Best Downriggers 2021

Page content summary:show

The Best Downriggers 2021 – We will help you find the best downrigger reviews of the most popular electric and manual downriggers suited for all your trolling fishing needs.

When you’re angling in deep water controlling the depth of your lure is key. If you’re not using a downrigger your lure can drift up towards the surface away from the fish. But when you fish with the best downrigger your bait goes where they are and stays there while you troll.

Here’s how to use a downrigger. First you need to connect your fishing line to the downrigger to start attach the downrigger weight to the downrigger cable. Then connect it to your fishing line with a pinch release. Now that your rigged up you can place your rod in the holder. Next you’ll use the downrigger to lower the downrigger weight and your lure to the right spot.

Using your fish finder identify a depth where the fish are. Then use your best downrigger to lower your lure to that depth as the downrigger weight lowers your fishing rod will bend. A line counter on the downrigger will tell you exactly how far down you are. So you can hit the perfect spot.

While your trolling the downrigger keeps your lure at that depth and allows it to move naturally through the water. On some of the best electric downriggers, you can cycle the downrigger weight up and down to cover more area or keep it at a set distance from the bottom for suspended fish.

Once a fish takes the lure the pinch release lets go of your fishing line. And your rod will spring up telling you the fish is on. Remove your rod from the holder. Now that it’s just you and the fish it’s up to you to reel them in. That’s how a downrigger helps you master control depth fishing by getting your bait where the fish are and keeping it there.

The Best downriggers for the money:

Cannon Optimum TS

Cannon Optimum TS review The Cannon Optimum TS is in our opinion the best electric downrigger and provides new intelligence to controlled depth fishing in an all-white construction, stainless steel spool and 316-grade telescopic boom, ideal for saltwater applications. Precisely troll any lure while presenting depth and trolling data on a full-color 3.5" LCD display. Cannon Optimum TS Tournament Series wirelessly networks up to four electric downriggers which can be controlled simultaneously through the Cannon mobile app or a compatible Humminbird fish finder. Compatibility with Fish Hawk X4D Electronics allows you to monitor the depth, temperature and speed at your weight. The Smart, Connected,....

Read the Cannon Optimum TS review here:

5
Rated 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 stars (based on 2 reviews)
Excellent: 100%
Very good: 0%
Average: 0%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Cannon Optimum TS

Cannon Optimum

Cannon Optimum Cannon Optimum is simple one of the best electric downriggers and provides the intelligence needed to put the bait where the fish are. Precisely troll any lure while presenting depth and trolling data on a full-color 3.5" LCD display. Cannon Optimum wirelessly networks up to four downriggers which can be controlled simultaneously through the Cannon mobile app or a compatible Humminbird fish finder. Compatibility with Fish Hawk X4D Electronics allows you to monitor the depth, temperature and speed at your weight. Cannon Optimum Mobile App control Successful trolling requires information and precise control. The new Cannon mobile app gives you....

Read the Cannon Optimum review here:

5
Rated 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)
Excellent: 100%
Very good: 0%
Average: 0%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Cannon Optimum

Cannon Digi-Troll 10

Cannon Digi-Troll 10 1Cannon Digi-Troll 10 features a full backlit keypad with an an integrated backlit LCD screen which gives you full control of your electric Cannon Digi-Troll 10 downrigger. Raise and lower the weight, adjust Positive Ion Control, or program the amount of line you're using for better line counter accuracy. Cycle the weight up and down at preset intervals and depths, or use Bottom Track to automatically keep your bait at a preset distance from the bottom. Store up to five different preset depths for easy reference. Fastest retrieval rate on the market (250 feet per minute) and a Short-Stop feature....

Read the Cannon Digi-Troll 10 review here:

4.8
Rated 4.8 out of 5
4.8 out of 5 stars (based on 5 reviews)
Excellent: 80%
Very good: 20%
Average: 0%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Cannon Digi-Troll 10

Cannon Digi-Troll 5

Cannon Digi-Troll 5Cannon Digi-Troll 5 are definitely the best electric downrigger I’ve ever owned. I have a pair of Cannon Digi-Troll 5 on a 17′ Alumaweld Stryker and fish Pyramid Lake on a regular basis. I can tell you these are the best downrigger I’ve ever owned. I had Walker Downriggers that I returned to Cabellas and four Scotty Downriggers collecting dust in my garage. I will be selling my Scotties on Craigslist. I don’t have a hummingbird fish finder and don’t really care about the integration. My fish finder is a Lowrance Gen3 and I wouldn’t trade it for hummingbird. Scotties....

