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Basic Downrigging

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Michigan Fishing Tips Basic Downrigging

   Downrigging is a method of trolling that uses a manually powered or electric winch and weight (cannonball) to carry your fishing line and lure to a specific depth, where feeding fish are to be found. While downrigging is commonly thought of as a deep water fishing technique, it is more accurately understood as a method of "controlled depth fishing".

   By using downriggers to control the depth of your lure presentation, you can place your lures at any depth from just below the surface to 200 feet deep and keep them running consistently at that depth. So once you've determined which depth the fish are feeding at, you can keep your lures in that "feeding zone".

Downrigging procedures are very straight forward and easy to follow:
   First; After bringing your boat to trolling speed, let your lure out to the desired distance behind the boat.
   Second; Place the fishing line into the line release, which is designed to let go of the line when a fish strikes your lure. The line release is commonly located on or just above the cannonball.
   Third; Lower the cannonball to the depth that will keep your lure in the "feeding zone". Next, set the clicker and drag on your fishing reel and place your rod in the rod holder.

   There are many variations of lure presentations that can be used when downrigging. One very useful technique is to tie a Mini Diver Disk approximately four feet ahead of you lure. Let your line out until the diver disk is running about 30 feet deep. Then place your fishing line into the line release and lower the cannonball to a depth about 30 feet above the "feeding zone". This technique will allow you to fish right on the bottom, while keeping the cannonball 30 feet above the bottom and eliminate having to constantly adjust your cannonball depth.

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