View Full Version : cannon or scotty's

07-31-2005, 01:18 PM
Will be buying a boat shortly and will be looking to put downriggers on it. Was just curious as to your thoughts on which downriggers and why, will be getting electric. Thanks in advance.


07-31-2005, 01:24 PM
I have always used the Scotties because they seem to be built with a better design. Less things can go wrong! ;)

07-31-2005, 03:39 PM
We have a pair of Scotty propacks and they seem really solid. They're also really easy to use and the swivel mounts are very smooth. Last time I checked they had the fastest retrieve and the lowest amp draw of any of the electrics that are out there.

07-31-2005, 04:07 PM
;D ;DScotty's Rule. They do not use any electrical power when letting the weight down. It uses gravity. The profile is lower and so easy to use. So it doesn't use much battery in it's operation. Had many Scotty's and have never had a problem. Just my 2 cents.
Paul aka Survivor

07-31-2005, 04:14 PM
Scotty's are nice, but you might look at Cannon digitrolls. Bottom tracking capability, 4 Depth auto settings, depth finding capability, auto run capability, auto jigging capability, auto up capabilty, stop at surface level capability and the ability to connect 4 units to one transducer. 8) ;D 8)

07-31-2005, 04:30 PM
all preference. but i like the scotties.

07-31-2005, 04:35 PM
;D ;DNot to mention costs!!!!!!!
Paul aka Survivor

07-31-2005, 04:55 PM
I had Cannons and was happy with those except the slow retrieve rate. I just bought two Scotty's #1106. They came highly recommended by persons who use them.

This has been discussed many times on the forums and it's kind of like Ford vs Chevy.


Vance Staplin
08-01-2005, 05:32 PM

You are right. Slow is bad when you are coming up on a rise or a unexpected underlying point.

If this were to be compared to a Ford, Chevy subject it would be like this.

Ford SLOW cost lots of money to got fast.
Chevy fast and doesn't cost lots of money to go fast. ;D

My .02 cents


08-01-2005, 06:24 PM
;D ;D Scotty's ;D ;D

08-01-2005, 07:17 PM

Ok, I wasn't trying to drop names but since you chimed in I wonder where I got that recommendation? ;D ;D

Now I only need a boat to put them on.


08-01-2005, 07:42 PM
Thanks for your feedback. Still undecided but hey thats ok I dont have the boat yet anyway *;D . I have only fished off of Cannon manuals and after getting both the brochures the one thing I did like about the scotty's was the tilt back feature, and the low amp draw. As For getting digitrolls, I dont see that being in my budget and still being able to keep peace and harmony at home, although those do look like nice pieces. I will most likely be staying in the lower end of the electric line of either manufacture I go with.


08-01-2005, 08:00 PM
If this is an opinion pole, I will say I have owned both Scotty and Cannon. And I prefer Cannon. I have a pair of Cannon Mag 10's on my small boat that are older than some of the members on this board. They are still reliable and have had no major repairs. The big boat I have a pair of Mag 20's. The best thing I can suggest is do a search for surveys on down riggers.
You will find that three of the four major manufacturers use gear drives instead of belts. Belts do fail. The question is where and when? Scotty is dependant on the break release to deploy the downrigger weight. Other brands have the advantage of flipping the switch and powering down at a regulated speed. Or like with the Cannon it also can be released by the break control knob or use the electric down switch. Using a break release can cause problems if the downrigger weight is allowed to go to quickly. It can tangle ball trolls with you fishing line or downrigger cable without the operator knowing it. Thus causing the loss of valuable fishing time with a fowled line. A regulated speed release (with motor) exempts this problem.
Battery voltage use is another myth. As battery voltage is used by the downrigger, it is quickly recharged by the boat motors alternator. The downrigger is used only in short periods of time which allow for recharging of the battery.
Speed of ball retrieval can be relative to the depth and terrain you are fishing. The boat trolling speed is going to be relativly slow because you are trolling and have your riggers out. Bottomline and Cannon have teamed with a system that can automatically raise and lower the Ball to follow the terrain. It can also jig the lines for you. I beleive some one else mentioned this previously. This is an expensive system but it can master up to six downriggers at the same time.
The up speed return is not as crutial as some would have you beleive. In over twenty years of using electric downriggers I have never had an incident where a fish came to the boat before my downrigger was up. Or where it became tangled with the downrigger cable before it was fully motored up.
My belief is that you get what you pay for. But that's me. ;D
Like I suggested check out surveys online comparisons. Pros and Cons.

