How to Install a Downrigger on a Pontoon Boat

Lately I’ve been addicted to Kokanee Salmon fishing in Idaho lakes, which often requires the use of a downrigger.  A downrigger is simply a miniature crane which lowers a heavy 6 or 12 pound ball down into the water and hooks onto your fishing line to hold it at a certain depth.

As long as you have the right parts, installing your downrigger is incredibly simple.

Unfortunately, most retail sports stores do not include a square mount for downriggers to attach to the railing on a pontoon boat, so you’ll have to buy online.

This is the mount I bought on Amazon.  That will simply clamp on to the square railing around your pontoon boat.  Then, you’ll have the base of the downrigger that comes with the downrigger that will simply attach to this mount.  Done!

Cannon Clamp Mount Downrigger Mount
  • Secures a downrigger to the gunwale or transom.
  • Works with the Lake-Troll, Sport-Troll, Legacy Easi-Troll and Mini-Mag downriggers. Maximum clamp opening 2".
  • Machined aluminum construction and powder coated to resist corrosion.
  • Fishing is our passion, and it runs deep. At Cannon, our love of fishing is only matched by our passion for building unstoppable downriggers, rod holders, mounting system and all the gear you need to put more fish on deck
  • Cannon Mounting Systems help rig the system in your favor.

Before purchasing downriggers, I read many forum posts to decide to go manual or automatic.  I ended up choosing the manual because I didn’t want the hassle of running wires around the boat, and I didn’t want to charge the batteries.  I’m so glad that I did.

I rarely need to go even 40′ deep with my downrigger and an 8 pound ball, so cranking it by hand is no trouble at all.  I picked the Canon UniTroll 10 STX, which was the perfect choice for me.

Unless you need to go extremely deep or use 12 pound balls in high seas, I think a manual downrigger is perfectly fine as long as you get a quality one.  If you cheap out and get one of those mini $100 downriggers that doesn’t have a 2:1 gear ratio, you’ll hate life.

Just my two cents.  Hope it’s helpful if you’re picking up a downrigger for your ‘toon.


  1. We fabricate steel downrigger mounts that are bolted to the deck. They are not attached to the railing and are free standing and sturdy. We offer two models and also take custom orders. Within the next few months, we will be adding aluminum mounts to our model collection! Our mounts are patent pending and have a 25 year warranty. Please visit our website [link removed as violation of comment policy]

  2. Author

    The link in your comment has been removed as advertising spam. We don’t allow links to companies we do not know and recommend. If you’d like to get a mention on the site, you can send us your pontoon downrigger mount for review and then if it’s a good product we can recommend it here.

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