Zeroing Out A Scotty Downrigger

Occasionally when fishing with downriggers you’ll have the need to zero out the counter so it correctly shows the right amount of line out.  Often this happens when you change out the cable or recrimp the terminal connection.It is personal preference on what you want to start at 0.  Some people do it from the bottom of the ball, some from where the clip attaches, etc..

My preference is to do it from where the clip will be while it is fishing.  You can determine that by having the ball and clip attached, and then holding the clip close to straight up.  This simulates the pull of the line on the clip caused by having your line tight enough to put a nice bend in the rod.

Whatever your preference the process of changing the counter is easy for Scotty downriggers.  The process is the same on both manual and electric models.

First let out the amount of cable to the location it will be when you want the counter to read zero.  This is best done on the water when you can be sure it is in the right location.  If doing this on land, then you’ll have to make a best guess – and be prepared to a final adjustment on the water.

Next remove the cover.

Unzeroed Scotty Downrigger - Cover Off

You’ll notice along the assembly is pretty simple.  The counter has a little gear attached to it.  The gear gets moved by the pegs on the spool.

To zero it out just spin the little gear by hand until it reaches zero.  You may need to adjust the downrigger spool, so the pegs are out of the way.

Lastly put the cover back on.

Zeroed Scotty Downrigger


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3 thoughts on “Zeroing Out A Scotty Downrigger

  1. You don’t need to adjust the downrigger spool to get the pegs out of the way. An easier way is to remove the 2 nuts holding down the counter, remove the counter and reset the numbers by rotating the “gear.” If you have a lot of rotations to do, you can chuck the “nipple” of the “gear” into your drill and spin it very quickly while holding the counter in your hand to get it very close to zero. Then rotate the last few numbers by hand. I just did this today and it was a simple and effective method to reset the counter to zero. Amazingly, Scotty has no published help on this topic.

    1. Thanks for the idea of using the drill. That is a great way to make a large adjustment. For on the water adjustments it is probably best to leave the parts attached and adjust by hand.

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