Braid vs SS Downrigger Wire

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Braid vs SS Downrigger Wire

Postby LisaMarie » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:14 am

What is the view on Braid vs downrigger Cable? Has anyone fished them side by side on same gear to get an idea if there is something to the voltage of the SS wire attracting Fish? I would run Wire if it does improve chances. But, I prefer braid due to it is easier to work with, doesnt stick your hands with frays like wire does, Quicker to change out if needed... etc. I dont see any advantage to using wire unless there really is some sort of attaction to fish to the voltage carried.

Also, how is voltage carried down the line? Usually the spool is plastic and thus insulated from the rest of the boats electronics. The only thing I could see is that there is a field around your boat in the water. As the wire touches the water it then becomes part of the path of electricity. As the wire is lowered through the water colum it would carry the voltage down. I could see that, but now you get near another boat with downriggers out. Wouldn't it act like a Batteries in Parallel and thus vary the amount of voltage being carried down?
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Re: Braid vs SS Downrigger Wire

Postby Dan Carney » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:29 am

Here is a good article that explains what you are asking about:

http://www.sschapterpsa.com/ramblings/Black_box.htm

That aside, I recently switched from wire to braid. I ran wire on one side and braid on the other last summer. I didn't notice any real difference on fish caught or blowback on my boat. The main reason I switched is that I am running manual DR's and feel that the braid cranks up easier. Add to that the fact that it doesn't kink, you don't need special terminator kits, etc and it was an easy choice for me. Cannon electric Dr's have electrical field control built into the unit and must run wire.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Braid vs SS Downrigger Wire

Postby Nelly » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:45 pm

Hey guys,
Once upon a time when I was a Pro-Staffer with a certain Canadian downrigger company, they came out with a Spectra braid downrigger line.

Brother, I was SOLD! No crimps, Black Boxes, rusted wire, bloody fingers from handling frayed cable...Perfect!!! Until I fished it...

I only had time to put the braid on one downrigger after the Seattle Boat Show when the Spectra line was introduced and with word of a hot blackmouth bite it was time to go fishin'
For some reason, the port side of my boat has always caught more fish and, being excited about the braid, I ran it on my side of the boat, the port. A good friend of mine fishing voltage controlled stainless on the starboard hooked EIGHT fish to my ONE. My excitement about braid started to wane considerably.

The original braid was larger than wire which made it blow back farther and I couldn't catch my ass with it!

About three years ago, the "Low Drag" braid debuted and again, I gave it a try. I run Cannon DT 4's that have a large, digital counter and do indeed accomodate braid as the auto-stop function does not depend on the Positive Ion Control. Once again, the braid was absolutely DOMINATED by voltage controlled stainless wire.

I agree that wire is a hassle! It should be replaced every other year and requires special tools, crimps, gloves and Band-Aids! Braid is lower maintenance, avoids the electrical aspect of downrigger fishing and might be the better choice for occasional angler that doesn't want to mess with Black Boxes, Positive Ion Control etc.

The bottom line for me was and still is: If it catches more fish, I will use it...Period. Since wire catches more fish in my boat for the way I fish, its wire for me all the way.

To LM's question about how voltage is carried down the wire from the spool: Cannon Downriggers have an electrical contact at the base of the spool which the end of the downrigger wire is wrapped around. So, the very end of the wire at the bottom of the spool is the electrical connection which is much more effective than a contact that merely rides on the wire, wet or dry.

Hope that helps, T
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Re: Braid vs SS Downrigger Wire

Postby LisaMarie » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:20 pm

This is the part that gets foggy.
1) OK your boat may have stray voltage leaking into water via metal contact through Fiberglass hull or an Aluminum Hull. I buy that...
2) By grounding the metal that comes in contact with the water to reduce / iliminate leakage....Ok so far so good.
3) But, what if after all that your voltage down your wire is still too much? Adding more voltage would make the problem worse. Based on Ohms Law ( Voltage = Current X Resistance). And Since we cant mess with Current (leakage around the boat) the only way to reduce the voltage is to add resistance right? How does a Black Box add resistance to the wire?
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Re: Braid vs SS Downrigger Wire

