A downrigger is a large spool containing heavy stainless steel multi-strand cable combined with an arm that extends over the water. Downriggers come in two basic types: hand-crank or electric motor for retrieving the wire. The wire has a heavy snap affixed to the end which to clip a cannon ball – commonly eight to twelve pounds. Lastly, there is a line clip attached to the cable just above the cannonball.
The downrigger fisherman first lets a lure or bait out behind the boat. He then puts his line into the clip, lowers the cannon ball to the preferred depth, and trolls along. When a fish strikes the lure, it hooks itself and pops the line free of downrigger release, allowing our angler to fight his quarry unencumbered by sinkers, planers, or the like. Downriggers allow you to troll at controlled depths which is a very efficient strategy. Because the downrigger carries the weight – you can crank your fish in on light tackle which makes the catching fun.
So, why doesn’t Angling Unlimited use downriggers? Simple – we think they disconnect the angler from what many experienced anglers consider the essence of the sport: presenting your bait, feeling the bite, and hooking your fish. That’s why we use hands-on methods. We know mooching is more effective than trolling 9 days out of 10. We catch fish on very sporting gear and sliding sinkers that don’t get in the way of the fight.
When picking a fishing guide or lodge, ask yourself: “Do I want to go all the way to Alaska to watch my captain set the gear, pick the depth, and drive around the ocean while I sit in a chair, awaiting my turn while watching a bent over rod in clipped into a downrigger? Is cranking a fish in all this experience is about? Or, do you want to fish actively – work you bait through the water column, feel the bite, hook the fish, and fight it. At the end of the day would you like to say you caught a fish or merely cranked one in?