Down Rigging Fishing Made Easy

A downrigger is a fishing tool that allows anglers to control the depth at which fishing lines and lures are presented in deep water.

“Downrigging” is a fishing technique commonly used in deep water to target species found at specific depths. 

It involves using a downrigger and specialized equipment to deploy fishing lines at controlled depths.

Down rigging fishing

Here’s how down rigging typically works:

Downrigger Setup: A downrigger consists of a horizontal rod or arm attached to a base that can be mounted on the side of a boat.

 A heavy weight, usually a lead ball or weight, is attached to a cable that runs down from the downrigger arm.

 The fishing line is attached to a release mechanism on the cable.

Attaching Lures: Anglers attach fishing lures or baited hooks to the fishing lines. The type of lure or bait used depends on the species being targeted.

Deploying the Downrigger: The weighted cable is lowered into the water while the boat moves slowly. The angler controls the depth at which the line will be fished by adjusting the depth of the weight on the cable.

 The downrigger arm can also be adjusted to control the spread of the fishing lines.

Releasing the Line: The fishing line is released from the downrigger using the release mechanism once the desired depth is reached. 

The line with the attached lure or bait trails behind the boat at the specified depth.

Trolling: The boat is driven at a slow speed called trolling. 

The boat’s motion causes the lures or baits to move through the water at the desired depth, enticing fish to strike.

Detecting Strikes and Reeling: The angler feels the tug on the fishing line when a fish strikes the lure or bait.

 They then reel the fish while keeping tension on the line to ensure the hook is properly set.

Resetting and Repeating: After catching a fish or if no bites occur, the angler can retrieve the fishing line, reset the downrigger, and deploy it again at a different depth or location.

Down rigging is particularly effective for targeting fish that dwell at specific depths, such as lake trout, salmon, walleye, and other deep-water species. 

It allows anglers to control the depth of their lines precisely, increasing their chances of success in deep waters.

 It’s important to familiarize yourself with local fishing regulations and guidelines before using downrigging equipment, as regulations may vary depending on your fishing area.

Best Fishing Downriggers

Here are a few well-regarded downrigger brands and models:

  1. Cannon Downriggers
  2. Scotty Downriggers
  3. Big Jon Sports Downriggers
  4. Walker Downriggers
  5. Penn Fathom-Master Downriggers

Cannon Downriggers

Cannon has been a prominent name in downrigging for many years. Their fishing downriggers are known for their durability, reliability, and innovative features.

Models like the Cannon Magnum 10 STX and Cannon Uni-Troll 10 STX are widely used by anglers. Here are some best Cannon downriggers:

  1. Cannon Magnum 10 STX Downrigger
  2. Cannon Uni-Troll 10 STX Downrigger
  3. Cannon Digi-Troll 10 TS Downrigger
  4. Cannon Lake-Troll Manual Downrigger
  5. Cannon Mini-Troll Manual Downrigger

Cannon Magnum 10 STX Downrigger

Cannon Magnum 10 STX Downrigger

The Cannon Magnum 10 STX Downrigger is a highly efficient, feature-packed tool designed to elevate your fishing experience.

From its smart, automated functions to its durable construction, this downrigger boasts a range of capabilities that cater to both convenience and precision.

One standout feature is the Auto Up function, which simplifies retrieval.

With a flip of the up/down switch, the Magnum 10 STX Downrigger automatically retrieves your weight, halting at the water line.

This not only saves time but also eliminates the hassle of manual reeling.

The three-digit depth counter is user-friendly, offering easy-to-read information on your weight’s location.

This knowledge is invaluable for maintaining optimal fishing depths and maximizing your chances of success.

The Short-Stop feature addresses common issues by automatically stopping the weight at the waterline during retrieval.

This ingenious design reduces cable strain, prevents weight impact on the boom end, and safeguards your vessel from potential damage.

A significant innovation is the Positive Ion Control (PIC) technology, which counteracts the fish-repelling negative energy field created by your boat’s electronics.

By neutralizing this energy, the Magnum 10 STX Downrigger encourages fish to stay closer to your line, enhancing your catch potential.

A notable advantage is the rapid retrieval rate, boasting an impressive 250 feet-per-minute weight retrieval speed. This not only saves time but also keeps you fishing efficiently.