08-01-2005, 08:32 PM
I've owned them both as well. Compare them feature by feature and Scotties win hands down. Speed, price, profile, voltage draw (calculate how long it takes a trolling motor putting out 2 amps to recharge the juice a Cannon pulls coming up from >100 ft), and the ability to make an on-the-water repairs. Scotties and Cannons are both very reliable. Replacing a belt on a Scottie takes all of 30 seconds. They are actually designed to slip off if you accidentally hit the pulley with the weight.

Dale, have you ever actually fished with one of those ridiculously expensive bottom tracking Cannons? I have. They are about useless as far as avoiding under water obstacles. The cannon retrieve is too slow. However, you can program them to move the weight up and down at intervals which could draw strikes. Other than that, I guess you do get what you pay for. If you really think that you need it. ;D

08-02-2005, 09:31 AM
Cannon has solved the retrieve problem by having three set speeds for up and three for down. When I'm fishing I like slow down as to not pass my flashers and fast up. This allows the bottom tracking to raise fast enough to clear obstacles, I drag 4' of leader and 6" of chain for mac's and the only problem I've encountered is a 30' tree. :'( ;D

08-02-2005, 09:59 AM
How do you mount one a Scottie to your boat? Because I am about to buy one, and the way the guy said to do it at wild sports, my gregor doesn’t have the thing I need to put it on. I heard also that you could go buy some aluminum and put 6 holes in it, 2 to mount the aluminum on the boat, and the 4 on the corners to mount the Scottie on. Will that work?


08-02-2005, 10:00 AM
And the Scotty's just look ugly in my opinion.

The Cannon is more streamlined and not in the way all the time. That matters when you have four big guys onboard.

08-02-2005, 12:43 PM
Cannon your just paying for the name.
Just my 2 cents

08-02-2005, 01:37 PM

See the standard possibilities. Aluminum boat clamp mount what you are looking for?

08-02-2005, 09:43 PM
Doc - The Cannon Mag 20 retrieves at 235 feet per minute and is said to be the fastest in the industry. Plus I don't have to carry spare parts on board for my downriggers. My Honda 8 hp trolling motor puts out 12 amps not 2. I haven't ordered the bottom line yet but I can see some great control options to it. My grandfather told me that "if I go first class I'll never have anything to complain about". I tried the Scotty's and they weren't first class!
The response that I made in my previous post was that riplips should search out online comparisons and surveys so he could make an informed choice. Everybody has experiences and opinions and like you, I have mine. ;D


08-02-2005, 10:19 PM
Check the specs on your alternator Dale. You don't put out 12 amps at trolling speed. And NO downrigger is fast enough to avoid a 30 ft tree or a 50 ft ledge.

Of course as rich as you are Dale, you may as well go first class. ;D ;D

08-02-2005, 10:50 PM
Doc -(I run higher RPM's. Bigger boat U know.) ;D I don't need to check my specs. I don't have a problem. I run my DR's all day long and don't have to put the charger on the Bats when I get home.
Trees ?????Ledges??????? My Lakes don't have those. ;D

Doc - Your perception of rich certainly differs from mine.

