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Downrigging: What It Is And Why You Should Do It

Why Downrigging Rules.

If you’ve spent much time in the fishing boat lately, chances are you have familiarized yourself with the basic strategies of downrigging. The concept is simple: a downrigger – or a weight and winch contraption attached to your boat – allows you to easily control and maintain the depth of your fishing lures. The days of repeatedly casting your line and trying to find the depth at which fish are biting are over. With downrigging, you can efficiently locate the feeding sweet spot and leave your lures hanging there while you sit back, relax and enjoy the company of friends and family. As soon as the fish bites, your line will release from the weight so that you can reel in your spoils.

Why Blowback…Blows

So now that you know why downrigging is an essential fishing practice, how can you master it (and catch more fish in the process)? One of the most important steps to becoming a great downrigging fisher is to familiarize yourself with the concept of blowback – or the angle at which your downrigger ball tracks while you are trolling for an optimal fishing spot. As you troll, moving forward in the water and adjusting the depth of your down rigging ball, you will likely be keeping an eye on your fishing radar to see the depth at which fish are swimming, feeding and biting.

While your first instinct may be to drop the down rigger to precisely the depth noted on your radar, doing so will not necessarily ensure good results. This is because of blowback. The combination of boat movement and water pressure means that your down rigging ball is dragging at an angle behind your boat. In other words, a ball under the forces of blowback is not actually reaching the depths indicated on your down rigging read-out – in fact, it could be as much as 25 feet above the feeding zone. And if the ball is that far from the fish, you can bet your boat and your fishing rods that nothing is going to give your lures so much as a second glance.

How To Minimize Blowback

Different fishermen like to combat blowback in different ways. Some purchase heavier down rigging weights to deal with blowback water pressure. Others slow their boats down so that the trolling movement isn’t causing so much force. However, keep in mind that a decrease in speed can also result in fewer interested fish. Finally, others use thinner fishing line to diminish the drag on the lure and the down rigging cable, leading to less blowback and more business from the fish.

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Downrigging: What It Is And Why You Should Do It