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October 26, 2001

Keep Your Distance

This is and easy alernative to cumbersome planers and down riggers.

Trolling live baits deep presents a challenge to all fishermen. Down riggers often get in the way and look ugly hanging off your gunwales. Planers and trolling sinkers make you hand-line the fish in the last 20 or so feet to the boat. For the last 35 years, I've used a system that allows me to keep my trolling sinker the proper distance from the bait.
First, attach a 20-foot section of clear mono leader (I use 50-pound) to your running line using a blood knot or similar knot. Slide an egg sinker (sized to suit your conditions) up the leader to a point just above the knot connecting the leader to the running line. By holding a section of running line just in front and just behind the sinker, let the sinker sag down, forming a "U." Slip a small rubber band over the sinker and around the running line. Tie or crimp a snap swivel on the terminal end of the leader to accommodate the wire leader that you'll attach your bait to.
When a fish strikes, the rubber band will either break or pop off, allowing the sinker to slide down the mono leader to the top of the wire. Dental bands, like those used on braces, work well, but any small rubber band will do.
An additional benefit I've noticed with this rig is that if your bait dies and starts to spin, twist is limited to the leader section below the rubber band and not your entire line.
Capt. Ken Roy
Whopper Stopper
Crystal River, Florida