08-02-2005, 10:57 PM
OK, you old grump. ;D You can have the last word. ;)

08-03-2005, 05:44 AM
If I had either one of you guys money I'd just throw mine away ::) I've fished with FISHSTALKER and used his Cannons, they work great. I have Scotty's and love them and paid only half the price of the Cannons. When price is an object you can't beat the Scotty's. I've never had a belt fail, or had anything fail on my Scotty's. That's why they can guarantee them for life ;)

08-03-2005, 07:09 AM
;D ;D ;D This is a relishing moment. Doc let me get the last word in. ;D ;D ;D
Mick - There is no argument that Scotty's are less expensive. They have been marketing their product for over 40 years. They probably have three or four times more market share than all the other manufacturers combined. But marketing and margins have little to do with design and durability. I'm not implying you own an inferior product. I'm simply stating that I beieve my Cannons are better from my own experiences. My Scotty's got cable kinks and broken break handles. I didn't like the user unfriendly counter set up either. I had read somewhere that the Scotty did not work well in heavy rain or wet weather conditions. (that's hear say)
I have completely submerged one of my Cannons and it is totally water tight. I remounted it and went right back to using it.
Scotty does have a better idea with their plug in electrical conections. I use those on my Cannons. ;D
I couldn't sit idle and read all the hoopla about Scotty's without tossing in some input about Cannon. 8)

08-03-2005, 07:23 AM
I wouldn't want you to sit idle Dale, what fun would that be. You seem a little rough on your equipment, maybe that's why you don't like the Scotty's ;) ;D I admit I've never had mine under water ::) but for my everyday regular use ;) mine have never failed. your Cannons work great and I have no complaints about them, but with my limited income ;D ;D I'll take the Scottys :P

08-03-2005, 09:29 AM
Some of us don't want to pay more for the Cannons but are willing to because we like them better than the Scotty's. I don't think either maker is in danger of going out of business, so folks on both side of this arguement can comfortably own which one they like best. We can even conceed that the "other" brand has some nice features, but the Scotty is still ugly.

08-03-2005, 12:09 PM

08-03-2005, 02:19 PM
TT,or anyone wanting an electric.

I am new to Scotty my self but have mounted one #1099on my 12’ the end of June.

Do not worry abut the mounting if you need help IM me.

I was concerned also with mounting, but not much to it now that I have made my mount. If looks are not to important, I can give you some Galvy material ( remember I am a Willbilly ) My mount, However has been tested for a month several times a week and while I have not snagged it worked till now.
Note also it sets in 14” from the edge so you do not have to get it out to the overhang.

What I noticed as a new user on down speed All is:
I was going down slow to avoid tangles and it seems to make a difference what flasher type you are using how fast you can go.

Let’s get some advise from you long time users on your opinion of how fast you can go down with your ball.

I noticed when on a trip with a new friend ( OBTW he was using dodgers) that he could go down very very fast with two lines & with out 1 tangle . Note: 5-10’ separation was used and no trolling speed adjustments were made. I guess this must make a difference also.

Hope you love your elect. as much as I like mine. If not you have a good sorce for help to make it work with all the pro on this board

08-03-2005, 02:21 PM
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" ;D The cannon's sit way to high, I like the low profile of the Scotty's much better.... ;)

08-03-2005, 04:16 PM
I watched ebay for several months and was able to buy several of those "ridiculously" high priced bottom following cannons for a substantial discount. There are great prices on the scottys also. Mickey I have found that the higher profile cannons seem to help keep me in the boat when its rough. Just another overlooked cannon feature. ;D

08-03-2005, 06:46 PM
Mickey - Are you saying Scotty's are for short people? ;D ;D ;D Then Cannons amust be.......well you get the pic. ;D

willbilly - Where people can get themselves into trouble dropping the ball to fast, is when they use "Ball TRolls" or flashers attached to the downrigger weight. On the way down the trolls can tangle with lines and or the cable. May even cut your line off.
I use Vances ball trolls late in the season when the Kokanee school. The drop back on my lines is usually in the 10 to 15 foot range. This is the operating range for the positive Ion control.

Vance Staplin
08-03-2005, 10:09 PM
You guy's are a crack up. I love how you spat amongst each other. Too bad there isn't a room large enough to have everyone together at a superbowl game or something. That would be a kick.

I have to throw my two cents in again.

When I started guideing I was young and had 6 manual Penn downriggers on my boat. Then I found 4 Penn electrics used and bought them. Penn's are a good downrigger but have had trouble with the circut boards over the years.

