The following describes a “prototype” rig made in 1991 for slow trolling my 26’ Mackinaw, 240 hp, with swim platform. Before you laugh, it is still in use today. The rig may look odd, but has enabled trolling speeds of 1-2 knots. I find it easier than using buckets, doesn’t beat up against the hull, and is forgiving if I have to increase speed (as it just comes out of the water without damage).
I primarily fish for Kings using menhaden (poggie). The bait looks good in the water and shows no significant signs of stress; and yes, the boat catches fish. Surprisingly, lines do not get caught in the trolling rig, though if necessary I will put the rod tip in the water to allow the line to pass under all the boat’s running gear (usually not required). My original intention was to use this prototype to develop a permanent design made of aluminum, but as the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
The trolling rig took about a ½ day to make, excluding time for paint to dry, and was relatively cheap.
Bill Of Material:
¾ plywood (exterior or better)
2 brass door hinges
3” x 2” saddle tee (from Lowes) http://www.oatey.com/apps/catalog/sh...&prodgrpid=373
2” x 1-1/2” reducing bushing
Stainless/ brass bolts and hardware
3 - 10 lb down-rigger balls
Brass Hooks for DR balls and small length of chain.
2 ea. #10 x 3” SS stove bolts with lock nuts.
Cut the plywood in the same general shape and dimensions shown, rounding off the edges (not shown). The plywood must be cut long enough that the saddle tee will extend beyond the swim platform so it can be raised out of the water. The 3” x 2” saddle tee is attached using stainless bolts versus the hardware that comes with the package. Cut a 25 inch long, 1-1/2 inch diameter piece of PVC pipe. Note the 25” PVC pipe goes through the saddle tee and through the plywood for additional support. This will require reaming the reducing bushing to allow the pipe to pass through and also require cutting a circular hole in the plywood. Glue the reducer into the saddle tee. Drill holes at each end of the 25 inch pipe for #10 SS stove bolts. At one end, place a #10 x 3” SS screw between the saddle tee and the plywood after gluing the 25 inch pipe into place. This captures the pipe in the event the glue separates. The remaining #10 screw is attached at the other end to the chain for the DR balls.
Next, attach the completed assembly to the boat by sandwiching the swim platform between the assembly and the 2nd 2x6 using SS bolts. My swim platform has slots in it thus no holes were required (remember "it’s temporary”).
Two ropes are tied from stern cleats to the troller board near the saddle tee to prevent excess travel towards the rudder. A third line is attached to the PVC pipe/ chain to enable pulling the DR balls out of the water when through trolling and to prevent loss of DR balls if the pipe breaks.
The purpose of the 25 inch PVC is to act as a lever to force the plywood down when trolling. The 30 lbs of downrigger balls attach to the other end of the PVC/ chain by using snap hooks. I connect two balls together and then a third separate ball for ease of attachment.
When not in use, remove downrigger balls and attach a bungee cord to third eye bolt to keep troller out of the water.