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Fishermen's Journal


Or, it's rainy, it's wet, I can't go fishing, what else can I do...YUCH

Okay, the weather's getting bleak. The clouds are threatening big-time rain. It would take more than a dedicated fisherman to be out in weather like this; you'd have to be a dedicated fool, too. So, what's a private boater to do? Well, how about a boat improvement project that's sure to add a bit of character to your boat and a few extra fish to the cooler?

This season I had the opportunity to fish on a couple of big sportfishers. Those big boys have some great advantages over a small skiff like mine. First among them is an enclosed head - I'm sure if I had one of those I'd improve my chances of female companionship aboard the old crusty (er, trusty) CharkBait. But, with my available space the best I'll do here is a decorated bucket (thanks Jennifer). Second on the list of improvements to the CharkBait is being able to troll a spread of enticing lures. My little 17 footer barely has a seven foot beam. Sure, I've added some extra rod holders that pointed out rather than back, and added another rod holder to the center mounted bait tank. But, still trolling three to four lines was about it, and these lines had to be staggered to keep from tangling all over the place. Oh, how I longed for more beamage, but that would never do in my garage, or budget. So, outriggers became a fixation...If I only had outriggers tuna would jump in the boat...If only I had outriggers the yellows and dorado would be all over themselves trying to grab my baits...If only I had outriggers, marlin would search me out to play.

I was committed to start finding out more, and plan my purchase. After all, the fishing would slow down sometime soon, at least that's what we all expected.

Well, after dwelling for a few more days on the merits of outriggers I started doing some serious inquiring. I posted a call for help on the CharkBait! website. Sure enough there were some kind souls who shared their knowledge.

Lee's makes the best riggers, good choice. placement on your boat is critical. I put mine on the gunnel , on top of a hardtop would be ideal, but may limit casting room? every situation is different, i use aftco roller releases on mine, helps when adjusting lure position also a high grade pulley for easier deployment. nothing like hearing the line releasing off the rigger before the clicker goes off. ffeeeeeeeeettttttttttttt fish on oh yea good luck - Jeff Gammon

Mark... This is Jeff Klassen. Any chance you can drop me from your mailing list? I am getting small talk from all your pals while having to contend with 30 - 40 e-mails of my own daily. Thanks! By the way... those Perko outriggers suck! I went through 3 pairs of 'em on a panga once in as many months. If you're convinced on the perkos at least get the aluminum ones as apposed to the fiberglass ones. Jeff

Mark, I don't know how big the CharkBait is, but I've got 15' aluminum Schaffer outriggers on my 20 footer. And while they're better than no riggers at all, in general I hate 'em. The bases are flush mounted in the hardtop, they're a pain in the ass to put up, and they're really too heavy to leave up when you're running, although I do it sometimes. They've got 2 positions, up or not up, and on a rough day you risk your life getting them in place. You might check out Precision Marine? In Newport or somewhere like that? He has some new riggers for small boats that are completely adjustable that are supposed to be pretty nice. Good price too, from what I've heard. Jeff

I have outriggers on my Chris. Use em a lot. Nice to pull Daisy = Chains and commotion making rigs. Got hit on them quite a few times this summer. Dan Sunderland

Mark, I know you've been tossing around this outrigger thing and I just remembered what Joe Barian, owner of Bongo's, told me about outriggers right after we bought ours. He said "You should have bought Downriggers". Talk to you soon Mark Capitano

Leave it to Mark Capitano of Nido del Mar fame to put a little reality to the matter. Well, luckily I picked up a downrigger a couple of years back, so I could go forward with my plan. I called a bunch of places and checked a few mail order catalogs. Pretty amazing state of affairs. I was able to find the Lees 15 foot skiff outriggers for only about $20 more than the Perkos, and for less than $250 through mail order. The rigging ran another $39 including some basic releases. I had found the same product at a Newport establishment that does a good deal of business in custom rigs, and also sells their own product. Their price was over double what I paid. That's why I went mail order. I'll absolutely go with Jeff's assessment on the Aftco roller releases. I use their roller trollers for my flat lines at times and off my planer, and really like the product. No doubt their roller releases would be top drawer, too. But, they are a premium priced piece and I'm trying to be cheap, right? And, it gives me a project for next year anyway.

Well, I placed the mail order in early November. I waited, and waited, and called, and exasperated over the delay. There was a good side to the delay, however. I found an advertisement from West Marine for stainless steel flush mount rod holders for under $12 each. While there I picked up a couple of new cleats for the boat too, along with the stainless screws, nuts, washers... Damage, about $50. This gave me a little project to do while waiting on the order. Finally near the end of December my new rigs arrived. This was better than getting a good prize in your Cracker Jacks.


