Actual Dipsey Diver-Downrigger Depth

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Actual Dipsey Diver-Downrigger Depth


Capt.Jimmy Samia


Knowing your actual dipsey diver-downrigger depths in real time while trolling is paramount to maximizing your fishing success. Would’nt it be nice to have a way to just look at your outfits whether dipsey divers or downriggers while they are deployed and know within a few feet where they are actually running below the surface? Well, there is and it”s basically free!

A while ago we included an article on our website called “Do you know where your stuff is running” which outlined some very good insights on how to figure out actual dipsey diver-downrigger depth when trolling on Lake Ontario. Although we still use a lot of those methods to determine our actual dipsey diver-downrigger depth today, we finally figured out an easier way that works in real time and in any direction under all conditions. It all goes back to high school trigonometry. Yup! Good ole high school trig.

For figuring out the actual dipsey diver-downrigger depth, we will need to use only two trigonometric functions. For dipseys, we use the sin function and for downriggers we use the cos function of the angles created by these apparatuses as they enter the water to determine actual dipsey diver-downrigger depth. Here’s how it works for the dipsey. If we look at the angle created by where the dipsey line enters the water and the surface of the water, we can take the sin of that angle and figure out the opposite side of that angle which would be the depth that the dipsey is running at. For the downrigger, we will use the cos of the angle created by where the rigger cable swings back from the rigger pulley at the end of the downrigger arm and calculate from there.

Working out an example for an actual dipsey diver-downrigger depth for dipseys would go something like this. Let’s say that we wanted our dipseys to run down 80 feet in the column, actual depth. We look at the angle created by the dipsey line and see that it’s 20 degrees (angle “A” in diagram below). Using our smartphone we look up the sin of 20 degrees and see that its value is .34. Remembering that the sin=o/h where o=the actual depth(opposite side in diagram below) of the diver in this case and h= the hypotenuse or in this case the amount of dipsey line out, we can then figure that  .34=80/h  remembering that h (the hypotenuse in diagram) = the amount of line we need to let out on the diver. So, solving for h we get h=80/.34 which equals 235 ft of dipsey line that we would need to let out to get the depth we wanted of 80 ft in the column.

dipsey diver-downrigger depth using trig functions

use sin of angle A for dipseys

Working out an example for an actual dipsey diver-downrigger depth for downriggers is also quite similar except we are going to use the cos function of the rigger cable angle as it comes off of the end of the downrigger(angle B in diagram). Lets say we want to run our downrigger ball down to a depth of 80 ft in the column. We estimate the angle of the rigger flare (angle B) to be 15 degrees . We look up the cos of 15 degrees on google and see that its value is .97. So in this case cos B=a/h where a=the adjacent side to the angle or in this case the actual depth of the rigger ball, and h= the hypotenuse or in this case the amount of downrigger cable we need to let out. We find that   .97=80ft/h  solving for “B” we get B= 80/.97 which equals 82 ft of line we would have to let out.

actual dipsey diver-downrigger depth using cosine function

Use cosine of angle B for downriggers

Using trig functions to determine actual dipsey diver-downrigger depth may seem a bit daunting at first, but once you get used to using them, they can really save the day. Granted, we use a Fishhawk X4D on our downrigger which gives actual depth of our downrigger, it’s still nice to know that you can use some high school math to verify its accuracy or reverse engineer the angle of the cable (angle B) to get the feel for it. There is also newer technology on the market today that is supposed to give you reel time underwater feedback of downspeed and depth for copper lines,riggers,and dipseys called Smart Troll , but it’s pricey. It cost over a 1000.00 dollars. It’s newer technology and the jury is still out on it overall performance.

We used trig functions this past summer to determine actual dipsey diver-downrigger depth and it really helped us to dial in on the fish. The temperature was really deep that particular day and our dipsey divers were not getting bit. in fact, the whole charter fleet was starving for dipsey diver bites. Because of the deep temps and wicked underwater currents, we knew that we would have to run mag divers to get down to the fish. The temp was down 125ft. We noticed that the angle of the dipsey line to the water was about 22 degrees while trolling east. Using our formula we took the sin of 22 which was .37, so to get down to 125 ft in the column we calculated .37=125/h where “h ” is the hypotenuse or the amount of line we had to let out which was 125/.37  or 338 ft of line out. We ran our dipseys out to 340 on the counters and don’t you know are dipseys started firing. When we were trolling in the opposite direction, in this case west, the angle on the diver was about 30 degrees ,so …sin of 30 degrees =.5  then 125/.5=250 ft of line out. We then starting catching fish on the dipseys going west as well even though it took  90 ft less of line out.