Read the Cannon Digi-Troll 5 review here:

4.8
Rated 4.8 out of 5
4.8 out of 5 stars (based on 6 reviews)
Excellent: 83%
Very good: 17%
Average: 0%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Cannon Digi-Troll 5

Cannon Uni-Troll 10

Cannon Uni-Troll 10 2 Cannon Uni-Troll 10 is the best line of manual downriggers and the model that I have here is the Cannon Uni-Troll 10 A couple of the key features about this is number one, the retrieve rate is incredibly fast and efficient. This has a two to one retrieve rate which means every time I crank the handle I'm retrieving two feet of cables. Now for anyone who's ever fished with a Cannon downrigger, especially a manual Cannon downrigger knows that when you get a strike it's incredibly important to get your cable and your weight out of the water as....

Read the Cannon Uni-Troll 10 review here:

4.8
Rated 4.8 out of 5
4.8 out of 5 stars (based on 4 reviews)
Excellent: 75%
Very good: 25%
Average: 0%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Cannon Uni-Troll 10

Cannon Digi-Troll 10 TS

Cannon Digi-Troll 10 TS 3Cannon Digi-Troll 10 TS features a backlit LCD screen which displays readings from IntelliTroll, lets you raise and lower the weight, adjust Positive Ion Control, or program the amount of line you're using. Cycle the weight up and down at preset intervals and depths, or use Bottom Track to automatically keep your bait at a preset distance from the bottom. Stainless steel spool, fastest retrieval rate on the market (250 feet per minute) and a Short-Stop feature that protects the boat from swinging weight. Includes mounting base, low-profile swivel base, and a telescopic boom that extends from 24" to 53".....

Read the Cannon Digi-Troll 10 TS review here:

4.8
Rated 4.8 out of 5
4.8 out of 5 stars (based on 6 reviews)
Excellent: 83%
Very good: 17%
Average: 0%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Cannon Digi-Troll 10 TS

Cannon Magnum 5 ST

Cannon Magnum 5 ST 4Cannon Magnum 5 ST review - I have 2 Cannon Magnum 5 ST downriggers and they work great. 2 bad points for this downrigger. 1. if you stack lines (2 rods on one line) the unit drops so fast that if your lure are separated by 20 ft or more they will tangle. 2. The pulleys on the end are crap. I fish with older guys who can’t hear very well, and if someone drops the line and hits the bottom the line will jump off the pulley, which is a hassle to take apart and restring while you’re trying....

Read the Cannon Magnum 5 ST review here:

4.7
Rated 4.7 out of 5
4.7 out of 5 stars (based on 12 reviews)
Excellent: 75%
Very good: 17%
Average: 8%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Cannon Magnum 5 ST

Cannon Magnum 10 STX

Cannon Magnum 10 STX 5Cannon Magnum 10 STX features the fastest retrieval rate on the market (250 feet per minute) and a Short-Stop feature that protects the boat from swinging weight. Includes mounting base, low-profile swivel base, and a telescopic stainless steel boom that extends from 24" to 53". Magnum is built tougher and smarter to make you a better angler. Cannon Edge Design features fewer moving parts, one-piece composite construction, a redesigned boom end, protected circuit boards, and easy access to the spool, switches, plugs and mounting knobs. Cannon Magnum 10 STX - Armed To The Teeth. Every innovation we’ve ever thought up....

Read the Cannon Magnum 10 STX review here:

4.7
Rated 4.7 out of 5
4.7 out of 5 stars (based on 16 reviews)
Excellent: 69%
Very good: 31%
Average: 0%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Cannon Magnum 10 STX

Cannon Uni-Troll 10 TS

Cannon Uni-Troll 10 TS 6 The Cannon Uni-Troll 10 TS Tournament Series Downrigger lets you take command of controlled depth fishing. Equip your boat with a Cannon Uni-Troll 10 TS downrigger and take advantage of an innovative design that lets you pull your lines back in with less cranking effort and One-Hand Clutch Deploy for simple precise bait positioning. Built with a 2:1 retrieval speed, corrosion-resistant construction and a stainless steel spool. Take command of controlled depth fishing when you equip your boat with a Cannon manual downrigger. Perfect for smaller boats, each one allows for quick line retrieval and precise bait positioning. FAST RETRIEVAL....