The stainless steel telescopic boom offers an adjustable range from 24″ to 53″, providing flexibility in reaching the desired fishing depth.

Including a composite spool, pre-spooled with 250′ of 150 lb stainless steel cable, reflects the downrigger’s durability and readiness for action.

The dual-axis rod holder is a practical addition, and the removable side plate grants easy access to the spool for line switching, adjustments, and addressing snags.

Cannon Uni-Troll 10 STX Downrigger

Cannon Uni-Troll 10 STX Downrigger

The Cannon Uni-Troll Manual Downriggers are reliable tools designed to enhance your angling experience with their user-friendly features and sturdy construction.

From their efficient retrieval speed to their innovative clutch deploy mechanism, these downriggers offer a blend of convenience and control that cater to novice and seasoned anglers.

The remarkable 2:1 retrieval speed significantly reduces the effort required to lift lines from the water, ensuring swift and hassle-free retrieval.

This time-saving feature allows you to focus more on fishing and less on the rigors of line retrieval.

The One-Hand Clutch Deploy feature is a standout addition, offering precise and effortless positioning of your baits.

With full control at your fingertips, you can easily adjust your presentation, making it ideal for targeting specific depths or fishing conditions.

The Stainless Steel Telescopic Boom is a practical innovation that extends from 24″ to 53″, catering to various fishing depths.

The enclosed boom end prevents lines from jumping during the deployment or retrieval of weights, ensuring a smooth and efficient operation.

Including a Dual Axis Rod Holder enhances the downrigger’s versatility by providing a rear mount rod holder, allowing you to manage multiple lines efficiently.

The package comes with essential components such as the Universal Mounting Base and Low-Profile Swivel Base, ensuring straightforward setup and compatibility with different fishing setups.

The line terminator and Uni-line releases are thoughtful inclusions contribute to a seamless fishing experience.

The ergonomic crank handle further underscores the user-friendly design, ensuring comfort during extended use.

Cannon Digi-Troll 10 TS Downrigger

Cannon Digi-Troll 10 TS Downrigger

Cannon Digi-Troll 10 Downrigger is a powerhouse of features designed to elevate your fishing game.

With a substantial 20-lb weight capacity and an impressive 250 ft per minute retrieval rate, this downrigger is poised to handle challenging conditions and ensure efficient line retrieval.

The LCD control screen serves as the command center for your angling experience. From this screen, you can effortlessly manipulate your fishing setup.

Raise or lower the weight easily, program-specific line lengths for precision, and fine-tune the revolutionary Positive Ion Control technology for enhanced fishing success.

Unlock a world of advanced functionalities with depth cycling, bottom tracking, preset depths, adjustable retrieval speeds, soft stop mechanics, automatic up features, and waterline zero calibration.

These features empower you to tailor your approach to water conditions, species behavior, and personal preferences.

The Stainless Steel Telescopic Boom epitomizes versatility by extending from 24″ to 53″, accommodating diverse fishing depths.

Designed from durable stainless steel, this boom ensures longevity and robust performance.

The comprehensive package includes 2 line releases, catering to anglers managing multiple lines easily.

Furthermore, 400 feet of 150-lb test stainless steel cable underscores the downrigger’s preparedness for intense angling scenarios.

Cannon Lake-Troll Manual Downrigger

Cannon Lake-Troll Manual Downrigger

The Swivel-Head Dial Depth Counter is a user-friendly addition that provides real-time information on the location of your weights.

Positioned conveniently at the end of the boom, this depth counter ensures you always have a clear understanding of your fishing depths, aiding in optimizing your presentation.

Benefit from a 1:1 Retrieval Rate, simplifying bringing lines out of the water.

This efficient retrieval rate adds to the downrigger’s ease of use, allowing you to focus on the fishing experience.

The Composite Boom, measuring 18″, combines durability and lightweight construction, making it a reliable extension for your fishing setup.

The Composite Spool comes pre-spooled with 100′ of 135 lb stainless steel cable, ensuring you’re ready for action upon setup.

Including a Tube Style, Rod Holder adds to the downrigger’s practicality, catering to effective line management.

