Downrigging: How To Get Started

Attach your Vector downrigger to a baseplate mounted on your boat gunwhale

Attaching the Downrigger to the QD base on boat

Turn your downrigger to the preferred horizontal angle, using the swivel base

Turning the Downrigger to the preferable angle on the QD base

Attach weight to the snap clip on the end of your downrigger cable and close the clip. Attach the leader clip (at the end of the leader coming off your downrigger weight) to a convenient point on the boat, so that, when you're ready to attach your line to the clip, you don't have to reach over the water to get it.

Attaching the Downrigger lead weight to the snap swivel

Lower the boom to the horizontal position. It will lock into place

Lower to the boom with the lead weight attached, ready for your rod

With the boat moving slowly straight ahead, place your rod in a rodholder, and feed your bait or lure back the required distance. If you're not sure, six metres (20 feet) is a good distance to start. Back off the drag so you can strip line from the rod tip easily, but not so much that you'll get an overrun if a fish hits before your line is attached to the leader clip.

Make sure your bait or lure is swimming correctly, then grasp the line outside the rod tip. Have the correct size rubber band ready (see rubber band chart.) Place it around the line as shown in the picture.

Place the rubber band on either side of the fishing line with a loop in each hand

You have two rubber band loops, one in either hand.

Wrap one loop DOWN the line two or three times, and the other loop UP the line 2 or three times

Wrapping one rubber band loop down the fishing line two to three times

Put the two loops over a finger, and make sure they're of equal length. If using line less than 20lb/10kg breaking strain, put one loop through the other loop, then put that now-single loop through the clip (see step 8.) A size 16 rubber band breaks at 4-5lbs pressure on one loop, and 8-10lbs pressure on two loops. Two loops are definitely better for offshore fishing or when using over 20lb/10kg line. This is because, with two loops, your rubber band will break away freely on strike.

Offshore game reels are often filled to line capacity and, should the rubber band stay twisted around the line, you could end up with a spool jam when the band arrives at the reel, or a tip jam when the band arrives at a roller tip. In most cases the band will break away cleanly on strike, so don't be too concerned.

We have found the rubber band method to be very reliable, and it's used by a lot of charter fishing skippers

Grab the two outer rubber band loops together ready for the next step

Put the two loops into your leader clip, and close the clip.

Attach the two loops to the snap swivel connecting the Downrigger

Feed the line back cleanly over the stern, ensuring that the leader from your downrigger weight to the rubber band, is running straight and true. Make sure the line is not wrapped around the rod tip, or otherwise obstructed. With your drag set as mentioned previously, press the downrigger switch down so that the weight sinks, taking your line down with it.

Watch the depth counter on your downrigger, and turn the switch off when the weight reaches the required depth.

Lower the Downrigger weight with fishing line attached to desired depth