Canon Downrigger

Wondering what a downrigger is and whether you need one for your boat? Bringing in a large catch after a day out on the boat is every fisher's dream – and a downrigger is a great tool to help you do just that! Used correctly, this piece of equipment can help you up your fishing game, especially if it’s used with a fish finder!

How does a downrigger work?
A downrigger allows you to place the bait at a specific depth of your choosing in the water column.

It does this using a weight of your choice attached to the downrigger line. Once you've let your bait or lure drop back the required distance from your boat, you then attach the downrigger line via a release clip and lower it all down into the water until it hits the depths you wanted to achieve.

One of the great features of downriggers is that once a fish bites, the release clip detaches, separating the two lines. This means you can forget about the downrigger, focusing solely on bringing in your catch.

A downrigger helps improve your fishing through a few different ways. These include:

Controlling your bait depth
A downrigger gives you control over how deep your bait or lure sits in the water. This allows you to adjust for a variety of factors and ensure you're at the right level to tempt the fish showing on the fish finder. Additionally, you're able to cover all bases by having lures or bait at a variety of depths without having to worry about tangling.

Being able to control this aspect is highly useful, as all fish have their comfort zones within the water. They will change the depth at which they sit depending on the water's temperature, oxygen levels and currents present.

Moves naturally through the water
Due to how the lure or bait trails straight back from the downrigger's weight, its appearance and movement is much more natural. Fish are much more likely to bite when bait or lure appears as close to the real item as possible.

Useful for a variety of environments
A downrigger's benefits aren't limited to one environment. You can use this piece of fishing equipment in both fresh and saltwater, and they are especially useful in strong currents where you might struggle to drop bait low enough otherwise. They're useful for fishing offshore, in estuaries and lakes.

The type of fish you can catch using a downrigger is equally as varied. Some of the species to focus on include snapper, kingfish, marlin, trout and salmon.

Tips and tricks for using your downrigger
Just as with any tool, the more you know about using it the better your results. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you master your downrigger:

  • Use it in conjunction with a fish finder - With a fish finder you know exactly where to place your bait, setting you up for a great day's fishing.
  • Vary your boat speed and direction - By changing it up, you make the bait or lure look more enticing and natural. Travelling at a constant speed and direction will likely undo your hard work.
  • Get your downrigger weight up quickly - Once you've hooked a fish and the downrigger line has detached, reel it up quickly to avoid tangles and cut offs.
  • Keep the tension on your line - It's important to minimise excessive slack, while leaving enough play that the line doesn't release early.

Need some advice? With over 75 years of experience, Hunts Marine is a third generation, family-owned business with extensive experience in recreational boating – and boating accessories! Find out more at, give us a call on (02) 9546-1324 or get in touch with our team at Hunts Marine in Sydney, Wollongong or Batemans Bay.