What’s the best way to catch more fish on downriggers? Double down by fishing two lures on each line. Running two lures on one fishing line when using downriggers is a common rigging method, but most anglers take the easy approach and fish what is known as a “free slider” to accomplish this goal.
Downriggers are the ultimate depth control tool for trolling. Using an add-a-line rig, two lures can effectively be fished on one downrigger line. Using an add-a-line is easy and doubles the effectiveness of rigger fishing in the process.
A free slider is a spoon or other lure rigged to a six foot length of fluorocarbon line that features a snap that is clipped over the main line. Once the lure is placed in the water, it is free to slide up and down the main line.
Free sliders work in that fish strike the lure readily. The problem is that when a fish bites that lure on the free slider, the angler has to reel in a ton of slack line before coming tight on the fish. Lots of the fish that bite the free slider rig end up escaping before the line can be pulled tight.
The solution to this common problem is to pin the second lure to a specific spot on the main line using a simple line release like the Off Shore Tackle OR14 Medium Tension Planer Board Release. Known as an add-a-line rig, this rigging method puts two lures on one line and allows the angler to designate where in the water column both lures are running.
Start by cutting about a seven foot length of fluorocarbon line as leader material. For trout and salmon fishing a 20 to 25 pound test leader is best. For walleye fishing a 15 to 20 pound test leader works nicely.
On one end of the leader tie a snap swivel and add your favorite trolling spoon or plug. Next thread an OR14 release onto the line using the hole on the end of the release. Finish the rig by using a Polamar knot to tie on a heavy duty snap.
To rig up let the lure on the main line back the desired distance and place the line into the downrigger release on the downrigger ball. Lower the ball about 10 feet and stop. Now toss the lure from the add-a-line rig into the water and clip the heavy duty snap over the main line. Finish the rig by pinching open the OR14 line release and also placing the release on the main line.
Paige Kuiper is all smiles over this exceptional cisco caught trolling an add-a-line in combination with a downrigger.
This effectively pins the add-a-line in place so when the downrigger ball is lowered to fishing depth, the add-a-line goes along for the ride. The typical way an add-a-line is set up positions the add-a-line 10 to 20 feet above the main lure fishing at the ball.
When a fish grabs the lure on the add-a-line the resistance of the OR14 provides an instant hook set and keeps tension on the fish so the angler can trip the downrigger and come tight against the fish quickly. While fighting the fish the add-a-line slowly slips down to the main lure.
This simple rig is deadly effective at not only controlling the depth of the second lure, but providing enough resistance that when fish bite they are hooked solidly. It only takes a few extra seconds to rig and fish an add-a-line, but the benefits to the serious downrigger enthusiast are priceless.