De-mystifying Cannon Downrigger’s Bottom Track Feature 18

May 21, 2013 by Tom Nelson

Somehow, the three words “looking forward to” this summer’s salmon season just doesn’t cut it…

Obviously this feeling is shared among a few members of our Forums as I’ve been getting a bit of verbal “heat” over the lack of a new downrigger tech blog. So, as a clear indication that I’m responsive to abuse (just ask Robbo), here is the requested –and promised- ‘rigger tech blog.

One of the recurring questions that we see on our Forums concerns the bottom tracking function of the Cannon Digi-Troll 10. Basically the DT 10 has a digital Depthsounder built right in to the downrigger and all you have to do is add a Cannon transom-mount transducer to unlock this powerful feature.

Now you must set three parameters: Maximum depth you wish to track, “Blowback” or the extra amount of cable you wish to pay out in addition to the digital depth and “Sensitivity” which is the amount that you allow depth to change before the downrigger will react. I usually set “Max Depth” to 225 ft. and “Sensitivity” to 3ft. Your “Blowback” setting will change with your fishing depth, speed and current conditions.

Rob Endsley and I have a video on the use of the Bottom Track feature and it should clear up any questions you may have.

A commonly asked bottom track question –and one that has likely occurred to you- is “what happens to my line tension when the downrigger automatically changes depth? Great question! Well, through my years of using bottom track, I’ve learned a few tricks to the trade.

One of the best tricks is the use of heavy-tension Offshore Red Releases when bottom tracking.

The Offshore Reds are a double spring pinch style release that will pull line off your reel as the downrigger automatically drops the ball in all but the highest drag settings.

On the other side of the equation when you troll into shallower water the ‘rigger will automatically raise the ball and so you’ll have a larger belly in your line which you should “tend” or crank up. If you don’t remove the slack, you’ll still hook fish but probably not with the high landing percentages you are used to.

When you consider how much effort you put in to fishing close to the bottom with a standard electric downrigger, constantly lowering and raising the weight while managing the line on your reel, it’s easy to see that Cannon’s bottom tracking feature is a huge labor-saving, fish catching advantage!

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle


Don on Jan 28, 2019 at 11:53 pm said:

Good afternoon, I have a cannon digitroll 10 ts , I mounted it as per instructions . Took it out to the lake, in ten feet of water it read 280' so it unspooled like crazy then corrected itself and reeled back up like crazy. It seems to be doing this at all times . Any advise ?

Miles Crawford on Apr 01, 2018 at 5:43 pm said:

Love my Digitrol 10's... Been using them for almost 3 years now. Had to move my Cannon transducer to the other side of the transom and play with fish finder frequencies a lot to get my two transducers to like each other. My problem now is that the downrigger on one side has become "slow to respond." meaning you press the UP, DOWN or whatever and it is between 1 and 3 seconds before the ball starts to move! In addition the "water zero" gets off by as much as 10 feet after it has been cycling up and down several times with bottom tracking. On the working downrigger, I can track within 3 ft of the bottom and rarely have a problem. The other downrigger if I try to track closer than 18 feet I am asking for trouble. It worked find for the first year or so but this has been an issue ever since. I have checked the voltages to both units, my batteries are good (and being charged constantly by my 9.9 kicker) and everything else seems normal. I swapped the two downriggers around and the problem follows the same downrigger. I thought maybe updating software or possibly replacing the controller card in the downrigger. The Cannon tech people said there is no way to update software. They also said they did not think it was controller card and pointed me back to voltages, etc. which again and again check out fine. Any ideas would be appreciated. Miles Crawford

Mark on Mar 22, 2018 at 3:38 am said:

I am considering the purchase of a Cannon bottom tracker. Please tell me if the transducer works as part of the bottom tracker or if it works off of my GPS or fish finder in my boat. It isn't clear to me. i have a 2006 20 ft 2052 Trophy walk-around boat with electric Scotty Downriggers at this time. Also, I looked for a bottom tracker at Cabelas and the Bass Pro Shop. Neither of the carry it. Where can I see one? I would like to learn more. Could someone call me please? My number is 360-477-9632

Terry Cousins on Mar 28, 2016 at 7:36 pm said:

Question I have a digi troll 5 can I get bottom tracking set up on this using my hummingbird helix 7si gps

Justin on Apr 30, 2016 at 5:28 pm said:

The DT 5 bottom tracking feature is only available with the cannonlink module.However the module was discontinued and the 98 series core units were the last to have 898,998,1198 or older 899 and above not supported.

