe and no rod. When fish are deep it is the most effective presentation to me. I refuse to put out a line more than 300' behind the boat as it just isn't fun to reel in heavy lines that are longer (actually 300' of copper or leadcore isn't too much fun either). If you only have 2 when the fish are deep (90'+) I think you are really are limiting your presentation options.

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I have 4, took one off and only fish with 3. I can fish with 4, but with the kicker motor it just seems to clog up the back of the boat. I like to have a nice clear chute to net a fish in. Since taking 1 off my boat I can remember a time when I wished I had the 4th rigger on, however, I bet at some point in time there would be an advantage to #4, as mentioned earlier, mostly when the bite is VERY DEEP!.

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I went from 4 down to 2 several years ago I don't miss them at all. However it really depends on how you fish. I will not combat fish so the extra riggers were nearly always in the way. If my boat was setup different I would run 3 but I have no place for a center rigger so I leave it open. If I want another deep rod I put a torpedo diver on my braid rod and send it down the shoot can get it down 90ft pretty easy. It is also easy to move to net a fish. By mid August i am chasing steel out deep so long lines are my bread and butter.

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if I already had the 2 extra riggers I would mount them and let the fish tell me what to use.

I am a firm believer that having it and not needing it is much better than needing it and not having it. as long as you have some place to store them or if there not really in your way I would mount them and have them ready to go.

I fished the central basin in a 28' sea ray with a 10' beam. and it just got to be to much trouble trailering it 700 miles round trip. but I had 4 big jon pro tournaments with the slide mounts so I could remove them in seconds. but when I quit using it and started using my 21' boat with a narrow bean I just mounted 2 of the riggers on the smaller boat. just didn't have room for 4, and it was rare that we used more than 2 riggers. so I sold 2 of my riggers but if I was still using the bigger boat I would have 4 riggers on it.

sherman

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  • 3 weeks later...

I run 2 riggers, but I have a small boat. I catch a lot of fish on the riggers by far. My spread usually consists of (2) riggers, (2) dipsys, and (2) or (1) of each, mix of copper and or lead core. For my size boat, that works out great. If I take 2 other anglers with me, I'll add a hi-diver on each side.

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I ran 2 manuals on my smaller boat for years and never felt I needed more. Almost always ran a 6 rod spread with 2 planers, 2 divers and 2 riggers. I run sliders on those most times but sometimes I'd pull those, lengthen the leads out and put a stacker rod out maybe 20 feet back. Caught a lot of fish on those.

But now that I'm rigging my larger boat where I might possibly be able to get a 12 line or so spread out, I'm replacing my 2 manuals with 3 electrics. Dang those sure are nice. Getting too old to crank.

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I have a smaller boat and only have room for 2. But my buddy had 4 on his boat for a long time a couple yrs ago when making some upgrades he removed 2 in center ( all 4 direct mounted) and placed a 4' piece of track in the center and runs 3 now most of the time but only takes a minute to slide it over and add the 4th back in.

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I used to have 4 on the boat, but with all the other delivery options available today, the out downs never got used and really were just in the way, so I took them off and added more rod holders on the gunwales. Can't honestly say I've ever missed the two I took off.

Tim

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