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Not really sure I'm answering your question but here goes :-)

I rarely have my downrigger line set with less than 20' of line from the release to the lure. As the downrigger is set deeper the distance to the lure can be set shorter -- further from the boat fish are less spooked by the boat. The rule I use is to subtract the depth of the downrigger ball from 100 and that is my "stretch" to the lure but a minimum of 20'. So, if the downrigger is at 40' then my lure is 60' back (100-40=60). If the rigger is at 89 or deeper the lure would be 20' back (100-80=20).

Rules are made to be broken though and this one is a very loose rule. Prime example is with sliders. I usually have 8' fixed sliders on my riggers set 10 to 20' above the ball. If the rigger is set at 40' then the main lure would be back 60' but then the slider at 30' would only be 8' back... and will get plenty of hits.

It is up in the air as to how deep on the main line that free sliders will run. General thought is 1/2 to 2/3 of the way down to the rigger ball/release on the bellow in the line. When I'm using a free slider I NEVER put the main lure with more than 20' of stretch off the ball. When a fish hits a free slider and pops the release there is very little pressure on the fish until the slider "slides" all of the way to the main lure. The further the main lure is off the ball, the longer it takes to make up this slack line and get a good solid connection to the fish. If my rigger is set shallower than 80', the 20' stretch "breaks" the 100 "rule".

I also try to listen to what the fish are telling me by watching the graph and by what presentations are working. If fish on the graph are showing up as nice even, long arches that tells me they are probably not extremely active compared to when you see half arches or arches that are more like streaks covering 10-30' vertically on the graph. If I see active fish I will shorten up the stretch as this will give more action to the lures. More neutral long arch fish will make me lengthen the leads.

If I'm getting fish on aggressive presentations such as divers then I also shorten the leads on the riggers. Conversely if it is only the long line leadcore and/or coppers getting hits, then I lengthen the stretch off the ball.

Flasher to lure/bait (end of loop to nose of lure) is generally 3x the length of the attractor -- Herring Dodgers, Bechold Fish Catchers, Hot Spots, Spin Doctors. With meat rigs though, I go longer with 44 to 60" behind an 11" flasher being typical.

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