How-To Guide: Installing a Downrigger on a Pontoon Boat

I’ve recently been obsessed to fishing for Kokanee Salmon in Idaho lakes, which often necessitates the usage of a downrigger. A downrigger is a small crane that lowers a hefty 6 to 12 pound ball into the water and hooks onto your fishing line to keep it at a specific depth.

Installing your downrigger is relatively straightforward as long as you have the appropriate parts.

Unfortunately, most sporting goods stores do not provide a square mount for downriggers to connect to a pontoon boat’s railing, so you’ll have to get one online.

This is the mount that I purchased from Amazon. That will just clamp on to your pontoon boat’s square railing. Then there’s the downrigger’s base, which comes with the downrigger and easily attaches to this mount. Done!

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I studied a lot of forum discussions before deciding whether to get manual or automated downriggers. I ultimately chose the manual because I didn’t want to deal with stringing cables around the boat or charging the batteries. I’m so pleased I did.

With my downrigger and an 8-pound ball, I rarely need to go deeper than 40 feet, so spinning it by hand isn’t a problem. I went with the Canon UniTroll 10 STX, which was an excellent decision.

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Unless you need to go really deep or use 12 pound balls in rough waves, I think a manual downrigger would suffice as long as it is of good quality. You’ll despise life if you buy one of those cheap $100 downriggers that doesn’t have a 2:1 gear ratio.

Just my two cents on the subject. If you’re looking for a downrigger for your boat, I hope this information is useful.

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