Safety on the Water ; For any type of fishing, water safety is the prime concern. Trolling speed for many fish needs to be within certain parameters. If you have a inboard or large outboard motor that is incapable of slowing down to a "fishable" speed, there alternatives that can be utilized IF you do not use a smaller trolling motor. There are a couple of brands of spring loaded trolling plates that attach to the cavitation plate of larger motors what place a large restriction right behind the prop. These can be lifted when underway with no restriction at that time.
It is recommended to NOT use a 5 gallon bucket on a line as "slow you down trolling bucket". If the skipper is not attentive, the weather gets bad or things just happen, the line can get wrapped around the prop and the boat could be in DEEP DO DO. This is not good if the boat happens to be in a situation where things get hairy in a hurry. Its amazing how fast things can go real bad real fast, and especially when there are a few mistakes being made along the way. However there are "Drift Socks" which are a tapered opened bottom sock with rope bridles that is better, and it is better to place them amidships instead of off the stern, again to avoid prop tangles.
If you get the line around the prop you will have to pull the engine up and unwrap it, This is bad in that someone is hanging way out back with another person holding onto his feet, trying to do an untangle job and with the boat dead in the water. Been there, done that on having downrigger wire in the main motor's prop. A calm day may not be bad, but these things always happen at the wrong time, tide running, wind blowing and drifting into a problem area. It has the makings of the transom becoming swamped by waves and the pucker factor for those aboard is magnified many times.
It is really recommended that if your main motor does not
slow down enough for safety sake attach a trolling plate or to purchase a smaller trolling motor.
Divers ; These have been around in the same basic form as we have today since the mid to late 1960s. There are many different makes and styles, but the principle is to attach it to your mainline which then acts as a shovel, diving to what depth of line you let out being partly controlled by the speed you are traveling, taking into account of the diver size and for any current movement also. These use no additional sinker to achieve this depth, just the angle of the diver's front edge. Your lure is attached to the rear so when a fish hits, that extra weight of the fish is supposed to trip the tail of the diver down allowing the attaching swivel to tip the diver up and inline with your mainline, where you to pull the fish in with no resistance from the diver.
The first one I can remember came out in the mid 1960s and was made by Collins & Collins in Anacortes Washington at the time. It was listed as patent pending, and they called it The Pink Lady. However the one most seen was made of sheet orange plastic like the 1960s illuminated edge drafting squares that showed a bright edge (reminiscent of my old Boeing drafting days). The 1/8" brazing rod was threaded which then used nuts to secure this metal rod frame to the plastic blade. It had an external teardrop lead weight attached onto the single brass rod arm underneath.
When entering the water you need to be sure that the swivel will ride UP and into the slight bend at the upper part of the center rod. Here it will act as a pivot point to allow the shovel front to engage the water, pulling it deeper. The farther out you let your mainline, the farther it dives, to a point where the drag negates it going deeper. That is why they are now made in different sizes. The principle is that with the leader to the bait being attached at the rear so that when a fish hits the bait, this trips the diver with the swivel being slid out of the top shallow notch, which lets the swivel to go down to a more central front bend location in line with the body, creating minimal drag, allowing you to fight the fish with no resistance from the diver as long as a fish's weight is pulling on the rear cord.
The above description of operation is pretty basic of all makes/models except the Les Davis Deep six and Dipsy Divers, which use a adjustable tension system to retain/trip their units.
Luhr Jenson bought the Collins out around the early 1970s and changed the design slightly by making it injection molded and put lead shot in a hollow cavity underneath. A somewhat improved? copy of the original is back on the market under a different name now of E-Z Diver now that the patents have expired. Colors today can be about anything you want, with chartreuse, but red still being the most popular, with green, blue or just the plain silver coming in also. A change in color sometimes makes a difference to the fish, but with the need for many colors also flattens the fisherpersons wallet somewhat.
Now, they usually come in different sizes and may have different weights also to achieve deeper depths.
Pros & Cons for Different Types ; These all appear to be a knock-off of the original Pink Lady diver. I am not trying to condemn any here, just give what I see as good and even some negative points of each as I see it from my type of fishing perspective. Each make/model has some reasons for being in existence, or at least we hope so.
