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Old 03-29-2015, 01:49 PM   #1
City: Seattle
Country: USA
Vessel Model: 34' CHB Trawler
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 15
Scotty or Cannon Downrigger?

I'm going to put two manual downriggers on my '77 CHB. The electric ones are two expensive, and what use is your buddy's kid if you cant get him to crank up the weights for you when you get one on?

I've been looking at both the Cannon and Scotty models, and can't tell which is better. I like the built in rod holder on the Cannon, but I've read that the mounting system on the Scotty is pretty good.

I also would like to figure out a good alternate mount, so I don't have to drill into the teak on the gunnels under the rails. But I also acknowledge that the mounting plate on the gunnel may be the superior mounting option.

What model has been working for you? And if you've mounted the plate on your teak topped gunnels, what suggestions do you have as to method/precautions.


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Old 03-29-2015, 03:32 PM   #2
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I used to run salmon charters on Lake Michigan. You are in Seattle, I assume salmon are your target. Speed will be a problem. Again I assume you have a single engine with a 26+ wheel. In gear, you will probably go 3-4 mph. Too fast for salmon in our area. We go 1.5 to 2.5 mph. You can add a trolling valve to the trans which works well for some.

As far as downriggers, big Jon is the only way to go. 90% of the charter boats around here use them. www.bigjon.com

Manual riggers get real old real quick IMO. Especially if you are yelling Fish On a lot

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Old 03-29-2015, 05:03 PM   #3
City: Port Colborne
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I agree with greatlaker. Big jon is the way to go. I have had manuals and they work fine. I run 4 electric now but that's not how I started.
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:13 PM   #4
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SE Alaska is probably 80% Scotty electric.
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by BallardPilot View Post
I've been looking at both the Cannon and Scotty models, and can't tell which is better.
Following up Old Deckhand, it seems like 99% of the recreational downriggers on the BC coast and Puget Sound are Scottys, and it seems like 99% of those are electric.

Fisheries Supply in Ballard, Seattle Marine at the Fishermen's Terminal, Trotac in Victoria, Harbour Chandlery in Nanaimo... the only downriggers they carry are Scotty.

I also would like to figure out a good alternate mount, so I don't have to drill into the teak on the gunnels under the rails.
We have mahogany caprails on our boat and went with the Scotty 1025 side gunnel mount to avoid drilling them. Works great.

Adding: for manual downriggers, try Seattle craigslist. Folks upgrading to electric will almost give them away.
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Old 03-30-2015, 12:51 AM   #6
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Interesting. Never heard of Big Jon.
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Old 03-30-2015, 04:36 AM   #7
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Messrs. BP & NS. Re: Downriggers. I suspect, like a lot of items there are regional "favorites". From what little I know about DR's, one's choice will depend on what particular options are to your liking (built in rod holders, mounting styles etc.) as they all seem to do the job that they were designed for. Two considerations...Are they salt water compatible? Are they readily serviced in your area?
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:33 AM   #8
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I don't have manual downriggers any longer and if you're really into Salmon fishing, on a bigger boat you will move up to electrics quickly.

Both the higher end Scots and Cannon are really nice with built in pole holders, I also have an older Cannon that we still use, the mount isn't hinged and is sometimes a pain. But overall it's better quality downrigger than my Scots, with both up and down electric and free wheel controls, counter and 48' boom.
The Scots have a superior mount, which swivels fore, aft, and tips up to retrieve the ball and line which is really a nice feature with 60" boom.

Just don't buy a downrigger with a short boom. You need to keep the downrigger wire away from the hull and running gear on turns. You don't want that in your prop. It's a good idea to use Spectra downrigger line instead of SS wire.

Good season coming up with good silver and pink salmon returns forecast!!
Larry B
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:25 AM   #9
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My Scotty Strongarm's are 17 years old and still excellent. Had the same for 7 years on my C-Dory. When I've needed common parts, they're readily available. When I needed a less common red plastic part, Scotty sent it to me at no cost. Hard to complain about.
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:23 PM   #10
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I agree with Greatlaker-- a cruising boat is a poor trolling platform unless one can slow it down below its typical idle speed which is too fast for trollng for kings but can work at times for silvers. I also don't like the freeboard of most recreational cruisers. Too high.

We have a dedicated fishing boat we use for salmon, ling cod, and halibut. Its low freeboard makes it easy to deal with big fish.

As to downriggers, we fitted Penn downriggers to our fishing boat when we bought it in 1987 and they have been absolutely flawless. I and a lot of other people feel they are far superior to either Scotty or Cannon.

But....... Penn no longer makes downriggers and parts are getting hard to find. I just bought enough parts to keep our two Penns going for the next 30 years, but if I had to buy new downriggers today I would probably take a real hard look at Cannon because I prefer a vertical cable spool.
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:32 PM   #11
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If you want parts, wherever you are, go with Scotty. Every fishing store and marine fuel stop has essential spares. I have Walkers and I like them, but in the Pacific NW you need to go with the flow and buy what everyone else is using.
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:27 PM   #12
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I had Big Jon electrics on Lake Michigan, and they were great. Brought one to the Keys when I moved down here 10 years ago. It didn't hold up to the salt water and 5 kt trolling speed. Bought a Cannon manual a couple of years ago ( cant remember the model, one of the high end ones) and I like it fine. The guys on The Hull Truth, another forum I belong to, seem to like the Scottys better, however.
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Old 04-12-2015, 06:55 PM   #13
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I think it is a regional thing. On Vancouver Island, Scotty out sells eveything else 1000/1. I am a Scotty retailer. Have also stocked Cannon, Penn, Walker and Big Jon. The Cannons were twice the price of the Scotty's with a complicated circuit board prone to failure. One of our guide customers was given a pair for free just to get them out there and seen. He is now using Scotty's again. When A Scotty breaks, a shop can fix it with parts in stock. Cannons have to be sent to a repair depot. Penn has gone away, they were good but parts were tough. Walker and Big Jon we could not give away. So we stick with what is easiest, and go with the flow.

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