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Old 08 September 2015, 15:44   #1
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Country: USA
Town: friday harbor WA
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Make: zodiac
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downrigger photos, please

I am about to invest in two downriggers, which I hope to install port and starboard, near the stern of my 14.5 foot zodiac pro. For those unfamiliar with the term, these are winches that control a lead ball which is clipped to a fishing line. Where I live, people troll for king salmon at a depth of 60-120 feet, and only a downrigger can keep a fishing lure at a precise depth while the boat is moving.

I've already done a search on this site, but found only a few pics, and those were all dated. I'd love to see some newer pics of all the ways people have found to integrate downriggers into a RIB.
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Old 08 September 2015, 22:42   #2
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Country: Australia
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Im going to be doing the same with my zodiac very soon (550 pro). I will most likely go with the scotty brand as Ive been happy with them on my other boats.

The fitting options are very limited as you know especially if you don't want to fit to much at the back where you tend to do all the fighting action.

I have the option of fitting the bracket under the straps to remove the tube or fit a heavy duty side rod mount to the inside of the boat and use the scotty rod mount bracket.

Ive also considered fixing a wooden block to the stern to fix the mount to.

The extension arm will be the one I go for to keep the line clear of the prop and braid over wire as the sharks home in on the hum from wire. Its quite easy to use two rods on one down-rigger, plenty of youtube vids showing how, this may be an option for you too.

Let us know how you go, I just have $$$ holding me back until I sell my other boat. By the way do you have a live-bait tank also.

Jon

As you can see in this boat I sold a few years ago being able to pop the down-rigger forward into another rod holder gets it away from the back of the boat when not being used.


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Old 09 September 2015, 16:14   #3
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Hi John,

I bought two cannon down riggers today. Now I'm ready to fabricate two mahogany mounts that straddle the width of the boat, and then attach them permanently onto a mahogany "cabinet/shelf" I've already built over the gas tank that now holds loose fishing lures, a tackle box, life preservers, and even 2 crab traps. I build furniture as a hobby, and I do consider my little Zodiac Pro as a kind of oceanic version of a two seater sports car, so I do want the completed mounts to look as good as they function.

I have some ideas, so I will probably be ready to post a photo in a few days.
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Old 09 September 2015, 19:20   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beluga11 View Post
Hi John,

I bought two cannon down riggers today. Now I'm ready to fabricate two mahogany mounts that straddle the width of the boat, and then attach them permanently onto a mahogany "cabinet/shelf" I've already built over the gas tank that now holds loose fishing lures, a tackle box, life preservers, and even 2 crab traps. I build furniture as a hobby, and I do consider my little Zodiac Pro as a kind of oceanic version of a two seater sports car, so I do want the completed mounts to look as good as they function.

I have some ideas, so I will probably be ready to post a photo in a few days.
Look forward to seeing the end result. By the way the canon down-riggers look good but for some reason they are much more expensive than the Scotty. What fish are you targeting with them ?
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Old 10 September 2015, 12:11   #5
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I've seen a couple of downrigger mounts on RIBS. One used a small square platform that essentially clamped to the transom extending over the tube (one per side.) The other used a stainless tube bent to follow the tube profile, bolted to the deck (again, one per side.) Nothing magical about either one, as far as I could tell.

I assume you're targeting salmon? I don't hook and line much (meaning at all), so don't really have any further advice.

jky
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Old 10 September 2015, 12:29   #6
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There is a commercially available downrigger mount for inflatables made by Weaver. But it cost a whopping $130, which seems a lot for two screwed together plates attached by three hypalon patches. I emailed them the other day, asking if they had any "seconds" in the $50 range. No luck.

I'm gluing up the mount right now. I live on San Juan Island in Washington State, and the salmon runs have been remarkable this summer in the Stratit of Juan de Fuca.

We catch pink salmon within 30 feet of the surface, so a rubber squid, a flasher, and a 4 ounce weight works good for trolling. They rarely get larger than 4 or 5 pounds. Coho salmon are just starting to run, and we fish for them from 30 to about 70 feet. They get up to 15 pounds and occasionally larger as the run progresses into October.

King salmon lurk much deeper, from 60-120 feet. And they get much larger. I saw boats the other day landing fish up to 35 pounds. The only way to get down to them is with a downrigger. If we are lucky enough to catch three or four of them, we cut them into steaks, vacuum pack and freeze them, and we have entire winter's worth of salmon.
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Old 11 September 2015, 01:04   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beluga11 View Post
Hi John,

Now I'm ready to fabricate two mahogany mounts that straddle the width of the boat, and then attach them permanently onto a mahogany "cabinet/shelf" I've already built over the gas tank that now holds loose fishing lures, a tackle box, life preservers, and even 2 crab traps.

I have some ideas, so I will probably be ready to post a photo in a few days.
Please post some photos. I am running out of space on my 14ft, so making a 'cabinet' over the fuel tank seems the right project to me. Hey, maybe I can even put a chopping board there :-)
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Old 11 September 2015, 16:02   #8
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2 photos

I uploaded two photos of my new Zodiac downrigger shelf. It looks good, and seems to be strong enough for the extra weight. It is secured only by 3 bungee cords which seem to do the trick. It will also hold two crab traps, a tackle box; plus several loose lures, line, weights, etc in that central compartment.

The edges sit right over the pontoons, and I glued a rubber carpet mat to the underside edges to keep it extra safe.
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Old 11 September 2015, 17:08   #9
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Look great! What's the white material? Is it StarBoard? What thickness did you use?
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Old 11 September 2015, 18:04   #10
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The white material is 1/4 inch plywood painted with enamel. The guy who owned the boat before me built it. It fits perfectly over the gas tank, and is held in place by the pontoons. He secured it quite firmly by bungees attached to rings he installed in the back of the seat and in the rigid floor around the 12 gallon gas tank.

When I bought it in August, I felt the shelf wasn't worth much as a finished product, so I went to work on it. I first built the picket fence, and also screwed in several more rings for bungees which lets me carry 2 crab traps and fishing gear both securely and completely out of the way.

The down riggers were a bit more of a challenge because of the weight. But when you install 2 of them they balance each other. I'll take them out on the water later today, and tell you if just a few bungees is still enough to keep them secure to the boat when the 10 pound weights are added. The best part is that they are completely out of the way. The swivel mounts seem critical in a small boat.

The finished cabinet and especially the mounts are very strong. Everything is jointed, and then glued with marine epoxy and screwed with stainless wood screws. All the wood (except the original ply) is either mahogany or tigerwood, and the latter is very dense.
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