To those of you who got through this article on actual dipsey diver-downrigger depth and understand it, give this a try next time you’re out on the big pond pulling dipseys or setting downriggers. It really does work. For those of you who missed those days in high school and are still struggling to wrap your head around this, we suggest brushing up on your high school trig, or just go back to guessing or experimenting to get your dipseys to go. As always, you can read more about Lake Ontario info and tips on our website

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Lake Ontario Brown Trout Fishing

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Lake Ontario Brown Trout Fishing


Capt.Jimmy Samia

   Lake Ontario brown trout fishing out of Oswego,NY can and is a savior at times for our charter fishing adventures especially from June all the way through the rest of the summer. There will be days when salmon and other species such as steelhead will not be readily available to catch. This could be caused by high off shore winds or the wrong temperature profile being available to promote good fishing for salmon or the other species.  This is where brown trout fishing on Lake Ontario can really shine.

A June limit of Lake Ontario Brown Trout

June Brown trout fishing on Lake Ontario produces nice catches of brown trout like these.

   Lake Ontario brown trout, by nature, inhabit the waters that are often more closer to shore than other species. They can typically be found in depths of anywheres between 10 to 120 ft of water from the month of June on. Brown trout are also predictable in that they will usually be found where 55 degree water intersects with the bottom of the Lake. For example, if you put your temperature probe down (we use an X4D) and find  55 degree water down 70ft in the column, then we can usually expect the browns to be stretched horizontally along the shoreline in 70 ft of water at or near the bottom near this 70 ft contour.

 Now that we know where to look to start our Lake Ontario brown trout fishing excursion, we then must choose which lines and apparatus to use to effectively put our lures at the correct depth. Here’s lies one of the biggest secrets to catching brown trout on Lake Ontario and that is putting your spread out so that it covers from 55 degrees to as high as 68 or even seventy degree water. That’s right! Even though you will see the browns scattered along the bottom at the 55 degree intersect, the active browns will usually be higher up in the water column in the warmer water.

Lake Ontario brown trout fishing lead core catch

A giant Lake Ontario brown trout caught in 70 degree water on a lead core.

We have caught some of our biggest brown trout in 70 degree water on lead cores off of in-line planer boards  during the dead of summer.

   So what lures should you use when Lake Ontario brown trout fishing? The answer is,”that it depends”. Let me try to help narrow it down a little bit for you. Earlier in the season as well as earlier in the morning when the light is low, stick baits such as Smithwicks, Rapalas, and Thundersticks get the nod, especially off of the high lines either flat chutes or in-lines. The rest of the time we are most likely to be running spoons. Here, items like Michigan Stingers and R&R spoons will get deployed.

  One of the other secrets to be successful in catching Lake Ontario brownies is trolling at the right speed and this can vary as the season wears on. Our typical speed is somewhere in the 1.8mph downspeed range but there are days when this will very. Watching how the fish react towards your spread when on turns can give you clues as to what speed you should be pulling for that day.If the fish are hitting on the inside of your turns, that’s a pretty good indication that speed should be lowered as the fish are hitting on the drop as the lure is slowing down.

   Another often overlooked key to Lake Ontario brown trout fishing success is knowing when to leader down on your presentations. When the temperature is up in the column and the water is clear, leadering down in line diameter can make all the difference in the world as to whether you will catch fish or not. There have been times when we are fishing tournaments that we have leadered down to 6 lb test to get bites on pressured fish in clear water. It does take some rod handling skills to battle and land these brownies on the lite line, but patience and steady pressure will get the job done in good fashion.

  One of the nicest things about Lake Ontario brown trout fishing is that it makes for great sport for women and children, especially when running lite tackle.

Lake Ontario brown trout fishing family

Lake Ontario brown trout fishing family fun when everyone gets in on the action.

