FISH FIGHTER DOWNRIGGER WEIGHT
Would you pay $85 for a downrigger weight? Not me.
But half that price wouldn’t be out of line and perhaps a bargain considering the big-bucks “canon ball” does the work of two or more weights and comes with the unique features of the Fish Fighter variable weight model.
When I used manual crank downriggers on my boat, I had ‘rigger weights of various sizes to use, depending on how deep I needed to fish. No sense in hand-winching up a 12-pounder if I was only lowering it 15 to 25 feet. An eight-pound weight would work at that depth without having an excessive blow-back. Even now, with a set of electric ‘riggers at the back of my boat, I use smaller weights when I’m fishing shallower and heavyweights when I’d putting ‘em down, way down.
The Fish Fighters work on the same principle as a set of adjustable weight barbells. The “weight” part of the weight are thin, steel plates a downrigger user can add or subtract to the sides of the devise to vary the total poundage, like adding additional weight disks on a barbell. The one I sampled could bulk-up in incremental steps from one to 14 pounds.
The individual side plate weights bolt to the sides of a thin, stainless steel center plate. Each weight comes with two detachable tail fins, one is straight for the riggers on the stern to keep the weights tracking straight, the other is bent ten-degrees to become a rudder which sways the weight to the left or right adding a few feet (or several feet on deep sets) of spread to the lures positioned on the out-downs.
When changing the weight, leave the polished steel outer side plate in place if you like a flashy ‘rigger weight. Take it off if you just want a black, stealthy weight. www.fishfighterproducts.com.
This is an idea which is either really revolutionary or completely useless. Which side you fall on depends on how and where you use your boat.
Most outboards and sterndrive boats come factory equipped with an aluminum propeller. They work pretty good and aren’t priced as though they are gold plated when compared to stainless steel propellers. Aluminum props have one side benefit or drawback (again depending on how and where you use the boat). Aluminum is a much softer metal than the stainless steel from which propeller shafts are made.
The drawback? Hit a rock, a good hard tree stump or the concrete on a boat ramp with an aluminum prop and the propeller will show it. If you are lucky, one or more of the blades will be slightly bent; less lucky, one or more of the blades will be chipped; even less lucky and there will be chunks missing from the blades and the prop so out of balance you’ll be lucky to be able to run the boat at much more than idle speed.
The good news is it’s highly unlikely the prop-shaft on your lower unit will be broken. An aluminum propeller can be repaired or replaced for much less than the cost of replacing the propeller shaft.
A popular alternative for people who operate in areas where whanging a boat’s propellor into a rock, stump or other obstruction is commonplace is to swap the aluminum propeller for a stainless steel model. These don’t come cheap but the stainless blades will definitely stand up to much more abuse than those on an aluminum prop.
Being tough and strong is fine until the blade impacts something so hard (or so often) the propeller shaft gets twisted or breaks—or perhaps some other gear explodes up inside that mystical box called the lower unit. I ruined many aluminum props until I switched to stainless and have broken prop shafts and gears using my stainless steel propeller. Here comes the Piranha Propellor.
The Piranha looks as though it’s made of black plastic, but it’s actually made of a a hard, composite material, so only partially plastic, partially resin, partially who knows? The hub part of the propeller is actually made of an aluminum core, over molded with their resin/plastic/ composite material. The hub is guaranteed for life.
The hub is guaranteed to never break because the blades will. Whang into a stump, floating log, submerged rock or some other hard object and the composite blades will break off. Here’s the deal, however. The composite blades are easily replaceable and only cost $10 each, give or take a buck depending on the size. Hit something hard? Tilt up the motor and in a couple minutes, the damaged/broken blade or blades can be swapped out and everything down there is good as new.
I installed one on my boat and took it out for a test. I noticed no difference in performance between the Piranha Prop and the stainless steel propeller I normally use. Available in three and four blade models for motors from six to 280 horsepower. Check out www.piranha.com for prices, dealers and on-line retailers.
- as featured in GLA Tackle & Toys by Capt. Mike Schoonveld