The comprehensive package includes essential components such as the Tab Lock Mounting Base, line terminator, Uni-line releases, and a manual crank handle.

These inclusions contribute to the overall convenience of setting up and using the downrigger.

Cannon Mini-Troll Manual Downrigger

Cannon Mini-Troll Manual Downrigger

The Mini-Troll boasts a compact design, making it perfect for utilization on various watercraft such as pontoon boats, canoes, johnboats, bass boats, and smaller fishing vessels.

Equipped with a horizontal reel/brake, it has 100 percent stainless steel cable and a swivel-head depth counter.

This downrigger is also supported by a limited lifetime warranty, ensuring its durability and quality.

With its built-in 2-1/2-inch C-clamp base, the Mini-Troll ensures stability during operation.

Pre-spooled with 100 feet of 120-pound-test stainless steel cable, it can handle weights up to 4 pounds.

Its construction is resistant to the corrosive effects of saltwater, making it suitable for various fishing environments.

An optional accessory kit is available (sold separately) for those seeking additional functionality.

This kit includes a rod holder, weight, and line release, enhancing the versatility and effectiveness of the Mini-Troll downrigger.

When choosing a Cannon downrigger, consider factors such as the type of fishing you plan to do, your budget, and the features that are most important to you. 

Scotty Downriggers

Scotty downriggers are also highly regarded for their quality and performance.

The Scotty 1101 Depthpower and Scotty 2106 High-Performance Electric Downrigger are popular choices. Here are some best Scotty downriggers

  1. Scotty Depthpower Electric Downrigger 
  2. Scotty High-Performance Electric Downrigger
  3. Scotty Manual Downriggers
  4. Scotty Laketroller Manual Downrigger 
  5. Scotty Strongarm Manual Downrigger  

Scotty Depthpower Electric Downrigger

Scotty Depthpower Electric Downrigger 

The Depthpower series includes electric downriggers known for their durability and reliability. 

They feature sturdy construction, adjustable rod holders, and a versatile swivel base. 

The electric models offer smooth and controlled weight and fishing line retrieval.

From its modest origins, Scotty Manufacturing has undergone a transformative journey, giving rise to an extensive array of products bearing the Scotty brand.

These products span diverse sectors, including fishing, marine, outdoor, and firefighting industries, and are distributed globally.

Throughout this evolution, “Scotty” has become synonymous with one vital attribute: product excellence.

A steadfast dedication to upholding quality, equitable pricing, and unparalleled customer service has established Scotty as a beacon of reliability and contentment for patrons worldwide.

Within this collection, you will discover various Scotty products that align seamlessly with your fishing and boating requisites.

Our offerings encompass an impressive spectrum, ranging from downriggers and rod holders to essential safety gear for your vessel.

Scotty High-Performance Electric Downrigger 

Scotty High-Performance Electric Downrigger 

Experience the pinnacle of performance with our High-Performance Downriggers.

These innovative new designs have illuminated digital counters, unparalleled pulling power, an adjustable Rod Master II Rod Holder, and a clutch brake boasting the industry’s most extensive braking surface.

This configuration enables lightning-fast speeds that set new standards.

The High-Performance series is designed for anglers who want advanced features and capabilities. 

These fishing downriggers include features like a digital depth counter, adjustable retrieve rate, and more precise depth control. 

They also have an illuminated digital screen for easy reading in various lighting conditions.

Scotty Manual Downriggers

Scotty Manual Downriggers

Scotty #1050 Depthmaster Manual Downrigger boasts a 23-Inch long stainless steel boom with a diameter of 3/4 inches.

Each of these Scotty downriggers is accompanied by the Scotty limited lifetime warranty, ensuring their quality and durability.

These units outperform the competition in terms of pricing and excel in their operational features.

With a Scotty No. 1170 power grip plus line release included, you can rely on efficient and secure line management.

The downrigger’s spool, which offers a retrieval rate of one foot per turn, operates smoothly with the convenience of being operated by either hand.

This can be done comfortably from a seated position within the boat, enhancing your overall fishing experience.

Scotty also offers manual downriggers that are reliable and easy to use.

The Depthmaster series includes models with a manual crank for raising and lowering the weight. 

