Capt. John King's 
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Needs proof reading and revisions as of 10/14/00
 Fixed Sliders and Free Sliders

What's a slider?  You're wrong if you thought it was a cheap greasy hamburger that gave you a bad case of diarrhea.  A slider is a 4 to 6 foot piece of line with swivels on both ends used to attach a second line or lure to the mainline when downrigger fishing.  This way you'll have two lure presentations off a single rod.  As an added benefit you'll have a one lure close to the boat and a second trailing further behind.

The first time I started using so called sliders or add a lines was in the early to mid 80's.  As a rule back then you didn't need to be this elaborate to pound out large coolers of Salmon (as a side note when the Cohos were in Platte Bay either east or west you could box 20 fish by 9:00am using 4 rods and 4 dodgers).  The slider replaced the running of 2 rods with a stacker release.  Talk about a mess to set, you've got to keep tension on 2 rods at the same time while running the switch on the rigger, with only two hands.  Big Jon made a little white slotted ball that was installed in the downrigger cable with a crimped sleeve above it and one below to stabilize it, then you clipped a push pull device.  Offshore Release probably made the best one and it can still be purchased over the counter today.  Wise fisherman who buy these stackers from Offshore now, spilt them and make 2 single cannonball releases and save some dough.

Free Sliders

Free Sliders are one of the easiest methods to fish 2 lures off a single rod on a downrigger and increase the odds in your favor.  Also, this method owes it's name to the fact the add-a-line just slides on the line.  The free sliders seeks it's own depth and is said to work up and down the line depending on turns and speed.  Normally I'll set the rigger then clip the free slider onto the mainline a give it a careful toss to make sure the lure is working correctly.  The free slider is probably most deadly is you're fishing vertical thermo bars for Steelhead during May, June and very early July.  This is the simplest way I know to increase your catch.  Here's a tip you might find useful: If I'm fishing the top 30 feet I don't tighten down the rod a hard as usual, leaving a little more line belly to distance the lure a little further away from the boat.

Drawbacks: Can and will tangle up with other rods if your fish hits the mainline instead of the slider.  You'll miss many hits because you'll have a bunch of line to wind on the reel to catch up to the fish.  As much as 50 to 60 of line can be between you and when it hit the mainline, so turbo reel like hell.

Important tip:  Use a heavy duty coast lock or cross lock swivel when attaching the sliders to the mainline (light ones will get forced open).  I use swivels for this that test at 40 pounds or better and a smaller one for better action at the lure.  For the style refer to the above photo.

A Reel First by Capt. John:  Admittedly I've copied many things for other knowledgeable fisherman, but I was the first one to use spit rings and snaps on the Offshore Mini Release to make a fixed slider release.....reel fact!  Oh, you have to make the Offshore Mini Release yourself, but it only consists of a split ring and a good strong snap. 

Fixed Sliders

Fixed sliders or add-a-lines are a way to legally fish two separate lures off the same rod.  They are a piece of monofilament about 4 to 6 feet long with snap swivels on both ends .  Fixed sliders or free sliders are a deadly tool if the fish are deeper than 50 feet.  Fixed Slider, also can be used if the fish are high.  There are a couple of different products to fix a slider are featured in the above first two photos.

If the fish are in the top 30 feet, I'll set or fix the slider 3 feet above the main line for best results.  The leader length of the slider in tournaments is 6 feet, although I'll use them up to 10 feet at times.  This also can be a deadly combo with a dodger on the main line and a spoon fluttering above.  Keep in mind that it's easier to get a hook in a fish with a fixed slider because of the extra tension the fixing provides.

When conditions have pushed the thermocline down and your target specie is deep, this technique comes into it's own.  At the depths of a 100 feet I'll set them 5 to 10 feet above the main line or the one that runs of the cannonball.  This is especially effect way to run  6 lures off 3 downriggers at depths exceeding 100 feet or more (on my boat).  The is a clean set up that seldom gets snarled up with the other riggers too.

Drawbacks: With sliders is you've got a extra set of trebles waiting to tangle up the other lines if the fish hits the mainline.  If they tangle with something it's generally my double dipsys diver set up, because I generally pull 4 divers (2 port and 2 starboard).  You will during the course of a season have 2 unruly fish on one rod, when this happens the fish generally fight themselves and not you.  If the fish busts or breaks the mainline lure you're out two baits instead of one.

Here's a tip:  When done fishing and you're pulling rods don't trip the release and reel your baits in, if you do the fixed slider will wind twist up with the mainline.  Ride your rigs up on the cannonball, then trip them.  With free sliders you won't have this problem because they'll just keep sliding to the bottom or lure.

Here's another tip: On your early morning set or when you're first dropping lines down to the fish sliders can slow down the process, not to mention the potential tangles.  Set up clean if it's still dark out and then you can add these once the frantic morning bite is beginning to slow. 

 MichiganSportsman and Captain John King Copyrightę2000