It is not uncommon to catch brownies in the mid to upper teens during one of our charters and with the lite line it can take quite a while to battle and bring the fish to net. With the equipment that we use on our charter boat the “Ace”, women and children as well as those that are physically challenged can have the time of their lives catching big browns. Also keep in mind that most days the browns can be quite active which promotes a lot of action on the boat, When you have the right stuff down, multiple hook-ups at the same time are quite common.

  Some of my favorite times on the water on Lake Ontario are spent brown trout fishing with families including women and children. It’s an absolute blast to watch the excitement that is generated when several rods go off at once and the fire drill in back of the boat ensues. There are anglers in back of the boat up against the transom doing simultaneous battle with brownies hooked on the other end of their lines. Clients shuffling back and forth to keep the lines straight is also exciting to watch and experience. The smiles on their faces when the fish are netted and brought on to the deck of the “Ace”  says it all.  Give us a call at 413-346-7675 or check out our Ace Charters website for further information.

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Lake Ontario Tournament Report

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Lake Ontario Tournament Report

This will be the final Lake Ontario Tournament report for Ace Charters and 2014. Once again our Ace Charters professional team managed to do quite well finishing 4th in the Oswego leg of the Lake Ontario Pro-Am series, a two day tournament. On day one we managed a 12 fish limit but once again, day two was a lot tougher for the entire field including us.

Lake Ontario Tournament Report

Day one scores at Niagara Pro-Am 2014 week two

Continuing on with the Lake Ontario report brings us to the Sodus leg of the Pro-Am series turned out to be quite a disaster for our team. On day one, we only boxed nine fish with one king salmon and the rest brown trout. What was most disappointing was that we dropped five kings first thing in the morning. On day two, we let the thought of how other teams were doing get the best of us. We in fact, broke one of the Cardinal rules of fishing,”never leave fish to find fish”! We made a team decision to run some 25 plus miles back to our home port of Oswego to go for a home run thinking we could box 12 kings. We had received reports that evening that the fishing was good there.

Running 25 miles and burning up  over 2.5hrs of potential fishing time turned out to be the worst decision we had made since the inception of the team. We did not even come close to boxing out with kings and even struggled to catch brown trout which we were able to catch the day before in Sodus. We finished out of the money and whats even more disturbing, we broke a four year streak of always finishing well enough to cash in every tournament that we had competed in! Oh well! I guess hindsight is always “twenty twenty”!

The Lake Wide Cup once again seemed to elude us as if it’s never meant to be. Last year as those of you who have been following us know, we finished second overall in the Lake Ontario Lake Wide Cup championship falling hard luck to teams with fish not weighing in on day two. The scoring for the Lake Cup is very similar to NASCAR and is based upon how you perform each day as well as bonus points for overall placement.

This year there was a new twist in our race for the cup that kept us out of first place once again and we felt that we had to include this in this Lake Ontario tournament report.The way that the rules read was that teams had to compete in at least one of the west end tournaments, either The Wilson Invitational or The Oak Orchard Open. You would think that with this requirement, that at least one of the scores from the west end would have to be counted. Well!!! Not So!! Our team found this impossible to believe but so was the case. I’m not taking anything away from Team Screamer who ended up winning the cup, but if one of the West end scores had to be counted for the LAKE WIDE CUP not the whichever end of the Lake you felt like Cup, then our Ace Charters pro team would have not only won the cup, but also had it locked after the Oswego Pro-Am. ONCE AGAIN WE FOUND OURSELVES FINISHING SECOND OVERALL FOR THE LAKE WIDE CUP.

You can read about oue new policy concerning fishing future tournaments at    If you scroll down you will see it highlighted in read font.


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Ace Charters Tournament Results

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Its been a while since I’ve had time to actually sit down and write about what’s been going on with the Ace Charters tournament team in 2014. I am very proud of my team and their performances this year while we have journeyed to the western end of Lake Ontario as well as Canada.

Our first stop was in Niagara county for what used to be called the Niagara pro am. We manage to box a twelve fish limit on day one and found ourselves just a few points out of first landing comfortably in second place. On day two, our luck did not hold out as well as we only managed eleven bites and boated seven out of those eleven. It did however, turn out to be a tougher day for everyone and we managed to hold on to second place in both  the classic and short box divisions. When it was all said and done, we were rewarded with over $5000.00 in winnings.

