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September 21, 2007

Leave the 'Rigger Deployed

Don't wear yourself out retrieving that downrigger ball every time you miss a strike or want to check the condition of your trolling bait. Here's how to save the effort for fighting the fish: When you start trolling, lower the downrigger ball to the desired depth. Now drop your bait or lure back 30 to 40 feet. Loop a rubber band (I use those labeled "number 19") through the eye of a snap swivel. Then loop the rubber band around the fishing line and fasten the snap to the 'rigger cable. The baited line will descend the 'rigger line when you back off the reel's drag slowly. It will stop descending when the drag is tightened. To check on your bait, simulate a hook-set and the rubber band will pop the baited line free of the downrigger. Keep a few snap swivels on hand rigged with rubber bands and you're ready to redeploy the bait.

—Capt. Stan Mitlehner, Indialantic, Florida