Choosing the correct outriggers for your boat

Right rigger length for the right boat size

Boat Length
Outrigger Length
15ft – 18ft
15ft – 18ft
18ft – 20ft
18ft – 20ft
20ft – 24ft
20ft – 22ft
25ft – 35ft
22ft
35ft +
22ft – 27ft

Choosing a rigger length for a particular boat configuration

When you look at all the boats in Australia there is only two styles, centre console and cabin. However, within those two configurations there is only three effective locations for mounting rigger bases. Gunnel mount, Side mounted on cabin or on the T-Top/hard top. While we have a recommendation for rigger length to boat length, the placement of the riggers will also add some degree of complexity to achieving optimal performance.

 

For example, if we took 3 boats of the same brand and size

Set-up 1

Set-up 2

Set-up 3

Spread

Many people think that the main purpose of outriggers is spread. That is to get the lures/baits out wide and into clear water so the lures can easily be seen by fish. If that was the only reason to use riggers then almost every boat could get away with using 12ft riggers which would almost get any lure into clear water. Off course spread is important, getting the lures as wide of the boat as possible also helps prevent lures crossing over and tangling when performing medium to tight turns.


While the spread achieved through the length of your riggers is vital, it’s not the main function of outriggers. The most important function, which in reality is never talked about or considered by so many, is in fact height.

Height reigns supreme

When it comes to outrigger poles, height rains supreme and this can be achieved through longer outriggers or by the set angle of the base itself. Its far more critical than spread because it’s the single most important factor in how your lures and baits perform. 

 

By increasing height, you will reduce water drag on the main line, leader and snap which intern creates copious amounts of bubbles.  Higher set riggers will force the lure face to angle up making it pop, breath then give off a large bubble trail as it dives. Riggers that are set low place more mainline and leader in the water which in turn makes the lure wallow through the water. It’s a known fact fish are turned off by large amounts of bubbles given off by mono and snaps.

 

Height will also increase the effectiveness of how crisp your line releases from the rubber bands/release clips simply because there is less of it being dragged through the water, it’s a more direct line from the lure to the clip.

 

With higher set riggers you can run your lures closer to the transom which enables you to make substantially tighter turns if you run over a bait ball or mark a fish on the sounder. It also reduces the potential of line crossovers and tangles.     

What angle is ideal for riggers

What angle is ideal for riggers? Anywhere from 40 to 45 degrees is a good range to stay in. However, this comes with a caveat, the shorter the outrigger the more towards 45 degrees you will need to aim.

 

While this angle is optimum it’s not always achievable due to the design of the outrigger base.  Most wishbone bases are made with a pre-set angle while some brands have full adjustment. If you have a base that is pre-set then the only way to change the set angle of the riggers is to pack the bottom mounting feet out in order to lift the rigger tip up. 

List of 10 Common questions I ask my customers when determining the right length for the boat and the configuration

  1. What length is the boat?
  2. Will the riggers be mounted on a hard top or T-top (up high)?
  3. On the gunnels (down low)?
  4. The sides of a cab?
  5. What type of material is the mounting surface made from, is it glass or alloy?
  6. Does the surface have adequate bracing or structure to support the riggers in rough conditions?
  7. Is your boat new? will your boat manufacturer support any warranty for a particular type of outrigger base? are they happy their boat has adequate bracing of surrounding structure? This is more pertinent to new alloy boats
  8. What bases will the poles be mounted in?
  9. Will you be running dredges from the outrigger poles?
  10. What storage do you have for the riggers when traveling to and from the ramp?