Our second stop during the very next week found us competing at The Oak Orchard Open some thirty miles east of Niagara. Our day one performance was outstanding as we managed to boat our ten fish limit with only twenty minutes to spare before quitting time.  We once again found ourselves in second place on day one. Our day two went a little bit better than day one in terms of boxing out more quickly, but we did fish till the very end and with the cull rules in this tournament in effect we upgraded with a nice lake trout. That upgrade sealed another second place finish for our Ace Charters team in as many weeks.

The third stop in as many weeks found us in Bluffer’s Park, Toronto, Canada fishing in the first of the King of Kings Titelines  tournament. We managed to boat only five of our eleven king bites during this one day event. To accentuate just how tough the bite was, we managed to finish  ninth out of sixty boats with only five fish of a six fish limit.

Last but not least, do to our outstanding performances, our team is now in first place for the Lake Ontario Lake Wide Cup. Point standings for this prestigious endeavor is determined by overall performances of the entered teams as the fish tournaments across the Lake. Wish us luck to continue to do well and bring home the Cup.

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Installing The Lowrance Gen 2 Touch with Marpa

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Lowrance Gen 2 Touch with Marpa


Capt.Jimmy Samia

  We just finished installing the Lowrance Gen 2 Touch with Marpa aboard the The “Ace” our beloved charter boat. What started out as just a simple replacement for my older inoperable LCA 5000 radar with the Lowrance 9200c turned out to be an adventure in modern day electronic installation and interfacing all being brought about by the inability to procure a rim 200 radar interface chord for my 9200c chartplotter from Lowrance.

Lowrance Gen 2 touch with Marpa

Gen 2 Touch Display

   After doing the research and seeing what was available while keeping within my price range, the Lowrance Gen 2 Touch along with the optional 3G broadband radar seemed like the way to go. Upon further reading and inspection of the features offered by the Gen 2,  it was discovered that this unit was compatible with  Marpa. So, what is Marpa? Marpa is an acronym that stands for “mini-automatic radar plotting aid”. Simply put, it is an aftermarket radar feature that allows you to track up to ten other boats in real time on your radar screen.

    My original intent was to keep my purchase under the $3000.00 mark for my radar which would have been just fine until I discovered Marpa and just what it would take to get it fully functional. Here’s the kick in the teeth. If you read the features’ list on the Lowrance Gen 2 Touch you will see that it is Marpa functional. What you won’t see is all the additional electronics and connector chords that are required to make it work and of course, at additional expense. Here’s what’s required to get the Marpa up and running.

Lowrance Gen 2 Touch with Marpa and NMEA 2000 Backbone

Nmea 2000 Starter kit

NMEA 2000 Kit needed to start the Backbone

  First and the most expensive additional item required is an electronic compass that updates at least 10 times per second. We ended up purchasing a RC 42 electronic compass manufactured by Simrad. See below…

RC 42 Compass from Simrad

A compass such as this one is required for Marpa functionality

Low and behold, Simrad,Lowrance, and B+G all belong to the parent company Navico. The next item needed was an interface box called an R110 which allows the 3G radar to create the calculations needed for the Marpa to function. Also needed are the adapter cords to allow the interfacing of the different items from the different companies so that they can all work together. There are Simnet chords, Lowrance ethernet cords, Simnet adapters,  nmea 2000 backbone which requires separate power, and “red” T-connectors that ,get this, are actually black in color.

  When it was all said and done, the additional expense to get the Marpa to function was an extra $1000.00 or so, none of which was explained or detailed in the product descriptions as being necessary for the Marpa to work. It seemed like once you got started down the Marpa road, it’s was like getting caught in a quagmire as your learn about all the additional items that you will need to purchase to get the Marpa up and running. You will learn about the NMEA 2000 backbone which requires a Lowrance starter kit that includes a power supply cable, a few patch chords, and end resistors that  have to go on both ends of the NMEA 2000 backbone in order for it to function. You will also discover that they have things set up so that you HAVE to buy additional cords and connectors that wouldn’t be necessary if they would just make a male to male patch cord in the first place.

   In any event, with the help of my good friends, Lynn Thompson Jr. and Sr., John Wise, and Scotty Richardson, the Lowrance Gen 2 touch with Marpa is now installed and functioning aboard the “Ace “. I will post  updates on its functionality as I get further into my charter fishing season.

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