Read the Cannon Uni-Troll 10 TS review here:

4.7
Rated 4.7 out of 5
4.7 out of 5 stars (based on 3 reviews)
Excellent: 67%
Very good: 33%
Average: 0%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Cannon Uni-Troll 10 TS

Cannon Uni-Troll 5

Cannon Uni-Troll 5Cannon Uni-Troll 5 takes command of controlled depth fishing when you equip your boat with a Uni-Troll downrigger. Features a 2:1 retrieval speed, three digit depth counter, and a 24” stainless steel boom. A lot of people tend to think that a downrigger is only suited for a large boat trolling offshore and a large body of water. When in fact a downrigger can also be an incredibly effective tool or a smaller boat fishing in smaller inland lakes. Anytime you're targeting a species of fish that's suspended in the water column, the downrigger is the perfect tool. For a....

Read the Cannon Uni-Troll 5 review here:

4.7
Rated 4.7 out of 5
4.7 out of 5 stars (based on 7 reviews)
Excellent: 71%
Very good: 29%
Average: 0%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Cannon Uni-Troll 5

Scotty 1073 Laketroller

Scotty 1073 Laketroller 7 The unit is well-built and provides sturdy enough support for a 3-4 lb. weight. The holder can be mounted sideways against the gunnel just like Scotty’s popular rod holders, so it is very convenient. However, if you have an aluminum boat and mount directly to the side, the motor vibrations can transfer directly down the cable and create a strange buzzing noise. I had no problems with the braking. In fact, you can tighten the nut just enough to hold the weight while still keeping it loose enough to crank up or down. The biggest drawback on this unit is....

Read the Scotty 1073 Laketroller review here:

4.6
Rated 4.6 out of 5
4.6 out of 5 stars (based on 10 reviews)
Excellent: 60%
Very good: 40%
Average: 0%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Scotty 1073 Laketroller

Scotty 1099 Compact Depthpower

Scotty 1099 Compact Depthpower 8Scotty 1099 Electric downriggers are awesome! Well worth the money. I’ve always had Scotty hand cranker’s. Once you go electric you’ll never go back. So far, very good. easy to learn how to use and so much better than the hand operated ones. Used them 3 times without a problem. Perfect fit for my 14 ft aluminum fishing boat. Still working on installing the Scotty 1099 downrigger due to the fact you need to install a 30 amp inline fuse which is not included with the product. Since it needs to be marine grade, you can’t pick one up at....

Read the Scotty 1099 Compact Depthpower review here:

4.5
Rated 4.5 out of 5
4.5 out of 5 stars (based on 2 reviews)
Excellent: 50%
Very good: 50%
Average: 0%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Scotty 1099 Compact Depthpower

Cannon Mini-Troll

Cannon Mini-Troll 9 The Cannon Mini-Troll features a compact downrigger design, which is ideal for use on pontoon boats, canoes, bass boats, and smaller fishing boats. It comes with a horizontal reel/brake, 100 percent of stainless steel downrigger cable, and a swivel-head depth counter. Backed by a limited lifetime warranty. Cannon Mini-Troll Features: - Horizontal Reel/Brake - For quick adjustments and control of your baits positioning. - Swivel-Head Dial Depth Counter - Know exactly where your weights are with the easy to read depth counter at the end of your boom. - 1:1 Retrieval Rate - Helps get your lines out of the....

Read the Cannon Mini-Troll review here:

4.3
Rated 4.3 out of 5
4.3 out of 5 stars (based on 7 reviews)
Excellent: 29%
Very good: 71%
Average: 0%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Cannon Mini-Troll

Scotty 2106 High Performance

Scotty 2106 High Performance 10 The performance downrigger of choice for serious fishermen. Unmatched in power, performance and reliability. - Unbeatable pulling power lifts 15 lb. weights at 295 ft./min. and 20 lb. weights with ease at 260 ft./min. - Includes Illuminated, resettable, sealed and silent digital line counter - 300 ft. of 180 lb. Test, HP Stainless Steel Downrigger Cable - Boom mounted stainless steel jacketed adjustable Rocket Launcher Rod Holder - Includes Scotty/Marinco™ Plug and Receptacle - Includes 1148 Weight Storage Hook and marine grade stainless steel boom - Includes 1023 Tilt-up Mounting Bracket which enables the unit to be tilted and locked....

