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Trolling methodology - boat set up and kicker to run down riggers

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  • Trolling methodology - boat set up and kicker to run down riggers

    Hi all,

    I am looking at setting up a 19ft boat for down rigger trolling and am curious what your methodology is in trolling. If you could set up a boat for this purpose running a kicker how would you do it?

    What I am thinking is to run the kicker with remote controls and link the steering to the main. I know some prefer to have the tiller handle and run from the transom. My dealer is suggesting to go the tiller route. How do both set ups affect your fishing and rigging?

    Back trolling isn't a consideration and for non-down rigger trolling (jigging and casting cranks) I'll be running a bow mount trolling motor. So the only two purposes for a kicker are down rigger trolling and a backup to the main to get home.

  • #2
    PERSONALLY ID GO THE TIE IN ROUTE WITH THE MAIN ,blasted cap lock,lol.My boat is only 16 so i just use the main motor to steer the boat when the kicker is used which is extremely rare as the 60 is very fuel efficient.

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    • #3
      Yes set it up so that the two motors are linked and you steer from the drivers seat. This is way better than tiller steering for trolling for several reasons. You sit in a comfortable seat, you steer with the steering wheel,. If the wind starts blowing you off course and you can't correct it by turning the kicker you can just start the main motor, get yourself back on track and then shut down the main motor. I've been doing this for years works great.
      However I think the best way to troll is to mount an electric trolling motor with remote steering control and auto pilot. Once you set the troll direction you are good to go. If you need to change speed or direction you can do so with the remote which is half the size of a tv remote. What's even better is it's silent.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the input so far.

        Originally posted by Sprig View Post
        However I think the best way to troll is to mount an electric trolling motor with remote steering control and auto pilot. Once you set the troll direction you are good to go. If you need to change speed or direction you can do so with the remote which is half the size of a tv remote.
        Can you explain this a bit more and how it works for trolling with down riggers? I am looking at a Motorguide Xi5 bow mount that is capable of doing what you say, however I wouldn't even imagine trying to run that for down rigger trolling.

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        • #5
          What kind of fish are you trolling for and what type of water, lakes, bays, rivers, ocean? I've been using downriggers here in California for 15 years in lakes for trout, salmon, Kokanee. Most people here on the west coast use downriggers for these fish and probably half or more use electric motors for trolling.

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          • #6
            Target fish for now are Walleye and Lake Trout on the Great Lakes and some other places. All fresh water/lake fishing. The only 2 uses I've run electric motors for is positioning with a bow mount for crank baits and jigging as well as a transom mount motor on smaller boats in electric-only lakes etc. So that is why I ask - all the insight I gain will help steer how I do my set up.

            As for the kicker I'll go the tie-in route with the main. That made more sense to me up front. Plus, if I am 60-70 miles from home the last thing I want to do is run the kicker from the transom. I've had my main go (dead battery and couldn't rope start) when I was about 8 miles out and ended up going on shore, getting a stick, sawing it to length, and zip tied the stick to tie the kicker to the main so I could steer it at least from the seat. In a pinch it worked, but I don't want to plan on that with a new set up...

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            • #7
              You use the electric just like the kicker motor. Set it in the direction you want to go and adjust the speed and then just troll. I don't know anything about trolling for walleye. Here we troll for the species I mentioned including lake trout or mac's. I don't know what speed you troll for walleye but here we troll for trout etc. anywhere from .8 mph to 3.5mph. If you have to troll faster than that for walleye then the electric may not push your boat fast enough. Again the majority of fishermen here use electrics for downrigger trolling including the guides. Wind can be another factor. On windy days the electric may not be powerful enough to keep you on course. Most people have 2 batteries for the electric as you can drain a single battery in 2 or 3 hours depending on conditions and speed.
              I went out with a friend recently who is also a guide. His boat is a 22' heavy gauge aluminum Rogue Jet with a 225hp Honda. He uses his electric 100% of the time for trolling with downriggers and it pushes his boat just fine. He has a 15 hp kicker but I don't think he has ever used it. Anyway any questions you have please ask. I'm pretty knowledgeable about downrigger fishing as that is what I do 80% of the time. We don't have walleye here in California (I wish we did) but I fish for everything else. If it has fins I fish for it.
              Last edited by Sprig; June 23rd, 2017, 11:23 AM.

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              • #8
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                Regardless of whether moving the boat at trolling speeds with a kicker or a bow mount electric the key to trolling is speed and directional control. I have a 15 HP kicker on my 19 foot StarCraft and we built a connecter to the 115, no way I would have it any other way. What a pain buddy's boat is to run back and forth to adjust speeds and direction. Trolling whether with riggers, Dipsy Divers, Jet Divers, Snap on weights or Lead Core etc. here on The Great Lakes is more than pointing the boat in a straight line and setting the speed and waiting for a hit. Bait and schoolling fish do not swim in a straight line nor do they maintain the same speed and depth.

                I have no idea why anyone would choose to man a tiller "if" steering can be done at the helm. All my electronics are there and I want to see what's below me where I'm going and where I have been. Can't do that from the back of my boat.
                Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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