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OK so I plan on working a 5 rod spread. with Umbrellas and or Tandems my question is how do i know how deep the umbrellas are or tandems for instance I have 16oz 8oz and 20z weights. How do i know how deep they are gonna run if i put some out at 50 ft 100 ft and 200 ft
 

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There are lots of formulas & they can be accurate but often depend on a lot of conditions.

I measured how far back i let out a single line and trolled toward shallower water until lure was jumping on bottom, recorded speed & depth & repeated. It works & is fairly consistent but will vary with current, speed, amount of line out and other factors as well, but is a good estimate.
 

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There are lots of formulas & they can be accurate but often depend on a lot of conditions.

I measured how far back i let out a single line and trolled toward shallower water until lure was jumping on bottom, recorded speed & depth & repeated. It works & is fairly consistent but will vary with current, speed, amount of line out and other factors as well, but is a good estimate.
I concur. Time and practice is the only way to know for sure how a set up runs on your boat. GPS, RADAR, fishing forums are all excellent but nothing beats time on the water.
 

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If running boat rods - you can get very good idea of depth of lure if you see a fish on meter and then get a strike.

When I see a nice fish - I watch the rods and slowly count. Somewhere around 8-12 seconds the 100 foot rod will get hit - if that fish saw lure.

12 -15 seconds would be the 150 foot back and 15-20 seconds the 200 line. This is at 2.8-3.0 knots.

Rockfish almost always attach from below so if I see a fish at 20 feet and my 150 with 12 ozs gets hit - safe to assume that was running 17 to 19 feet. Perhaps a touch shallower in clear water but almost certain it was not deeper then 20 feet.

Although it takes some time - the advice of others about bouncing bottom and recording weight / line out is very good.
 

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A tip I was given was to run from deep to shallow. With your spread out and see where they start bounching. Note the depth for each, soon you will have your own depth chart for your rigs. I will give a word of caution, there is a ton of **** on the bay floor so do this at your own risk. It has worked for me and luckily I have not lost any like this. Well except for a #2 in line planer and a spoon. Just an fyi that set up skips bottom in 22-20' of water at 10 bars back at about 3kts. Also if you dont catch fish after an hour and your marking and other are catching. Try changing depths, speeds, and direction of travel. For a 5 boat rod spread i run one WWB down the middle, a tandem on the back corners and two umbrellas off out rodders.
Good luck!

Mike
 

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There is a Line angle versus length of Line that I use which is pretty accurate. I'll send you a copy. RockStarFish post is a good one as well. I prefer the angle method because it takes the wind/tide into account. PM me after the holidays. I will have the chart transferred to excel. My copy is so faded I can't make copies anymore
 

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During the Fall season, that ended yesterday for the Chesapeake, you will want lures down deeper. Most bigger fish are much lower in the water column.

One easy technique is to use a 16 or 20 oz round bottom-bouncer weight about 20 ft in front of your boat-rod lures, or at least some of them. One reason for the decent length leader is that it keeps your lures from slamming along the bottom and picking up muck.

I prefer 2 arm spreader-bar lures with teasers and tandem lures - vs 4 arm umbrellas. The reason is that umbrellas may flip and tangle when they hit bottom. A flat spreader-bar lure will remain straight and glide along the bottom, even bounce off.

With the bottom-bouncer rig, let the lure out until you feel the ball-weight hit bottom (line stops going out when you hit bottom so keep the clicker on) at trolling speed, then quickly crank about 5 ft or so of line back onto the reel.

Watch your depth finder as you are trolling, maintain approximate speed and if you get more shallow, you may see rod-tips bouncing and will need to crank-in line until they stop.

If you move into deeper water, you will let out some line until the weight hits bottom and then crank a little bit in. Again, this is only a Fall rig and the bouncing technique saves a lot of math.

In the Spring, you'll want to cover the water column but fish are not as low when they are feeding. They look up and also swim up to feed, therefore, you won't need in-line weights (maybe a few lighter ones). Those charts will get you in the ball-park and that is usually just fine.

It's easy to get too anal about depths but it's nice to have an idea of where your lures are running. That's because will be able to see which depths most fish are swimming in the water column, on your finder. Then you can adjust your lures accordingly.
 
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