Read the Scotty 2106 High Performance review here:

4
Rated 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 stars (based on 6 reviews)
Excellent: 34%
Very good: 33%
Average: 33%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Scotty 2106 High Performance

Cannon Lake-Troll

Cannon Lake-Troll 11Cannon Lake-Troll are great value manual downriggers for Lakes. I bought a pair and used them recently. The biggest complaint I read from reviews was the depth counter on the boom and inability to calibrate. I recently did some salmon trolling with these and had no issue with the depth counters. They reported depths accurately. Upon retrieval, I would occasionally have to roll the counters slightly back to zero by turning the wheel on the boom. It was not hard to re-calibrate at all. My only complaint is the rod holder requires a wrench to adjust (unless you want to....

Read the Cannon Lake-Troll review here:

3.8
Rated 3.8 out of 5
3.8 out of 5 stars (based on 4 reviews)
Excellent: 0%
Very good: 75%
Average: 25%
Poor: 0%
Terrible: 0%
Cannon Lake-Troll

10 Best Downrigger Trolling Tips

Downrigger Trolling Tip #1:

Test your trolling lures over the boat side before sending them down and back with your best downrigger. Do this to make sure the lure wiggles and wobbles properly without going belly up or wandering off. Some lures can be adjusted, fine tuned actually, to impart maximum action. For example, a slight bend in the tail of a trolling spoon or twist of the hook eye in the nose of a plug can make a noticeable difference in how the lure performs.

Also, when running two or more lures, make sure the offerings are compatible. Lures that run out of harmony with each other are bound to tangle and that means wasted time to straighten out the mess. Testing them first will avoid the problem.

Downrigger Trolling Tip #2:

Consider different sizes, shapes, and colors of trolling lures. No one has ever figured out with precision what makes a fish strike or snub a lure. There is no doubt, that matching the forage (minnows, crayfish, etc.) in color, shape, action, and size can help trigger those strikes from hungry fish. On the other hand, if fish such as bluegills, small mouth bass or Coho salmon are protecting spawning beds, they may attack whatever is threatening. So, bright colors in trolling lures may out produce bland colors.

Downrigger Trolling Tip #3:

Vary trolling speeds. Goosing the engine now and then or slowing to a crawl every so often will change the action of the trolling lures and may get fish to strike them.

Downrigger Trolling Tip #4:

Vary trolling patterns and lead lengths. The amount of line you let out often determines how deep the lure will run and, to some extent, what degree of action it will impart. For starters, consider running lures about ten feet behind your best downrigger weights. If flat line trolling, put them back about fifty feet, then experiment depending on what the fish do.

Trolling patterns affect lure action too, that is why some anglers like to wheel a lazy S course. On turns, outside trolling lures will speed up momentarily while inside trolling lures hang for a moment or two. Fish may nail trolling lures that change speeds. Also, zigzag patterns allow for more water coverage, plus it keeps lures out of propeller boil, an important consideration for browns and other wary species.

Downrigger Trolling Tip #5:

Locate fish on a vertical plane. Place trolling lures in areas where fish might be. Skilled fishermen call these areas the “strike zones”. They include the edges of the week beds, structure along bottom, drop-offs, preferred temperature of the target species, and the thermocline. Remember that fish occupy certain areas for certain reasons (sources of food, protective cover, preferred temperatures, etc.).

Downrigger Trolling Tip #6:

Consider special knots and swivels. A good ball bearing swivel will all but eliminate line twist and will aid in getting maximum performance from a trolling lure. Many anglers add the tiny swivels to split rings already on the trolling lure itself. On the other hand, a swivel may dampen the action of a sensitive lure, such as a Rapala. Some fisherman tie tiny improved clinch or loop knots. Loop knots in particular may enhance up and down and side to side action of trolling lures. Any good fishing manual will explain how to tie these and other knots.

Downrigger Trolling Tip #7:

Consider the best downrigger releases for flatline trolling. A good tip is to secure a piece of good downrigger cable or heavy monofilament to the water ski hook or handle below the transom of most boats. To the other end of the mono or cable, add a pinch-r-release. After letting out your lure to the desire distance, put the rod in its holder, then bend the tip and secure the fishing line in the downrigger release.

Downrigger Trolling Tip #8:

Add a weed guard. Having trouble with weeds hanging up trolling lures? Consider tying a three-inch piece of monofilament a foot above the trolling lure. Leaves, smaller weeds and other debris may catch here momentarily then fall off to the side of the lure without tangling. Weedless lures are another smart consideration. The best downrigger cables are effective weed catchers when trolling for pike, muskies, or bass in weed-infested lakes.