Some are looked at as improvements, while others appear to simply being designed to get around any possible patent rights. One was designed by a charter boat operator specifically for use on a boat where up to 20 persons who usually are not that knowledgeable are trying to fish in close proximity of each other. For them to use a diver in this situation, it has to be pretty foolproof for their situation if they all are fishing about the same depth. Another is designed basically for river back-troll fishing. Another has a rotating ring, which the fisherperson can adjust to make the diver track away from the boat if need be.
For me where I fish estuaries in the fall, a diver that can not be tripped from the rod end by the fisherperson is a hindrance when your diver has accumulated a gob of weeds and you have to pull the diver's resistance plus the weeds in order to remove these weeds or check or change baits. Anther situation can be if you are fishing more than person one on a small boat and your partner hooks into a nice fish, whereby you need to reel in your line rapidly so you can net it for him. If you can not trip the diver, this takes a lot of effort to reel in a un-tripped diver in any speedy situation. Or just to reel it in to check for a stolen bait is a pain.
As said, they all have pluses and minuses, but all do the job of getting your lure deeper in a short distance, which can help prevent tangles with your partners.
(Original Pink Lady) You will not see many of these being used anymore, as they may well be in the antique category now days (I know I would not use the two that I have left). About the only ones found for sale now will be at garage sales where the seller does not know what it is. Only a few Moldy Old Fogies will even remember them. As I remember, they came about in the late 1960s or early 1970s, and were made by Tommie Collins who was THE pioneer in the diver sport fishing industry. He and his wife Vera made them in his garage in Anacortes WA. The name Collins & Collins Co. probably referred to him and his wife, and sounded more like a big time business. Very lightly etched on the bottom front was The Pink Lady, COLLINS & COLLINS CO, 1313 - 27th St., ANACORTES, WASHINGTON, Patent Pending.
The one problem with is unit was that the bolted together flat sided tear-dropped shaped weight would corrode if used in salt water, then loosen, therefore the diver would not track straight all the time.
I would like to know how many different prototype designs he went thru before he settled on this one. These were the forerunner of all of the divers that followed.
I have recently (2016) acquired one from a garage sale that I suspect may very likely be could be one of Tommie's very early units. There are a few reasons that I believe this (1) It has no Patent Pending marking. (2) My thinking along manufacturing methods, where ease of manufacturing is a timesaver and here I see slight differences along those lines than in the marked ones. On this one the change is the tear-dropped lead weight is cast onto the 1/8" brazing rod (time consuming and requiring a fixture). (3) It also appears that the rough sawed edges of the plastic was buffed, even enough to slightly melt the plastic edges. (4) It has aluminum double nuts, (which corrode if in salt water), one on each side holding the metal frame to the plastic, where the more common one uses brass nuts on top, with pressed on clip washers on the bottom, again a time saver. (5) It is also pink plastic instead of the common orange, maybe his calling it The Pink Lady had a better advertising effect, and he had made enough that he did not want to loose the sales momentum, but later could not get a steady supply of the original pink plastic.
For some reason, this one is smaller in width (2 1/16" as compared to his common version of 2 5/8"). Other than that, everything else is pretty true to Tommie's design, even using the same rear cord AND knot, and the front swivel system attached to the front frame using a large split ring.
|The original Collins & Collins Pink Lady ??||The commonly seen Collins & Collins Pink Lady|
These style of divers (like all other copies) work good unless you get a smaller fish that has not got enough weight to trip the diver. Also IF you need to pull the diver in to check the bait or remove weeds, it is about impossible to trip it off the front, or the rod end. So you are pulling the diver in with all it's diving effort functioning plus any weeds that may have accumulated on it. The advertisement on some makes states "resets instantly when line is allowed to go slack". In essence this would mean to pull the diver in by raising the rod tip, them suddenly drop the rod tip so the diver will un-trip. This may reset a tripped diver, but does not really UNSET one for easy retrieval just to reel in for checking bait or to get out of the water when your partner has a fish on.
(Pink Lady, current model) Somewhere in the early 1970s Luhr Jenson bought out Tommie Collins Pink Lady patent.
In the current versions by Luhr Jenson, just because it has the name PINK in it's name does not mean that is the only color available. Here, as most all of the others, the swivel that is attached to the front bow is where the mainline is attached. The metal frame is slightly different and chrome plated and held in place with clip-washers. The lead weights are simply lead bird shot inserted in to integral a hollow plastic tube.
