Me And My Balls!

I was at the launch a while back and had just tied my boat up to the dock when a passerby lookyloo wandered down beside my boat.  Me being the very suspicious type kept on eye on the critter whilst I went and parked my truck and walked back down to the boat.  He was casually looking into the boat and moved back a bit when I went to untie it from its mooring.  He didn't say anything until I just started untying my second rope and he commented "how come your balls are yellow!". My first reaction was of course to turn around and abruptly pop the fellas lights out cause no one calls my balls yellow!  However, being the nice guy I am now that I am a retired policeman I actually took the time to think through what he said a bit and came up to the conclusion that he was in fact talking about my downrigger balls!  Thank goodness for common sense!That's right, my balls are yellow, well, 2 of them are, I also have 2 blacks balls and 1 green one if that means anything to anyone.  This brings up the age old question, should we color our balls or leave them the natural tone that they came in, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?  I have recently read articles from other fisherpersons that use riggers on a regular basis and there seems to be some consensus on the fact that colored balls just might attract fish more!  Do I believe it?  Well, lets just say that the jury is still out on that one, what I do believe though, is that the rigger ball can actually attract fish rather than scare them away. 

So, using that train of thought, would going further and coloring the ball help?  Ya, I think it could, but only if you fish close to the ball like I do all the time for Lakers.  Having a colored ball down 50' and then having your line out 150' behind it might not work so well as an attractant, kinda like having your gang troll attached to your line and then putting your lure 150' behind the gang troll. For lake trout I have the lure as close as 5' from the ball, and in cases like this its very possible that a highly visible ball might attract the fish more than say a black ball, that may not be seen as easy at depth.  Lets remember though that at depth just about all the colors turn grey, so that bright yellow ball is actually grey down there but, lighter in color than the black.  Blues and greens keep their color the longest at depth and as far as the luminescent colors, you still have to have some light to keep them activated to glow brightly.  Now that might scare the fish! Probably the main reason I have "colored" my balls is simple to get a rubber like coating on them so they are easier to hang onto that the plain jane lead kind and, its keeps me from getting my hands coated with lead!  If there's anyone who's like me and handles their balls as much as I do, you have to know that your gonna get your hands dirty unless you coat your balls with something!  The only place I've found so far that has a rubber coating you can paint your balls with is KMS Tools.  No doubt there are others but I haven't found them.  You can paint the balls as well, but they are still slippery and at the prices they want for balls now, I do all I can to hold onto them!  There is no cheap place for cannon balls now, and the factory rubber coated ones are right out to lunch in price.  The cheapest non-finned ball I've seen is at Crappy Tire and was 25 bucks, that's not bad.  

That brings up the next discussion, finned balls!
Yes, I do have fins on my balls?  The reasoning behind having some sort of fin on the ball is to keep it from spinning when underwater, now this makes sense.  When you consider a boat doing 2-3 mph and that ball going at the same speed and being affected by the water turbulence its creating, I do believe its possible that it could "spin", especially when making sharp turns.  As well, the fin should also keep the ball tracking straight and not weaving to much from side to side, again, I say should .  If you've ever actually looked at the ball beside the boat while your moving, you'll see that it does in fact track quite a bit in a side to side manner or else just a quick back and forth at the stern of the ball.  Now multiple that movement by lets say 10 times because you put the ball down 100' and have alot more movement in the ball, how much I don't know but it has to be there.  But, in my opinion, that's a good thing, move the lure around while underwater but, only if the lure is short leashed behind the ball, not out a 100' or more.  A fella from Salmon Arm emailed me recently regarding his sounder and the problem he was having with it 'tracking" his ball underwater, and that it made a big black streak across his screen.  Something he mentioned that I was not aware of is that they now have balls that have a large curved fin on the back of the ball, and this fin actually drives the ball out to the side of the boat!  I guess the thinking in this is that is will separate your balls further apart but really, I'm not convinced this is going to make a big difference to the fish.  I would think that the fish are either not going to be scared of the ball or they are, simple as that.  Fish can hear alot better than they can see, and trust me, that big old ball and that rigger line is putting up some noise that they can hear, so as long as the ball doesn't "sneak up" on them, I don't' think its gonna spook them to much!  My guess is that they hear it long before they see it and if it does bother them, they'll move out of the way long before the ball gets to them.  On the other hand, if it makes them curious, they just might wander in to have a look and, if your line is 200' behind the ball, there won't be much for them to see!The bottom line is, try different stuff if what your doing isn't working for you.  Like Dr. Phil says (and I don't watch him, all the time), "How's that working for you?".  If you ask any of the guys that I fish with what works best for them, you'll get a different answer from all of them. Color your balls, give it a try, if nothing else, it'll get you some nifty comments from other anglers.  Rubber coat them, why not, it might keep you from dropping them overboard with the extra grip they afford.  Sizes of balls?  I go with 10 lbers for freshwater, I'm not dealing with tides and big currents like they do on the coast where they have 15 0r 20 lb balls.  Finned balls?  I would say yes, go with a fin if you can, even if it costs you an extra couple bucks.  I just picked a new one up at Wholesale Sports which has a bit longer fin than the others I have, it cost 28 bucks and tax, cheaper than a local store here in town who wants 62 bucks!!!!!!!!!!!!  Now that's a rip off, shop around.  And, now you know why I have yellow balls!

 

The first one and last three are rubber coated, the green one is just painted.