Postby LisaMarie » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:33 pm

Found this info from another site (Direct Copy Paste)

I finally found the report I mentioned in my post yesterday. It was actually a presentation by Bill Russell, a marine electronics expert from Victoria, that he gave to the Oregon Sea Grant Advisory Program on Dec. 16, 1975. Mr. Russell had worked closely with Canadian Salmon trollers for over 20 years about electrical and electronic problems. During that relationship he developed the concept and realization that "a trolling wire having a positive voltage will catch more fish than one with a neutral or negative voltage, especially during "scratch" fishing conditions". He stated that optimum voltage is between 0.3 and 0.7 volts positive with respect to the boats ground system. The trolling lines must be insulated from the boat and that the proper voltage field around the boat and lines can only occur if the vessel is properly bonded. He stressed that bonding is not grounding to the electrical system, but a separate circut not used to carry operating current.
He goes on to describe how to effectively bond together all the metal objects on your boat, both in contact with water and not and corrosion implications if not done correctly. His primary purpose in working with the trolling fleet was to try to develop methods to keep their boats from corroding out from under them and through that research the fleet catch numbers increased when certain conditions existed, i.e. the 0.3 to 0.7 positive volts.
Most of the descriptions and drawings in the report detail how to effectively create the bonding system in larger inboard boats, but the principal applies to every type of craft. I won't bore you with the technical process and drawings (if you interested, email me and I'll be glad to copy the whole report and send it your way), but suffice it to say he suggests a copper pipe bus and wires to EVERYTHING. He especially addresses the main shaft/outdrive and methods of accomplishing the task.
While trolling, the metal parts not connected to the bonding system (trolling cable and lead balls) set up an electrical field because of the dissimilar metals. That's what you're looking for. At this point he describes using a volt meter between the cables and bonding system to check if the cables are isolated (cables in the water about 6-8 feet). You want to see some voltage present. Also use the meter to check between each metal part and your bonding buss. There should be no current noted.
One intersting point he makes is that zincs just attached to a non-metal hull provide no corrosion protection until bonded to the metal part you want to protect. You can test your amount of protection you have by using your meter between the zinc and each metal device in the boat. The voltage should read 0 or no protection.
Once the bonding system is done then you check the actual voltage between the boat (bonding system) and wire; + to wire - to bonding circut. The voltage will be between 0-1 volt. As the voltages increased, catch rate increased until about .5 or .6 volts. Greater than that, the fish still hit, but were wilder trying to get them to the boat and more were lost. He felt voltage about +.5 the best. If for some reason the voltage was - fish would avoid the gear.
It's interesting that Cannon electrics used to use the water as their - pole (unit would shut off as the ball left the water) and actually created a - voltage environment. A good friend, that typically is very successful and has a great catch rate, bought a pair of Cannon electrics and noticed his very apparent decreased success. No offence to Cannon. I don't have any relationship to any downrigger manufacture, so no angry posts please. Only posing a question and personal observation. I don't know if Cannon still uses the same circutry. It was a couple of years ago. He added a Scotty Black Box that helped some. When he sold them on EBay and changed to a different brand he noted an increased trolling success. Go figure.
Anyway, another possible cause of a negative value is impure lead in the downrigger cannonball. Cannonballs cast from tire weights are notorious. It's suggested to check every cannonball on each wire with the meter or isolate them from the system with something like Scotty's plastic/nylon ball clip or use of a coated ball. A contaminated ball is typically the reason one side of the boat fishes better than the other, different voltages present. With the boat bonded, the wires isolated, and cannonballs checked, voltage should be +. If the voltage is low, more zincs can be added to increase the voltage, to a point. Attach the zinc to a wire that is bonded and lower it over the side. Check with the meter. Keep adding zincs until no further change is noted; probably +.5 or +.6 volts. Excessively high voltage may cause corrosion of the trolling wire, so just be aware. Not a bad thing, but may lead to the need to change downrigger cable. If you get a white powdery substance around a bonded metal fitting, it may be an indication of too much zinc.
All this said, this is the way you reach the desired voltage situation galvanically. A black box accomplishes basically the same result by placing that same +.5 to +.7 volts directly to the wire. Bonding is still a necessary process to acheive your desired result.
The unit I purchased on EBay for $5.50 plus shipping was called 'Electrocatch' by Scientific Fishing Systems. They were developed for and used by the commercial trolling fleet. The gentleman I purchased from was from Merlin, Oregon. His EMail in 6/2001 was rradam@internetcds.com. I don't really know if the adress is still current. He stated at that time that he had a bunch more of the units. The unit is completely sealed and waterproof and has a built in meter for output voltage(set at +.06 volts). For the money, it was an inexpensive lark and hasn't chased fish from the boat. If nothing more, after reading the report he included, it forced me to bond my boat.
By the way, typical disclaimer applies. My only connection ito him or the product is that I purchased one. Hope this was worth your time. Again, if you'd like a copy of the report, just let me know. Tight Lines.
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Re: Braid vs SS Downrigger Wire

