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Here's a question that I should know after trolling for the last 15 years... but when we're talking trolling speeds are we talking speed in water as measured by whatever device you have on your rig (I have a paddle wheel and would sure like to know how to calibrate it) or speed over ground as measured by your GPS. I've always gone by GPS and do well but often wonder if I'm missing it as I usually run with the wind/waves and am actually going much slower in relation to the water.
 

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Jim,

Typically there are 3 types of speed methods used for trolling.


1. Speed over ground via gps

2. Boat mounted paddle wheel.

3. Paddle wheel at the down rigger ball.


All three of these devices have there place and all can be effective.



Gps speed will give the speed of the boat is traveling over LAND.

A paddle wheel will give the speed the boat is traveling over the SURFACE of the water. The surface water may have a current in one direction or the other. The paddle wheel mounted on the boat will pick up the surface current. If your wheel is calibrated correctly you will see the difference between the gps speed and the surface paddle wheel speed. This difference will be the amount of current in that particular direction.

The paddle wheel on the down rigger is by far the most accurate speed. Lets call it "down speed"
the down speed will show the speed at your FISHING DEPTH. Thats the most important because, your looking for a specific speed for lure action. Your suface speed could be totally different than your down speed. Lake erie has some serious currents below.

Knowing how fast your lure is running below is very important in my book. I dont always run my down probe but, if I feel there may be some current I will put it down.

If you find an area in a harbor or a small lake that is dead calm, you could calibrate your paddle wheel there. If the water is calm you could use your gps speed as a reference to calibrate the surface wheel.


Dave
 

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Down speed is crucial to understanding what your lures are doing in the water column. If you have every wondered why you catch fish while trolling one direction, and not the other, at least part of the answer could lie with underwater currents. My salmon fishing buddies will fish without a fish finder or GPS...but they won't fish without their speed and temp units.

We run a Depth Raider when they come over here and there is current everywhere you go on Lake Erie. The last day we fished around Niagara when trolling East we had to bump the speed up to almost 3.0mph SOG to get the down speed at 1.8-2.0mph. Going west we had to dial it back to 2.2mph SOG to get the desired speed...and we caught fish going both directions all day long.

I was taught a long time ago that no matter what....either troll into a current...or with a current...but NEVER across a current.
 

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I'm subscribing, cause I could say the same that I know when I am trolling there is a difference at the lure in speed. But didn't know of any option cause I am fairly new, to know how to find out. When I went on a buddy's charter on Ontario, the boat had 1 rigger rigged with a probe for temp. I didn't see speed but imagine maybe it had it. But I didn't notice at first till I asked how come the line on just that one rigger was different from all the others.
 

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Jim, if you have had success the last 15 years with a paddle wheel and gps speed, dont feel the need that you have to go out and buy a down probe tomorrow. However, they are a very good tool for down speed and temp. That probe will paint a picture for you on what going on below. You will be able to find the thermocline and be able to tell when the lake turns over after a blow.

I run a fish hawk x4. The probe attaches to the rigger ball. Its pretty awsome. It is a must for lake ontario. Like I said before I dont always run it on erie but, it comes in handy at times.

It was very easy to install and its easy to use. Its similar to installing a fish finder. It consists of a screen with surface and down temps and speeds. There is also a transducer mounted on the back of the boat. The prop is wireless. It runs on 4 AA batteries. Stay away from units that have a wire or that transmit on the rigger cable. They are a pain.
You will have to calibrate it once its out of the box. This will require some calm water. You will send the probe down so its into the water far enough that the x4 transducer is able to receive a signal from the probe. At a slow trolling speed calibrate the up and down speeds and temps to be the same. Once in deeper water lower the probe. You will see the temp and speed difference if present.
 

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The latest from FishHawk X4+Depth also does depth. why is depth important when you have a depth setting on your downrigger - because of blow back from your trolling speed. the downrigger will tell you the amount of downrigger-line you have out and the new FishHawk X4+Depth will tell you the actual depth that your FishHawk probe is running at -- the true depth.

I also like the FishHawk TD to check the depth my gear is running at and to find the thermocline easily. Put it on the same as you would your lure and let it run out - pull back in and it will give you water temp for every 5-feet of depth. The last temp reading will tell you the maximum depth it is running. For thermocline, i will just run it down the downrigger close to bottom or cast in with a weight attached and then pull up and read depth/temps.

Be aware that the digital versus analog argument by at least one of the companies producing similar devices is marketing hype. All these devices transmit a digital signal so they all will "suffer" from the same claimed digital fluctuations. Just because you change your digital signal to an analog display device does not free you from this problem - it just disguises it - as they ALL do with buffering and averaging before display.
 

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thanks also for the info!
privateer were you out today? I was there in the park, my uncle lives right on the lake down past the over grown golf course about 1/4 mile.
I am thinking the Fishhawk TD maybe the route for me. I use my riggers but not as yet or much, run my jet divers, dipseys, and 5 color leadcore mainly. Now I will in the spring when I go to Olcott to fish for kings on Ontario though. But practicality, thinkin the TD maybe the way for me. Plus 1 less transducer on my transom.

ok nevermind I was just thinking, the TD won't give me my speed my plugs will be running at the depths I need it to will it?
 
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