My first impression of the Lees product was, is this all there is. But that's a common feeling I've found when buying boating supplies and parts. The second impression was, "Gadz, these things are big!" Yep, when these things are out I've got about a 30 foot spread. So, now that I had all the parts it was time to go to work. As far as construction equipment, it was pretty basic stuff. All I needed was a drill, hole bits, standard bits, a socket set, a Dremel tool for finishing, a ruler, sealant, and the stainless steel hardware. This isn't too intimidating so far. or
All the tools you'll use to install your own outriggers.
First thing was the measurement. I wanted the things mounted about mid-ship (I didn't have too many options here given the size of my boat). After carefully marking the location of the for the base-plate, I also measured the placement for the line clip. This is suggested to be about a foot towards the stern from the base-plate. With the marking done, it was time to begin the surgery. First, I drilled a single 1/4 hole at the center of the destined location for the rigs. Then I used 1 1/4" hole cutter to slice through the gunnel. Since the base plate/pole holder fits in at an angle I also cut my hole into the gunnel at an approximate angle matching the plate. You've got to be careful here, and use both hands, otherwise you just might really put a serious ding in the fiberglass.  Be sure to stabilize your drill, mistakes are permanent. Also, it's wise to deal with all the fiberglass dust properly by wearing a mask, and doing the work outside.
I tried to drill at approximately the same angle as the outrigger plates. Close was good enough at this point.

With a little fine tuning by way of the Dremil I was able to fit the plate in easily enough.
After placing the plate in position it's now time to drill the hole for the screws. I had to cut away a little of the floatation material to attach the washers and nuts to the 2" screws I purchased. I went with screws and bolts here rather than just the wood screws. It seems to me likely that there's a lot of torque being applied to the plate, and not to use washers and nuts would be risky.

With everything fitting nicely, I slopped on way more sealant than necessary and attached the screws, oversized washers and nuts.

The finished mount came out rather nicely, don't you think?
The next step was installing the cleat for attaching the rigging line. The Lees come with a little slice of steel for this purpose. I felt it was too flimsy, and had wanted to have a couple more cleats for attaching chum buckets or trolling safety straps anyway. The last step was attaching the release clips to the rigging line. This was also a snap. I've really fallen for tieing Palomar knots to most everything that I don't crimp. So, that's what I did here too. It may look funky, but the benefit is that if I'm off in my measurements I can easily gain or loose some line.
tall shipBoy, that Martin at the bait dock sure does take a lousy picture. On top of that I bumped into the only chunk of the dock that didn't have a tire and some carpet covering the steel while waiting on him to finish with a party boat. As a result this darn picture cost me a ding in my fiberglass as well as a half hour of valuable fishing time.Well, that gives me an idea for the next project... After I play around with these things I'll report back some conclusions. Should I have spent the extra $200 for the SOS telescoping rigs? How easy is it to lose a section? Or rings? Did my boat crack? ........I'll be back in a few weeks to report.

Okay, it's now October so my opinions might be worth salt. I like 'em, overall. The hardware was fine, I'll no doubt upgrade the rigging when the pre-packaged supplies wear out, but the stuff's functional. I've so far not lost any of the sections overboard while trying to rig up. That's because I always do so at the ramp if I'm going to be using the things. Sectionals on a small skiff don't work very well in terms of setting up. The SOS telescoping product is a better way to go in this regard. I haven't noticed any problems with corrosion, or any other failure. I've so far broken one of the glass rings, oh, yeah I did drop one ring-pulley-bungie rig overboard while trying to rig up while on the water...But, that's been the only surprise. You'll note on the picture that the angle the outriggers are deployed isn't "flat". I prefer to run them on the opposite sides of the boat as the manufacturer intended, this decreases my spread a bit, but with my limited freeboard keeps the tips out of the water if I'm trolling rapidly in a swell or chop.

that's only half!
050699e.jpg (23185 bytes)With these outriggers deployed, I can run five to seven lines! This pic shows three lines from the port side, plus a center rod leading to the downrigger. The other side had three lines including one flat line. That's a pretty neat trick on a little 17 footer. But then again, some of us need more help than others... The frustration this year for me has been that I've got this great trolling spread, and the tuna have always seemed to be just beyond my meager range. I'd have done a lot better staying local and fishing the yellowtail - while we've got 'em in such numbers. But, that's another subject...


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