The current Luhr Jenson model comes in 3 sizes. The #0
(2.250"), #2 (2.500") &
#3 (3.250" wide)
|Luhr Jenson's Pink Lady|
(E-Z Diver) As mentioned before, this diver appears to be a modification to the original Pink Lady, but slightly improved with the addition of an adjustable Nylon depth diving washer. This being a white nylon washer affixed to the main upper wire. By moving this washer up the shaft, will place a stop point of the line attachment that will change the depth of the diver's dive. There is no mention on the packaging as to how deep each different size will dive. They have no mention in the instructions of being able to be tripped by the angler either.
These divers are made in 4 sizes. The 00 size is the smallest with a width of the plastic at 1.800". The 0 size is 2.250" wide and comes with 2 different weight sizes of either a 2 or 4 oz. The largest is 2.625" wide. They are made in many different colors of which some can be had with prism tape of different colors installed on the top side.
They are made by E-Z Tackle Co. Suite 165 9205 SE
Clackamas Rd. Clackamas, OR. 97015
(Delta Diver) This diver is again a modification of the old Collins Pink Lady. It was modified by Chris Schenk, a charter boat skipper from Illwaco Washington. The shape however was inspired by the shape and name of the F-102 Delta fighter planes. One day on the water out of Westport at about the time this version was coming into being, we were fishing for salmon and along came one of these planes, just clearing the water, then not far from us it turned 90 degrees up and climbed straight up going out of sight. Maybe this had happened at Illwaco also inspiring this diver design.
The design has the wider shape blade to the rear as compared to opposite of most of the others brands. Many days of actual on the water testing along with modifications went into it's design which was to have many rods in the water in close proximity of each other.
According to the designer's son; "It's original
design was for charter fishing where you have just a few feet between your gear
and the guy beside you. A falsely tripped diver would result in line tangles,
so the delta diver was designed to auto-reset if the fish came off, or if it was
put in the water in a tripped position." The lead weight is cast
integral to the stainless steel bridle.
The one thing is that since the attaching cord comes off the tail of the blade higher up than the other divers, if you are attaching a Fish Flash or another type of attractor behind it, you may have to attach the attractor a bit farther rearward to avoid turbulence which will disrupt the attractor.
They are made in 1, 2, and 4oz sizes being 3", 3 1/2" & 4" blade length. http://www.deltadiver.com/
(Deep Six) This diver is my favorite if I have to use a diver as it can be tripped at about any time by the fisherperson, (which is a BIG plus) and it can be adjusted for the amount required to trip it. This plastic body is designed being slightly concaved to be more efficient than just a flat blade. Here the attachment point of the diver is the barrel swivel attached to the front wire. Also attached at the same ring as the swivel is another 1/2 swivel with the rear eye removed. This part swivel's body snaps into a stainless upright that has a round receptacle notch matching the swivel body. Below this is a stainless steel screw that runs crossways in the clip that can be tightened or loosened creating the desired tension.
They come in 3 different sizes, the (#0) dives to 40', the (#1) dives to 60' and the (#2) dives to 90'. Then there is also the Double Deep Six, which has more lead weights and it's supposed to dive 50% deeper than the standard version, (#0) dives to 60', the (#1) dives to 90' and the (#2) dives to 135' according to the advertisement by Luhr Jensen. Apparently Luhr Jensen has purchased Les Davis, but since the injection molds still have Les Davis in the process, they have not changed the name of the manufacturer. Then I also find most of these makes, styles that were/are good has come under the ownership of the Rapalla corporation.
In use, you rig it the same as all the others, but here you have the ability to adjust it to trip at your setting. I have never had a problem tripping it off if I wanted to bring it in for inspection, OR MORE IMPORTANT, to get it out of the way quickly if a fish is on another rod.
|Les Davis Deep Six|
(Dipsy Diver) Here is a diver that is that it has a trip adjustment similar to the Deep Six but the attachment bar snaps into the plastic body of the diver. There is also an adjustment screw that pinches the plastic that holds the bar. Around the outer edge is a plastic ring. The advertisement says that with this in place it dives 20% deeper than without. Underneath is a weight system that can be rotated either right or left, which allows the diver to track off in that direction. This can at times be beneficial if there are numerous divers being used off the same boat.