They suit anglers who prefer a hands-on approach and want a simpler design.

Scotty Laketroller Manual Downrigger

Scotty Laketroller Manual Downrigger

The Laketroller series includes compact and portable manual downriggers for smaller boats, canoes, and kayaks.

Scotty #1073DP Laketroller Manual Downrigger is a versatile fishing tool designed for optimal convenience.

Its adaptable mounting bracket allows for installation on a flat deck surface or securely on the side of a gunnel or transom. 

This downrigger includes a generous 100 feet of premium 150 lb test stainless steel cable, ensuring durability and strength for your fishing endeavors.

The Power Grip Plus Line Release Model No. 1181 Mini-Grip adds reliability to your fishing setup.

This configuration provides flexible and secure mounting options, enabling you to focus on your fishing experience confidently.

These downriggers are lightweight and suitable for fishing in shallower waters.

Scotty Strongarm Manual Downrigger (e.g., 1085 Strongarm)

Scotty Strongarm Manual Downrigger

Scotty #1085 Strongarm Manual Downrigger with a 30-Inch Boom and integrated Rod Holder.

This downrigger has a 30-inch stainless steel boom boasting a robust diameter of 1 1/4 inches.

The included rod holder features an interior diameter of 1.85 inches, accommodating a variety of fishing rods.

Designed to be strong, resilient, and durable, the Scotty #1085 Strongarm Manual Downrigger is the perfect companion for your fishing endeavors.

Its sturdy construction ensures reliability during fishing adventures, making it an essential tool for anglers seeking dependable performance.

The Strongarm series features manual downriggers with a reinforced design for heavier weights and larger fish.

 They offer a one-hand clutch system for easy deployment and a durable build.

Scotty downriggers are known for their durability, innovative features, and user-friendly designs. 

When considering a Scotty downrigger, consider your fishing needs, the type of water you’ll be fishing in, and your preferred level of automation.

Big Jon Sports Downriggers

Big Jon is known for producing heavy-duty fishing downriggers that can handle larger fish and heavier weights.

 The Big Jon Captain’s Pak Electric Downrigger is a well-regarded model among anglers.

  1. Big Jon Captain’s Pak Electric Downrigger
  2. Big Jon Sports Gadabout Manual Downrigger

Big Jon Captain’s Pak Electric Downrigger

Big Jon Captain's Pak Electric Downrigger

Captain’s Pak Electric Downrigger – an enduring favorite among anglers across America! With a remarkable three-decade legacy, the original Big Jon Captain’s Pak electric downrigger remains the top choice in the market.

Its exceptional performance is showcased by the ability to swiftly retrieve a 16 lb. cannonball at a rate of 120 feet per minute.

Featuring a reinforced double-rod boom, this downrigger offers versatile positioning options.

The boom can be extended straight back from the transom or adjusted to angle out on either side of the boat.

This versatility provides a wider lure spread for enhanced fishing success.

Equipped with a newly designed 12-volt sealed “High Torque” motor, complemented by an adjustable disc clutch, this downrigger ensures efficient and powerful retrieval of a 16-pound cannonball over 120 feet per minute.

A smooth and adjustable fiber pad clutch system adds to its operational finesse.

Facilitating ease of use, the sectional boom can be set at 2, 3, or 4-foot lengths, tipped up and locked to simplify setting your fishing lines.

Designed with precision from “Aircraft Grade Aluminum,” this downrigger showcases exceptional craftsmanship and longevity.

Its anodized finish adds to its aesthetic appeal and offers a protective layer against the elements.

Big Jon Sports Gadabout Manual Downrigger

Big Jon Sports Gadabout Manual Downrigger

Gadabout® manual downrigger, featuring a flexible 2-foot boom designed for easy attachment to the gunwale or transom of your boat.

mounting plate accompanied by mounting bolts, and a practical line release.

Experience seamless operation with the smooth and adjustable fiber pad clutch system.

Designed with utmost precision, the downrigger is meticulously machined from “Aircraft Grade Aluminum” and then adorned with a protective, anodized finish.

This combination of craftsmanship and coating ensures exceptional performance and a long-lasting aesthetic appeal.

Big Jon Sports fishing with downriggers are known for their strength and durability, making them suitable for anglers pursuing larger and deeper water species.

