Trolling for Chinook How to catch Chinook (King) salmon at depths greater than 200
feet by Doug Harbicht
summer in the water fronting on Quatsino
Sound (Winter Harbour) King Salmon could be caught on a daily basis at
depths between 200 and 275 feet. Using standard 8 or 10 pound balls on our
electric downriggers was out of the question. This was partly because of the
inevitable cable/fishing line drag loop effect, and the gear tangles that
result from the "balls" only being 16 feet apart at the surface. The foregoing
coupled with the boat's "rock and roll" and resulting pendulum effect cause
both cables to come into contact with each other and the associate twists
and/or gear entanglements. (it can get real messy)
drawn to scale, 250ft deep (click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge) (click to enlarge)
The solution was to use 16
pound discuss weights with steering fins. The extra 6 pounds tends to overcome
the drag problem (although they sure make your downrigger grunt). The weight on
the right side of the boat has its fin bent so as to "steer" farther to the
right and the weight on the left side of the boat is bent just the reverse. The
result is to keep the weights 20 to 30 feet apart when lowered to, say a 250
foot depth. In over 300 hours of fishing at below 200 feet we never had one
tangle with either cables or gear.
of caution: Repetitive downrigger retrieval from these depths puts a very
heavy strain on your battery/charging system, and having two batteries with a
selection/isolation switch is strongly recommended.
When fishing at 90
degrees to either wind/waves or tide always retrieve the "downwind" side first.
(again to avoid tangles as the downwind side will not "cross over" the upwind
side on retrieval)
(click to enlarge)
If you catch a fish
on the upwind side, turn the boat "into the fish" before starting to retrieve
that side's downrigger.