This one also comes in 3 different sizes. The (#030) dives to 20' without the ring. The (#000) dives to 35' with the o-ring, and the (#001) dives to 100' with the o-ring.
I have used these often when fishing lakes for Kokanee and they perform quite well you don't have or when you forget the downriggers.
The one detrimental issue is this outer plastic
ring becoming loose because of one or more of the detent bumps around the inner edge
that secures it to the main body may be broken. I have tried to super glue
this back in place but was not really successful. So next, I
JB Welded it on and that seems to keep it there. The only thing is if you
like to keep it looking somewhat original (no smearing of this black epoxy all
over) is to before it hardens, use a paper towel and Acetone to clean up the
|Luhr Jenson's Dipsy Diver|
(Jet Diver) This diver is not used that much in saltwater but was designed primarily for back-trolling for salmon/steelhead in rivers. It works on the same basic principle as the Pink Lady, but is hollow which allows it to float when no current or movement is applied. The design has changed slightly over the years. The early versions had different pivot point holes on the front and or rear that allow deeper dives, but these extra holes seem to have been eliminated on later production when different sizes were introduced.
This one comes in 5 different sizes and for once, someone thought ahead in the size designations. The (#10) dives to 10', the (#20) dives to 20', the (#30) dives to 30', the (#40) dives to 40' and of course the (#50) dives to 50'.
One well known Cowlitz River fishing guide's
recommendation for using these for back-trolling is to use the water depth to
determine the size needed. If the water is 5' deep use a #10 diver, 10'
deep then go to a #20.
|Luhr Jenson's Jet Diver|
OK, I know this is a diver article but
here is another option, Luhr Jensen builds (discontinued, 2012) this sinker release. It is
just a brass tube with swivels on each end, on one end is a spring loaded
cotter pin that is exposed by a cutout in the body. These were made in 3
sizes. In use you use any weight (including old spark plugs or railroad
spikes) Attach a wire loop the these and pull the spring end cotter pin
out then insert a weight, let the loop go back trapping the weight. When a large fish strikes
the lure, the spring allows the cotter pin to withdraw, dropping the weight.
|Luhr Jensen sinker release|
In Use : The length of line from the rod to the diver is what usually controls the depth for the average fisherperson. You may hear 12 pulls or something along that line used by fishermen when using a diver. What they are referring to is that how far out did they let the diver go. In doing this, let the diver out into the water, when it starts to go down, strip out a "PULL", which is from your reel to as far as you can pull, (usually just beyond the first rod guide eye), this is usually 2'. So if he said go 15 pulls, he was actually out about 30' after the diver is in the water. Now you take into account that the line is probably at about a 40 to 45 degree angle while in the water dragging this diver. So you will actually be down to a depth of about 22'. This depth will also vary depending on how fast you are trolling, or whether into or against the current. This however is a method that can readily be identified with, so you can adjust your depth to a known level. Many times, you don't really need to know how deep you are, but just a reference to how far out you are to a depth where the fish are being caught.
This is the place where the newer line-counter reels really shine as you can see in the chart below. If you let out about 44' of line after the diver is just in the water, you will be fishing a depth of about 28'. Again this may vary somewhat depending on the current and or the trolling speed, however the 40 degree line angle chart will give you some close approximation of your depth. As mentioned earlier, the "pull method" will also give you these same results.
|This chart gives some computer driven numbers using the known angle|
Rigging : These usually are rigged with a 4' - 6' mooching leader attached to the rear with the mainline attached to the front swivel. Here you can bait up a herring, either whole or cut-plugged. But about any lure can be run behind them, like a Coyote spoon or Apex plug, even a bare Spi-N-Glo slid on a mooching rig will catch fish. The larger divers can even be used to pull a flasher or dodger (which has more drag) ahead of the lure.
