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I've read two "how-to"s on the web about downrigger fishing and they both mention that you shouldn't set your bait any further than 15 feet behind the cannonball as a rule of thumb. Is there any truth to that? I've always set it about 20-35 back and have had mixed results. This weekend I tried 10 and 15 back and didn't even get a release.

PF
 

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I think distance behind the ball is a variable thing, like most things in salmon fishing. In clear water, I've heard of people running 50-75 feet behind the ball, in dirty water as little as 3-5 feet. Like using dipsy's, experiment with the distance, run one close and one further out and change until you find what the fish want, this may also change from day to day. :dizzy:
 

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An old rule of thumb is the "100 foot" rule for spoons/plugs off of riggers.

60' down, 40' lead off the ball. 90' down, 10' off the ball. I think it was either Yonker or Steinfishki that posted the general rule a couple years back.

This becomes even more important in clear water. Last year at Salmonarama in Racine, we were fishing 40-70fow all week...and didn't take a sniff on spoons off riggers set any closer than 30-50' to the ball. Stretched 'em out and we took fish throughout the day.

I've seen fish hit spoons off 5' leads, but we were fishing 95' down.

If you are running dodgers/flashers and flies off your riggers, you'll want to keep them at 10-15' off the ball to avoid tangles with other lines. Not sure why this works as compared to spoons in shallower water...but it does.


Hope that helps.
 

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The further back your lead, the slower the spoon's "actual" Speed. This is how you accomplish running different speed-sensitive baits. You always heard you couldn't run dodgers with spoons because of the speed, but you can. I can run the boat at 2.8 with spoons 10-15 off the ball looking good and have 100' leads for the dodgers. This would slow them down to the speed they needed to be to run properly.
 

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In the Spring I'll run 30-60 ft behind the ball. In late Summer I seldom run anything more than 15 ft.:)
 

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SalmonBum said:
The further back your lead, the slower the spoon's "actual" Speed. This is how you accomplish running different speed-sensitive baits. You always heard you couldn't run dodgers with spoons because of the speed, but you can. I can run the boat at 2.8 with spoons 10-15 off the ball looking good and have 100' leads for the dodgers. This would slow them down to the speed they needed to be to run properly.
Speed is speed, the length back from the ball makes no difference on speed.
 

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Fishous said:
Speed is speed, the length back from the ball makes no difference on speed.

Yes it does........But what do I know.
 

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Speed is speed, but the effect on a spoon is like the difference between a fast and slow troll. The longer line softens the action of a lure at any speed. A shorter line will cause the lure to pull harder and give it a bit more snap. Think about this dynamic when choosing the length of dipsy and core leaders too.
 

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I agree with Tim and Salmonbum here...and will add that the make of the spoon has a lot to do with the lead from the ball as well. Some blanks are heavy, some are light. (i.e. Fishlander vs. Northport)

BFG
 

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Fishous said:
Speed is speed, the length back from the ball makes no difference on speed.
What he is saying is the action will be effected. A dodger with a 5' lead off the ball at 2.8 will whip and slash and be all irratic and crazy, but the same setup with 100' of lead will be a much slower, less darty, more "correct" action for that bait.

That said, I think the actual speed the bait is moving through the water would actually be slower as well. The bait would cover the same surface area(i.e SOG would remain constant), but the actual speed that the bait is darting and whipping with the short lead, I believe, would be faster than the slower rolling and dodging with the longer lead.. You have to think of speed in the water as 3D, not just horizantal area covered... A fish is chasing that bait forward, backward, side to side, and up and down..
 
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