The Saltwater Magazine for Gulf Coast Fishing!


I have several downrigger balls on my boat that T use for different purposes. The one I use for trolling dead baits and artificials is a ten-pound lead ball that uses a black plastic, snap-out clip that attaches to the main line. This is the standard set up that comes with my Penn downrigger system, which T like, because it takes a lot of pressure to "pop" the clip out when a fish hits. This results in more 'hook-ups.

There's just one problem with this system: You have to thread the clip onto your designed downrigger's rod's line, and the clip stays all day. The downrigger rod cannot be used for anything else, unless you cut the line and re-rig. T came up with a method that allows me to use any rod T choose, and T can even switch rods without cutting the line or re-rigging.

1. Take your downrigger clip to the tackle store and buy several snaps (without the swivel) that have approximately the same size hole as the hole in the clip.

2. Take the clip and the snaps to a hardware store and buy the appropriate size stainless steel nut and bolt combo (always use a stainless-steel locknut-the kind with a nylon insert). Use the shortest bolt you can find. If the bolt sticks out you can either grind it down or use a hacksaw and file (make sure it's smooth).

3. Place the snap over the hole of the clip and use the nut/ bolt to fasten it together.

4. To finish, buy a small piece of tubing and slide it onto the snap to protect your main line.

Now, with the snap attached to the clip, you can change rods throughout the day by simply clipping your fishing line into the snap of whatever rod you choose to use. This system will make your downrigger fishing easier and more effective.

- Steve Hicks

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