Converting Downrigger from Cable to Braid

When it comes to downriggers I’ve always been a traditionalist.  The stainless steel cable always got the job done without issues.

However after some friends converted to braid and were raving about it, I started thinking about switching over too.

So when I noticed one of my cables was fraying, I decided this was a good opportunity to give it a try.I purchased the Scotty braid kit, which includes the braid and a terminal snap.

Manual Downrigger

First I cut off the existing terminal connection with a set of wire cutters

Cut Downrigger Cable

Then I pulled off the cable, except for about the last 3 feet.  This last bit of cable provides a nice solid base to add the braid to.

I connected the braid to the cable using an Albright knot.  With the Albright knot the thicker line is bent into a loop and the thinner line wrapped around it.  So the cable was bent and the braid was wrapped.  The result looked like this:

Cable To Braid Knot

Then I cranked the downrigger to spool up all the braid onto it.  While doing this make sure to keep the braid tight so it lays down well.

Like cable, the braid is thin and hard on your hands to grab to do things like haul the ball into the boat.

So I attached a length of paracord to the end of the braid.  I used the Albright knot again for this. The paracord was about 3 feet long, but you can go as long or short as you want.

The next step to put anything on the line that needs to be there.  For me this was the downrigger retriever and the rubber stopper.

Lastly I attached the paracord to the terminal snap.  For that knot I used an Improved Clinch knot.

Paracord to Snap knot

Like with any knot, make sure all these knots are tightened down snuggly and give it a test pull to make sure it is good.

The final assembly should look like this:

Fully Assembled Braid Downrigger

And, of course, I roughly zeroed out the downrigger counter.  Then later on the water I performed the final adjustments.

This setup has surpassed my expectations and I’ve been extremely pleased with it so far.  I really enjoy the paracord.  It makes it so much easier to take the ball in/out of the water at the start and end of the day.

I’m planning on converting the other downriggers to braid too, as their cables need to be replaced.

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