When I guided on Stampede years back my friend was the assistant manager of Longs Drugs in Truckee. When I had trips on Saturday and Sunday he would come by Saturday afternoons with a bucket of Chicken and a twelve pack of beer on his way home to Reno. We would sit out there trolling, drinking beer and catching Kokanee. I remember one day that he asked my why I used Penns and not Scotty Downriggers. The first words out of my mouth was that they are ugly. He said they might be ugly but they sell a ton of them and never see any problems.

Shortly after that the Scotty rep contacted me and wanted me to get involved with their pro staff. I told him that I felt Scotties were ugly but I would give them a try. I cannot promote anything that I don't truly believe in so I called everyone I knew that had Scotty downriggers. They all said the same thing. If they had any problems(which was incredibley rare) Scotty took care of it for no charge!

I have been running Scotties for 8 to 10 years now with absolulty no problems. I have worked in the Scotty booth during shows and repeatedly been told by customers how they love the product.

This topic has been on these boards several times over the years and unfortunatly it does become Ford VS Chevy.

BUT, this is the way I see it. If you want the most technical downrigger available and don't mind spending well over a $1000.00 each on a downrigger buy the Digitrol IV Cannons. It is incredibly nice to have downriggers with a preset depth and a push of a button to get there. But with this downrigger the warranty will not cover extremely exspensive electrical parts (hundreds of dollar for the circuit board) after a few years. I had two of them for the bottom tracking feature and sold them after one season.

To this day I don't understand the thought process behind the Bottom Line and the Mag 20 process operating the downriggers from your graph. With the exception of an emergency situation of unexpected shallow water and the need to bring all downriggers up at an instance, I don't get it. Anyone who operates a downrigger knows that if you lower a downrigger you have to either have an extremely light drag or be standing over the downrigger to control the rod. Maybe if you cinch down the release hard enough it will pull drag from your reel. In that case good luck getting the release to release when you hook a fish. If you were to bring up your downrigger from your graph you still have to go back and take up the slack on your rods. Being that all of that is necessary what good is the system? Someone explain it to me please.

Last year I did some research on the two different brands. I used Cabela's for price examples and this is what I found.

Scotty uses the same powerheads for all of their electrics which come up about 225 feet per minute(I'm going off memory here) so their lower end units like the 1099 cost less because of the short boom and there is no swivel base.

To match the speed of a Scotty 1106 which includes a 60" boom, rod holder and a swivel base you have to purchase a Cannon mag 15.

At the time I researched this I found that you could buy three Scotty 1106 units for the price of two Cannon mag 15's and save yourself an additional $170.00. Then I had someone bring up the positive Ion control. So I priced the Pro Trol black box in for $99.99 and still had one more Scotty than the Cannons and $70.00 left over. The Scotty 1106 has the tip up feature that the Mag 15 doesn't which does come in handy at times.

My personal opinion is that the Cannon's are a better looking unit. The scotty is simpler as far as design and operation which means there is less to break down. The speed of the descend on the Scotty unit is easy to control by putting your thumb in the spool and applying pressure while pulling the break release.

If looks matter enough to spend way more money for a unit that provides the exact same function there is nothing wrong with buying the Cannon. They are a great product.

Myself I will stay with the Scotties, I have grown to like the looks of them (I have had some pretty ugly bird dogs over the years and loved them too). I would rather take the money I save on the downriggers and put it towards a better graph,radar, or auto-pilot. Something which will in turn provide more fish.


08-04-2005, 04:13 AM
Gee Vance you're up kind of late ??? How can FISHSTALKER and I have a serious disscussion if your're going to take all the fun out of it ;D ;D You did make one error though, when you drop the ball by pulling back the lever you don't have to put your thumb on the spool to slow it down, just pull up on the handle, Scotty's have a build in brake in the handle. ;)

08-04-2005, 06:57 AM
Great banter and a lot of info. Through the banter you probably learn more of the why's to buying a type of downrigger than having every tech report sitting in front of you. Plus this is a lot more fun to read. You can tell there is a lot of pride that goes into deciding what equipment each person puts on thier boats! It's pretty obvious the best downrigger is the one mounted on your boat at the time, till you get your next set. I hadn't even thought to figure in how tall you are and which one might make you look better. ;D