Shown in the photos below is a herring that was in a bonnet that the salmon hit. I was watching the rod and there was the first dip, then a lighter second dip, but no hooked fish. These photos are of the stripped herring, with the fish having to hit it sideways and it's mouth exactly between the front and rear hook.
|Fish are sometimes magicians|
The amount of leader used can also depend on the lure, as some require a specific minimum length for the lure to become active to it's best potential. Trial and error is the only true method. One thing to consider is that you should take into account of how long your rod is, then how tall the fisherperson is, when tying on a leader. You need less distance for a short rod, or even a shorter person, like a 10 year old child, as it will be about impossible for the person to get the fish close enough to the boat to net if the total leader, diver set up length (especially if a large fish is arcing the rod) which will not be able to get the fish close enough to the boat to net it.
Set up your best shot then put it in the water at the speed you want to travel and watch to see if it does as intended. If not, make changes until something happens.
|Coyote Spoon||Apex / Sting King plugs|
One set-up I have used that is VERY EFFECTIVE on Coho, is a Deep Six or Pink Lady about 14" in front of a medium red Fish Flash with 36" of mooching leader with a #0 orange Spi-N-Glo in front of bare mooching hooks, (Smelly Jelly won't hurt either). Different colors are also effective, like the lime green/red dots "clown" or or a light green/red head.
If you are tying your own leader, tie the hooks farther apart than if they were being used for herring. Mostly I tie the rear hook back about 5 or 6". What I have found is that when trolling the fish will make a pass at the lure and usually miss it as they seem to not come up from straight behind to take it, but from the side and then make a pass at the lure. Many will miss it the first time. With this trailer hook, if they miss, they will have ahold of the line between the hooks, (flossing to some of you), but when they turn away, this trailing hook will imbed in the inside of the opposite jaw. With this system I have NEVER yet had a fish take this lure tail first on with the hooks buried in it's gullet.
You need to place a plastic bead on the leader above the hook and before the Spi-N-Glo to act as a bearing against the knot at the front hook. Here I have found that you do need about 12 to 14" between the diver and the Fish Flash in order to allow the Fish Flash to achieve it's potential in rotation. If closer, there seems to be enough disturbance from the diver that the flasher will not rotate properly.
I usually run this set-up set at about 18-20 pulls out off the middle of the stern close to the prop-wash while fishing downriggers on each side. Many times when fishing for Coho, this one diver will pull as many fish as BOTH downriggers will.
The #2 size diver is not for depth, but to get it down closer to the boat faster and facilitate pulling a possible fish on one of the downriggers while still maintaining a slower trolling speed. When we get a fish on a downrigger, we of course pull that wire, and if things look OK, we leave the other downrigger where it was, but then can then move the diver rod more to the same side as the then functioning downrigger, just to give us more room to fight and handle the hooked fish.
It not only catches Coho, as I have also pulled Chinook and Steelhead with it. This is a great set-up for the Buoy 10 estuary fishery. It is also a great set-up to have as a spare in case your other line/lure gets tangled and you want something back in the water immediately as to not miss a possible bite.
I have had MANY funny looks from other fishermen, but when the fish hit it repeatedly and the others on the same boat using a method of their choice go without, after a couple of days, even the most devout finally out of desperation, have became a convert to my method.
This will work also without the flasher, but I've had so much success on it as pictured, so why change.
In the photo below, the size of the diver is a #1 and the Flash Flash is a small (6"), to facilitate crowding it all into a usable photo. You may note the large plastic straw from Burger King that is cut into about an inch long that acts as a sleeve to hold my leader, works great and the price is right.
I initially set this up for the grandson years ago when he was about 8 years old, (he is 22 now) so he would be busy catching Coho in the ocean. It has proved so effective that many times I now use it as a standard item on a second rod if allowed or as a pre-rigged backup rod.
|Diver / Flasher / Spi-N-Glo set-up|
Recently the Brad's Super Cut Plug bait has proved it's worth. These are a plastic imitation of a cut plug herring. In talking to Brad, he told me that this design was copied off the old Les Davis Cutplug bait. They took a Cutplug and cut/reshaped it until they got the action they wanted, then used the split rear section design off his previous Super Bait, using that as the proto-type for this Super Cut Plug.
These have a hinged tail section with a open cavity inside that you can place scent into. I like to use canned oil pack tuna. A heavy rubber band (section of surgical tubing) to hold the split tail together. These are available in many color combinations, but the ones I prefer are the "Shamrock", Blue Hawaiian" or the "Seahawk" as they pretty much duplicate a herring.