When considering a Big Jon Sports downrigger, think about the type of fishing you plan to do, the size of your boat, and your preferred level of automation. 

Walker Downriggers

 Walker downriggers are known for their simplicity and durability. The Walker Kingfisher 2 Downrigger is often used by anglers who prefer straightforward functionality. 

Walker Downriggers Kingfisher 2 Manual Downrigger is your ultimate tournament-grade solution for freshwater and saltwater fishing.

 This exceptional manual downrigger comes in an extra-strength package built to tackle the toughest fishing environments. 

Experience the power of an ultra-fast retrieve with an impressive 2 feet per turn, allowing you to reel in your lines swiftly. 

The Kingfisher 2 features a seamlessly integrated one-hand clutch in its handle, ensuring a controlled and precise descent every time.

This exceptional package includes two robust black aluminum single-rod holders, providing a reliable platform for your fishing rods. 

The downrigger has a convenient 3-digit counter, allowing you to monitor your line depth accurately.

 The 4″ x 6″ deck plate adds stability and security to your setup. Enhance your fishing experience with the Walker fishing Downriggers Kingfisher 2 Manual Downrigger, with a terminator release for seamless bait presentation. 

With 200 feet of strong 195lb stainless cable, you’ll have the flexibility to target a wide range of depths. 

The downrigger’s 2-foot arm ensures that your fishing lines are deployed with precision and finesse. 

Conquer the waters and elevate your fishing game with the unbeatable performance and features of the Walker Downriggers Kingfisher 2 Manual Downrigger.

Penn Fathom-Master Downriggers

Penn Fathom-Master Downriggers

Penn is known for its fishing equipment, and the Penn Fathom-Master Electric Downrigger is a reliable option with a history of good performance. 

Designed with the utmost commitment to strength and resistance against corrosion, the Fathom-Master Boom Downrigger by Penn is a dedicated companion for a lifetime of deep-water trolling in fresh and saltwater environments.

 This 24-inch Fathom-Master is engineered to deliver unwavering performance across diverse aquatic landscapes.

 It’s meticulously constructed to endure the sea’s challenges, boasting a composition fortified with robust, corrosion-resistant materials. 

The foundation of the Fathom-Master’s resilience lies in its glass-reinforced polycarbonate frame, spool, and base. 

Complementing this sturdiness is a gold anodized aluminum boom, adding another layer of durability. 

With a thoughtful design that prioritizes user-friendliness, Penn’s exclusive Fathom-Master drag system empowers effortless one-hand operation when lowering or halting the downrigger for fishing weight. 

The drag system’s ingenious design allows for controlled cable play in case the weight encounters an obstruction on the seabed.

Furthermore, a safety feature ensures the crank handle remains stationary while the weight descends. 

The long handle lever facilitates effortless 1-to-1 ratio cranking, and the Fathom-Master’s oversized spool accelerates the weight’s return journey.

 A gear-driven cable footage counter, distinguished by its large, legible numerals, clearly depicts the weight’s depth. 

The Fathom-Master Downrigger arrives pre-equipped with Penn’s user-friendly Tru-Trac cable hardware, streamlining the dismounting and reinstalling of the downrigger without the need for crimping tools. 

Complete with 200 feet of robust 135-pound test stainless steel cable and all the requisite mounting hardware; the Fathom-Master is a comprehensive solution ready for action.

Backed by Penn’s 1-year warranty, this downrigger for fishing is a prime choice for deep-water trolling enthusiasts.

Its unwavering reliability and durable design make it an indispensable tool for conquering the depths confidently.

When considering a downrigger fishing secrets, here are some factors to keep in mind

  • Type: Manual downriggers are operated by hand, while electric downriggers have powered mechanisms for raising and lowering the weight. Electric downriggers are more convenient but typically cost more.
  • Depth Control: Look for downriggers with precise depth control mechanisms to target fish at different depths accurately.
  • Weight Capacity: Be sure the downrigger can handle the weights you’ll be using by checking its weight capacity.
  • Durability: Since downriggers are exposed to water and other elements, choose models made from durable materials.
  • Features: Some downriggers include additional features such as adjustable rod holders, swivel bases, and advanced electronics.
  • Budget: There can be a significant difference in price between downriggers, so you’ll need to balance your budget with what you need regarding features and quality.