Dan Q on Feb 15, 2016 at 4:04 pm said:

Hi Tom After getting past the learning curve for bottom tracking setup, Chinook were being caught. Two foot sensitivity works well in CR out of Camas. Dear Wife gave me a "Sub-Troll 900" speed and temperature sensor by Moor Electronics for Christmas. This should really help get dialed in for Kokanee lake fishing. Installation involves changing down rigger wire. Instructions are comprehensive and pertinent to Cannon riggers with auto-stop. Regards and best luck to all. Dan Q.

rick on Jan 26, 2016 at 11:45 pm said:

Hey Tom, I actually bought your digi 4's from you a few years back but now am ready to upgrade to the 10's. What additional equipment do I need for the 10's? I already have the transducer and relay cable, but have heard I need a hummingbird depth finder or some kind of a control box to run them unlike the 4's. Didn't see anything on cannons website. Thanks Rick

Nelly on Jan 25, 2016 at 8:03 pm said:

Hey Dexter, It sure sounds like you're getting a turbulent water flow over the face of your Cannon transducer. Make sure that the trailing edge of your 'ducer is LOWER than the leading edge and that it's located away from your boat's main depthsounder transducer! Good luck!

Dexter on Dec 10, 2015 at 12:41 am said:

Yes I am having a similar problem. The sonar reading on my digitrol 10 suddenly goes to zero and the digitrol 10 starts to raise the weight to the surface unless I stop it by pushing the up or down button. The sonar reading stays on zero for several seconds to over a minute and will come back on again, and the unit will start working normal again. Be sure that you have installed the latest software . My units were fluctuating very badly until I installed the latest software. Also ,changing the transducer angle helps a little. Dexter Ibara

Brennan Clifford on Mar 10, 2018 at 8:48 am said:

I had a similar issue with two Lowrance models an HDS 12 and elite 5, the HDS would freeze and show the wrong depth, I thought it was a connection issue and so I went through all the wiring over and over again checking every pin on the plug for damage , corrosion and continuity and found nothing, upon reading causes of interference I saw some stuff about transducers being mounted too close together so I moved them to opposite sides of the stern and haven't had any issues since, I do not have Cannon downriggers so I have no idea if this is the same cause but just a thought, PS I had them mounted 12in apart Centerline of each transducer which I believe is what Lowrance recommends for the minimum spacing it's been a long time since I mounted them so I don't remember exactly, and it doesn't make any sense to me because I believe they broadcast different frequencies? But I have a pretty minimal understanding of how that stuff works?

Mike Mauk on Jul 28, 2016 at 4:31 am said:

How do you update the software on the digi troll 10?

brett on Apr 28, 2015 at 6:39 pm said:

The sonar on my digi troll 10 constantly fluctuates it seems i have tried everything im using a lowrance fish finder and even insulated the cables. Anyone else have this problem?

Jack on Dec 25, 2015 at 7:00 am said:

Where is your transducer located? Is in next to the Lowrance transducer(s)? Is it submerged when underway at troll speed. Are you tied into the correct port for the cable? I have four transducers total on my boat 2010 Skeeter WX1900 transducer for downriggers is located port side under kicker motor near bottom of boat. my 2D for my Hummingbird is located thru hull center of boat at rear epoxied into the fiberglass . My Side transducer is located starboard off center slightly under main motor. Last transducer is located on trolling motor, all are tied into both my Birds except the Cannon unit, it is linked to both my Digi-Troll 10 TS

Miles on Nov 29, 2015 at 2:48 am said:

Yes. I have to turn off my low range sonar when using bottom tracking, it's frustration.

Yohan on Apr 13, 2015 at 7:50 pm said:

Hi Tom, Thanks for the great article and video! I hope I am not too late to ask a question... I have been investigating different downrigger techniques lately, including bottom tracking, and am wondering if anyone instead does temperature tracking? In other words, you move your ball up or down in order to reach the best water temperature for the fish you're after. This would take a sensor like the Cannon Intellitroll (which I think is no longer made), the Depth Raider, or the Fish Hawk. Do you think this would be a valuable technique? I have not really tried it myself yet. Thanks! Yohan

Tom Nelson on Apr 17, 2015 at 9:48 pm said:

To my knowledge there is no "temperature tracking" feature available on downriggers but on the bright side, there's your million dollar idea!!!!

Dan Quinn on Oct 07, 2013 at 11:31 am said:

Hello Pease, can I expect results ( improved catch ), using Digi-Troll 10 on bottom hugging Columbia River Spring Chinook? Regards Dan

Tom Nelson on Oct 16, 2013 at 3:34 pm said:

Hey Dan, It depends on where you're fishing springers. Honestly, I mostly use Cannon Digitrol 10's for deeper salt water applications but I have used them for springers in heavy currents with excellent success. Good luck and thanks for the question!

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