In the photo below, the hooks are not original and on
these the spacing on this plug was designed for salmon
trolling with the current. If you are using it to mooch or plunk fish, I
would probably eliminate the beads and shorten the distance to the rear hook.
|Here the Brad's Super Cut Plug is shown with the hinge part open & showing the rubber band. But with the hooks retied so the front hook hangs just behind the tail of the lure & the trailer hook about 5" farther back. The beads just act as a spacer to position the front hook.|
Shown in the photo above you will notice the BRIGHT red beads and the RED hooks. In my mind this may help in stimulating a bite by imitating a bleeding wounded bait.
Shown in the photo below are other terminal gear
that can be effective when diver trolling. On top is a Brad's mini (3")
Super Cut Plug with a 2" Smile spinner blade tied inline with 4 mm beads to
space it ahead of the plug so as to not effect the plug's action.
On the leader behind the plug are colored 6mm beads to space the front hook at
the tail of the plug. The trailing hook is there to catch short biters.
The front hook is tied solid in this instance.
On the bottom in the photo is again a 2" Smile spinner blade tied inline with colored beads to space it ahead of the slider tied front hook. The slider can be used on different size bait for adjustment to get the proper bait spin. This can be used with whole or cut-plug herring or whole anchovy, even a herring strip. Note the lime-green wrapping on the front hook. This different color mono is used to tie and to be able to quickly identify the slider style hook from a solid tie. In case you wondered, the green leader encasement is again simply a large soda straw cut in sections and slid over the looped excess leader.
|Smile Blade & beads tied inline on rigged lure/bait rigs|
If you have 3 persons aboard a small boat and are using 2 downriggers, the 3rd person many times is not really handicapped by running a diver off the stern. In a 2009 mid July Westport trip when my boat was waiting for repairs on the motor, I was invited out on a friends 18' boat, where I was the 3rd person aboard. I declined the use of a downrigger letting the boat owner use it.
Number one since I was the guest, the boat owner should not give up usage of his gear for me. And also the brand of downrigger the boat was equipped with, I was not that really familiar with on how the brake functioned. Plus I knew I could catch as many or more Coho off the diver and lures as them off the downriggers with bait. This proved true, however the other 2 fishermen each pulled a nice Chinook at a deeper depth that I could achieve off the standard Pink Lady diver I had with me that day. The reason I chose it was that with me being a guest, I did not want to drag my BIG tackle box on someone else's boat, so I picked a smaller diver that fit in my mini tackle bag.
This particular day I chose to use a 5" chrome Sting King plug/wobbler 5' behind a diver with the reel's line counter set at depth of 43'. Initially, I had problems of keeping them on the hook, loosing 2 that came off. So I retied with a 2nd hook like I mention above when using the hang back hook set up. This proved VERY effective. In this Washington State Marine Area 2, that year we could only retain hatchery clipped adipose finned Coho salmon. This day I lost 2, released 7 non clipped (so called wild fish) to retain my limit of 2 hatchery clipped fish. And we limited the boat out then, were headed back to the dock by 2 PM.
|Here a 15# Chinook was not being co-operative as it was hooked on top of the head. Note the diver, bungee & PFDs.|
Cleanliness : Many times in things pertaining to fishing, cleanliness is next to godliness. Therefore think of anything that you touch, or comes in contact with anything that may impart a offensive odor. Do you clean your sardine wrapped KwikFish after using them and putting them away? How about cleaning your spinners that are attached to a lure that you have used salmon roe, tuna oil, shrimp, prawn, or even herring or anchovy? Then there is your attractant dodgers or flashers.
One very easy method is to purchase a painters 5 quart plastic bucket with a snap on lid. Fill it with clean water then squirt a small amount of Lemon Joy soap into the water. Use this to soak your lures and flashers in.
Any of these little things that many fishermen overlook, my be a contributing factor that is why your neighboring boat is catching fish and you are not. Years ago in my commercial salmon trolling years, we used a gallon jug of herring oil, that after we were done pulling gear, all of the spoons, rigged hoochies and flashers were either soaked in or at least dipped in until the next trip. This did two things, it protected the metal parts from corroding/rusting AND removed any bad smells.
of the pictures taken from Luhr Jenson's advertisement.
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