Remember that technology and product offerings may have evolved since my last update, so it’s a good idea to research current models, read reviews, and visit local fishing stores to get hands-on experience before purchasing.

How to fish with a downrigger

Fishing with a downrigger is a technique used to target fish at specific depths in deep waters. 

Downriggers fishing are specialized devices that allow anglers to control the depth at which their fishing lines are presented.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a downrigger:

Prepare Your Gear

  • Ensure you have a fishing rod and reel suitable for your target species.
  • Select appropriate fishing lines, lures, or bait for the fish you want to catch.
  • Set up your downrigger equipment, including the arm, cable, weight, release clip, and other accessories.

Choose Your Location: Determine the depth at which you believe the fish will likely be located. 

This might involve studying fish finder readings, local fishing reports, or consulting experienced anglers.

Set Up the Downrigger

  • Mount the downrigger on the side of your boat using the provided base.
  • Attach the weight to the end of the downrigger cable. 
  • The weight will depend on your target depth and the boat’s speed. 
  • Heavier weights are needed for deeper depths and faster boat speeds.
  • Attach a release clip to the cable positioned above the weight. 
  • This clip will hold the fishing line until a fish strikes.

Attach Fishing Line: Attach your fishing line to the release clip. Some anglers use a short leader line between the release clip and the lure or bait to prevent the weight from spooking the fish.

Deploy the Downrigger: Slowly lower the weight and the attached fishing line into the water. Use a gentle, controlled motion to prevent tangling of the line.

Pay attention to the depth readings on your downrigger’s depth counter or any fish finder equipment you use. Lower the weight to the desired depth.

Release the Line: Once the downrigger reaches the desired depth, trigger the release clip to let the fishing line out. 

The line will trail behind the boat at the chosen depth.

Trolling: Engage the boat’s motor and drive at a slow, steady speed. This is known as trolling.

 The boat’s motion will cause the fishing line and lure to move through the water at the desired depth.

Monitor for Strikes: Keep a close eye on your fishing lines for any signs of a strike. Sometimes, you might feel a sudden tug on the line, or the rod tip might start to move.

Set the Hook: Quickly grab the rod and reel in any slack if you feel a strike. Give a firm tug to set the hook in the fish’s mouth.

Reel in the Fish: Set the hook and maintain tension on the line while reeling in the fish.


Downrigging fishing is a technique that has proven to be highly effective for targeting fish in deep waters.

 It offers anglers precise control over the depth at which their fishing lines are presented, increasing the chances of successful catches.

 With specialized fishing with downrigger equipment, such as manual or electric models, anglers can deploy lures or bait at specific depths while trolling.

The choice of fishing downrigger type depends on personal preferences, fishing style, and budget. 

Manual downriggers require more physical effort but offer simplicity, while electric downriggers provide convenience and advanced features like auto-stop mechanisms, digital depth counters, and adjustable retrieve speeds.

Several reputable brands, including Cannon, Scotty, Big Jon Sports, and Walker, offer a variety of downriggers for fishing models tailored to different needs. 

When engaging in downrigging fishing, you must understand the species you’re targeting, the specific depths they inhabit, and the fishing regulations in your area. 

Proper setup and deployment of downriggers and vigilant monitoring for strikes will help increase your chances of a successful fishing outing. 

As technology advances and fishing techniques evolve, downrigging remains valuable for anglers who want to explore the depths and maximize their fishing opportunities.

 Whether you’re pursuing freshwater or saltwater species, downrigging fishing offers a strategic approach that can lead to exciting catches and memorable experiences on the water.

Explore the selection of Fishing with Rooster Tails offered on our website.


What is a down rig for fishing?

A downrigger is a specialized fishing tool that controls the depth at which fishing lines and lures are presented in deep water. 

It typically consists of a weighted cable, a release mechanism, and a fishing line attachment, allowing anglers to target specific depths while trolling.

Why use a downrigger?

A downrigger is used in fishing to precisely control the depth at which fishing lines and lures are deployed, making reaching fish at specific depths in deep water easier.

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