08-04-2005, 08:16 AM
I'm sure we will all defend what we have grown accustomed to using and have confidence in. I have a $15.00 spinning rod that is umteen years old and has gone through many repairs. But it is the best Lure casting and fish catchingest rod I have ever used. I don't know what I would do if it ever breaks. Probably would have to spend a lot of money for something close .
Most of us have invited people to come on board and fish on our boats. There is a learning curve when using equipment like downriggers. I have had some pretty good laughs watching people trying to figure out which hand to use for what and where to put their rod while trying to clip their line. When he set the rod down and released the downrigger weight, the rod almost went over the side. ;D
My point here is that some equipment is more user friendly for the novice. True, for some it takes less time to catch on than others but in the mean time there can be a lot of laughs had.
Vance - I can see a great advantage to the more sophisticated Bottom line and Cannon Downrigger tracking system. I do have a two rod stamp and will usually try to put out two lines. As fate would have it I have snagged the bottom when changing a lure on the other line. (not paying attention to the depth finder). The bottom tracking feature alone would be great but the jigging feature I think would be a big bonus too. If you have a boat load of people fishing with four to six downriggers, I think the bottomline control would be a huge asset. Granted the system is a lot more money than most anglers will part with. I guess that it all depends on the individual and his desire.

08-04-2005, 10:21 AM
I had the NCC 5300 Bottomline fishfinder/downrigger controller. *I never got it to work with my Mag 20DTs, line would go down too fast and tangle up with the flashers, the clutch would slip and it would have the wrong depth in its giant computer brain. *I called Bottomline and tried to work through the problems, but never could so I got rid of it after one year of frustration. *Bottomline is coming out with the 6500 series, I don't know if that will fix the issues I had with mine or not, but I know that I won't try it. *I have fair luck with the Mag 20s, my auto up works intermittently, more no then yes. *I'm running 2 Cannon mag20s and one Scotty, I'm still getting used to the Scotty, but I already know it is more dependable, the auto up works everytime and the down brake works fine. *If I had it to do all over again, I'd buy Scottys. *MIke

08-04-2005, 10:57 AM
I also had the Bottomline 5300 with two Mag 20's. Not only would the Bottomline not work, I could never get bottomline to repair or replace. STAY AWAY FROM BOTTOMLINE. NO WONDER THEY ARE COMING OUT WITH "IMPROVED" VERSIONS. I was forced to replace the Bottomline with a real FF (Raymarine)and a separate dedicated GPS (Standard Horizon). I kept the Mag 20's. And just as Vance stated, if I need to up or down the DR, I need to be there to adjust the rod anyways. The Mag 20's eat amperage bigtime, and was forced (but in a nice way) to go to Optima deep cycle gel (one for each DR) because of so much up and down on the DR in kokanee fishing. I really like the auto stop when bringing up the Mag 20 DR, and it really works well. A simple flick of the switch upward and that is all there is to it and I can concentrate on fighting the fish. The postitive ion control is not as precise as the black box, but it does work without trouble if you take the time to initally verify the readings with an ampmeter.

08-04-2005, 11:10 AM
Well I haven't used Cannon downriggers tied to a Bottomline but bought a Bottomline last year and took it back for a full refund from FW after only three uses, or tries to use it. Bottomline wouldn't answer phone calls, e-mails, customer service inquiries, or a formal letter. I agree with Gary, stay away from BL.


08-05-2005, 05:42 AM
Wow! Can you feel the love? ;D Sorry to read about your bad experiences with the Bottomline FF guys. Must have been very frustrating. Service is important with any new product today. Especially from the manufacturer. When I have a problem I go back to the retailer where I bought the product. Although you would think the manufacturer would have a peeked interest in supplying contact and support for their product. When I have had questions about my Cannon Downriggers, I have found answers and excellent service at Fishermans Warehouse.

However the thread topic is about Downriggers and we have drifted over to the Bottomline FF Controller. Since I don't own one and haven't used one, I can't comment on it. Other than the features that were mentioned in previous posts. I do own 2 Mag 10's and 2 Mag 20 Cannon Downriggers and can attest to the great performance and service they have given me.