Downrigger Trolling Tip #9:

Add a stinger hook. When fish short strike, slap at lures without becoming hooked, adding a stinger hook can solve the problem. Simply tie a treble hook to one end of a four inch piece of monofilament and then tie the extra hook to the last gang of hooks on your trolling lure. The stinger hook, which trails the trolling lure, provides extra insurance.

Downrigger Trolling Tip #10:

Keep your hooks sharp. Some of the best fishermen sharpen all hooks after every fish caught. Hooks get dull through both use and misuse, and probably more fish are lost to dull points than anything else.

Understanding downrigger blowback

Simply stated, downrigger blowback is what happens to the downrigger weight when you pull it through the water behind your boat. As your speed increases, so does the horizontal distance between the downrigger weight and your best downrigger. The faster you go, the farther the downrigger weight is behind you.

The farther the downrigger weight is behind you, the shallower the downrigger weight is. The downrigger blowback charts will provide you with downrigger blowback information for three sizes of downrigger weights pulled at three different speeds with no lures attached and with no current.

Current drag, water salinity and the use of different downrigger products will affect your actual trolling depth. As an example, a downrigger blowback chart shows you that if you are trolling at 4 MPH with an 8 pound downrigger weight and you have 100 FT. of cable in the water with no current; the downrigger ball is actually at a depth of about 80 FT.

Introduction to Downrigger Fishing

Undoubtedly there are many fishermen familiar with the methods and use of controlled depth fishing. During the mid 1960’s the state of Michigan introduced Pacific salmon into the Great Lakes in an attempt to revitalize its sport fishing industry. From this successful transplant, new fishing techniques and equipment were developed. One such method was controlled depth fishing which enabled fishermen to place a lure at a desired depth by utilizing the best downriggers.

Because of the varying factors (water temperature, thermocline, weather, tides, time of day, or time of year) it is necessary for successful fishing to maintain specific water depths that coincide with fish movements and feeding patterns. One essential feature of the best downrigger is the depth meter or gauge that indicates lure depth. This allows the angler to control as well as return to specific depths where fish have been caught.

Due to the success of controlled depth fishing, the best downriggers are now being used throughout the world to catch a wide variety of species in both fresh and salt water. Whether fishing for blues off Rhode Island, walleyes in Lake Erie, sailfish off the coast of Florida, or stripers in Tennessee, the use of the best downriggers will make your fishing more successful and more enjoyable.

Best Downrigger Mounting on Boats

Your best downrigger should be mounted where ever it is easy to operate and observe. You want to be able to see your fishing rod and to react quickly. So, choosing a good spot to mount your best downrigger on your boat is 99% of the job. Due to the great variety of boats available, mounting your best downrigger can be a dilemma.

Having proper mounting accessories is essential. Most of the best downrigger manufacturers has a complete line of mounting accessories to conveniently mount your best downriggers on any boat.

Operating Your Downrigger

After mounting the best downrigger to your boat, release some line from your rod and reel so that the lure is anywhere from 5 to 100 feet behind the boat. This is called drop back. Attach the fishing line firmly into the line release. Press and hold the toggle switch down to lower the downrigger weight to the desired depth as indicated on the depth meter.

Place the fishing rod in the rod holder and reel up the slack so that your rod has a slight bend in it. When a fish strikes the lure, the line will separate from the downrigger release. Then you will be free to fight the fish and bring it in on your rod and reel.

Downrigger Frequently Asked Questions

What is downrigger blowback?

Simply stated, downrigger blowback is what happens to the downrigger weight when you pull it through the water behind your boat. As your speed increases, so does the horizontal distance between the weight and your downrigger. The faster you go, the farther the downrigger weight is behind you. The farther the downrigger weight is behind you, the shallower the downrigger weight is.

What is the main advantage to using an electric downrigger?

The main advantage to running an electric downrigger is when it’s time to bring the downrigger weight to the surface. Simply toggle the up switch and walk away – a short stop feature will automatically stop the lift motor when the downrigger weight hits the surface of the water. With the best manual downriggers, you manually raise the downrigger weight by turning a crank handle. Deep water fishing is when you will really appreciate an electric downrigger.

What are the advantages to having a downrigger spooled with monofilament?

First, cable tends to act like a long guitar string when it’s pulled through the water, creating an audible hum that can spook fish. Mono runs silent when pulled through the water. Second, kingfish anglers like the ability to quickly cut their downrigger line if a fish makes a run toward it, to prevent them from losing it. It is much quicker and easier to cut mono than it is to cut braided stainless steel cable.