Postby Nelly » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:00 pm

Hey LM,
Thanks for posting that!
Bill (Malcomb) Russell was an electrical engineer/researcher who worked closely with Dick Pool who is now CEO of Pro Troll.
Russell and Mr. Pool first brought the Black Box to the recreational market after Mr. Russell built the very first units for use on commercial trollers.

In their excellent book and video on the subject of fishing electrically, Pool & Russell point out that the natural electrolysis of any boat is simply the difference in the nobility of the underwater metals. In this case we're talking about the difference in galvanic activity between your boat's zinc sacrificial anodes and stainless steel downrigger wire. A new, clean zinc and fresh stainless will produce roughly 0.8 Volts which is too hot for salmon fishing.

To test your own boats natural electolysis, get a multi-tester, launch your boat in salt water and let a downrigger cable into the water a few feet. Ground the negative side of the tester to the negative side of the your boat's battery and touch the positive side to the downrigger cable. Without voltage control, it's going to read about 0.8 if you boat is correctly zinced.

What Cannon's Positive Ion Control or a Pro Troll Black Box does is actually turn the voltage of your wire down to the optimum voltage for salmonid attraction.
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Re: Braid vs SS Downrigger Wire

Postby Reel Deal » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:38 am

I have played around with both and have been running the Scotty Low Drag stuff for going into 3 seasons. I love it. The "blow back" is a non issue. As for voltage well that is an entirely different subject all together.

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Re: Braid vs SS Downrigger Wire

Postby koolkatkitty » Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:31 pm

I just came across one of those electrocatch units from Scientific Fishing Systems, the box had not even ever been opened till I opened it a few days ago. Pretty neat fishing line voltage stabilizer. It even has all the original paperwork dated December 16, 1975 ...a lot of info on Bonding of Boats and Adjustment of Trolling Wire Voltages prepared by Edward Kolbe, Bruce Mate, and Robert Jacobson. Just thought I'd share that info, and let you know if you needed any information from original paperwork.. Let me know. My father and grandfather were both Electricians and avid fishermen, some good memories. Unfortunately I have no use for the system except as a paper weight due to my serious fear of being on the ocean, and have alwas fished either the rogue river here in oregon, or anyone of the lakes near by from the bank. LoL
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Re: Braid vs SS Downrigger Wire

Postby JAKE MOORE » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:34 am

My one main complaint is that no matter how many band aids i may have to use, i can see my cable getting kinked and fraying (my fault) beatdeadhorse if not replaced when braid frays its my whole set up on the bottom.. $100ish bucks. That and i have fished 2 with braid and 2 with cable and cable still out fished braid.. I will be trying braid on my 2 middle downriggers this year with a 2 pound weight difference just to give them another shot!
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Re: Braid vs SS Downrigger Wire

Postby Nelly » Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:00 am

Hey Jake,
Frayed cables are an unavoidable -and unwanted side effect- of crimping ball hooks on the cable's end thumbdown

Ever since I've gone to the Cannon Terminator my days of frayed, broken cables are over!
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Give 'em a try! No more crimps, crimping pliers and no more worrying about your crimps! cheers
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