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Watercraft Accessories Review

Troll to the depths with the powerful and efficient Scotty Propack 1116 downrigger

Date: 12/13/04
Tackle type: Downrigger
Manufacturer: Scotty
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 8.33

Introduction: Scotty downriggers are among the most popular trolling products available today. These simple to use low profile downriggers are simple to use, powerful, and very effective. We stress tested a Scotty Propack for an entire year to provide anglers with a detailed long term field report, and this is what we've found.


Scotty Downrigger Propack 1116 Specifications

Type Electric
Boom Length Telescoping 36 to 60"
Boom Diameter 1.25"
Downrigger Cable 250'
Lift Capacity Up to 20 lbs.
Additional Features Dual rod holder, depth counter, stainless steel components, auto-retrieve, swivel mount, tilt mount plate, 2 Power Grip line release, electric plug and socket, weight storage hook
Warranty Limited Lifetime
Price $450.00

About Scotty: Scott Plastics was founded in 1952 by Blayney Scott.  From their company in British Columbia, Canada they pioneered the use of plastics in manufacturing salmon fishing lures and other plastic marine products. Today under the popular brand name Scotty, they continue to produce high quality products that anglers highly demand.


The Scotty Propack 1116 has a dual rod holder and a boom that telescopes from 36 to 60 inches long


Impressions: The Propack 1116 is the top of the line downrigger in the Scotty lineup. The package has everything an angler needs to start trolling right out of the box. The Propack 1116 features one of the lowest profile designs we've seen. Its horizontal spool orientation allows for a more compact size and does not stick up and get in the way while fishing like many others do. The boom on this downrigger is robust, being composed of 1 and 1/4 inch diameter of stainless steel, and is capable of telescoping to a maximum length of 60 inches. At the end of the boom is a multi-directional pulley which supports the downrigger cable. While the downrigger cable is being released and retracted, a depth counter is used to allow the angler to easily tell exactly how much wire has been released.  In addition, this downrigger package includes dual rod holders, a weight storage hook, the new Power Grip line releases, and a superb 16 position swivel base.


Retrieving is done via the green button.  The counter keeps track of what depth the weight is at.  The horizontal spool gives the entire unit a lower profile.  The lever is used to release the wire from the downrigger

Real World Tests: Downriggers are made to get your lures down to the strike zone and stay there until a fish strikes while you troll. We purchased the Scotty rail mount which attached nicely to our Boston Whaler and then installed the Propack 1116 on top of that via the swivel base. It is no surprise that Scotty downriggers are an already hot selling product. There have been reviews done on this product in the past by others, but our approach to this product review was slightly different.  We are actually providing a long term review on this downrigger after we've used it for an entire year's time. Rigged and ready, we took this low profile downrigger trolling for King Salmon on the West Coast for an entire season.

Installation: Before you can employ any downrigger you must first securely mount it on your boat, and location is very important for ease of use and most importantly, safety. Begin by choosing a location on your boat, either on the gunnels, rail, or gimbal mount. For our test we purchased the Scotty No. 1027 Rail Mount and installed it as close to the stern as possible. The Scotty rail mount requires a customized board to give it support, but we opted for an even more solid design by securing that board against the hand rails. After the rail mount has been fastened simply follow the instructions on attaching the 16 position swivel mount on the downrigger itself, and use the four hand knob screws for securing the entire downrigger setup together.


Mounted on the rail of our Boston Whaler, the Propack rests securely, and the 16 position swivel base is very functional in controlling the placement of the boom


Once mounting is done the next step is to give the downrigger some life. The Scotty Propack downrigger requires 12V DC to operate, so it is time to figure out where to run the wires from your batteries to the downrigger. The Propack 1116 comes with the socket and plug, but you most likely will need to purchase wires because every boat requires a different gauge and length. For the 170 Montauk, which only required 12 feet, we followed Scotty's recommendations and used 12AWG tinned wire and an inline fuse of 30 Amperes for protection.


After installation we recommend that you double check that your mount can firmly hold the downrigger in place, and also make sure your Propack is fully functional before heading out.


The factory plug that comes with the Scotty Propack

Operation: Scotty downriggers are probably one of the easiest to manage due to the unit's simplicity in design. Once you've arrived at the desired hot spot, depress the button on the swivel base to swing the downrigger into the proper position for trolling. The swivel base can be positioned at 16 different angles and locks in place after the button has been released. After that you're almost ready to drop down. For our test we attached a 10 pound downrigger ball with a fin to help it track straighter. The clip on our downrigger was hard to attach with one hand while your other hand is holding this heavy ball, but you can replace them with the No. 1009 Swivel Hooks that are much easier to use. Once the downrigger weight is attached take the lever and gently pull it. This will begin to release the wire and lower the ball. What we have found that works best is to lower the ball into the water, just slightly below the water's surface. This way the ball isn't swinging back and forth knocking on the side of your boat, and the cable isn't being twisted when the ball turns in midair. After lowering the weight slightly into the water, get your lines ready to be attached to the downrigger. When ready use one of the two Power Grip line release including in the Propack 1116 and clip the stacking self-locating snap on the wire. Then take your fishing line and pin in on the Power Grip to a desired location; more on the Power Grip later.


Scotty's trolling snap makes attaching the release quick and easy


Once your line is attached to the release it's time to lower the weight and your line down. If you're not stacking, meaning only running one rod on the downrigger, disengage the reel to free-spool with the clicker on while thumbing it, and slowly pull on the lever to release the wire. This will lower the ball and will strip line from your reel. Watch the counter as you lower the weight until the desired depth. If you want to drop the line down faster, just pull the lever further to the opposite end.  The lever is pretty much a drag system. At the starting point, you achieve a drag pressure that's set and can be altered when you need to. As you pull on the lever, you're decreasing the drag pressure which in turn releases the wire from the downrigger spool. 


If you're stacking and you want to fish say at 40 and 60 feet down, lower the first line to 20 feet. Then attach the second Power Grip that came with your downrigger and clip the second line onto the release.  Right now your counter should be reading 20. Simply lower both set ups down until it reads 60 and you're ready to go. Stacking is not a method used by everyone but we found it simple to do on the Scotty Propack 1116, especially when you already have two rod holders on the downrigger.  And we've tested this downrigger and fished it stacked just about everytime without any complications.


We used the downrigger to troll for salmon off the coast of California, and as you can see stacking can be easily done with the Propack


When it's time to bring up the weight, there are two easy and fast ways to do it. Use the button for manual retrieve or use the automatic feature that shuts off depending on where you put the trigger piece.

The operations of the Scotty downrigger is straightforward and simple to operate, even for first-timers.


Power Grip: The Power Grip is Scotty's latest line release mechanism.  It has nice design features that make it perform extremely well. The shape is made so that it will not snag on weed or other fishing lines. The clip has a tip that allows different level of tension and we found this extremely useful when fishing for salmon. Some trolling areas are loaded with weed or jelly and at times our lures would get caught up on them and the line would release. Placing the line further in will increase the tension and prevent premature releases. Lastly there's the innovative Tension Adjuster that allows you to double the tension when needed.  This patented design is quick and easy to engage, and effective at providing additional tension to keep your line where it belongs until a fish strikes.


The Power Grip is a very powerful and controllable line release allowing flexible adjustments


Power & Efficiency: The Scotty downrigger isn't just easy to operate, but is also powerful and extremely efficient. The Propack 1116 downrigger has plenty of lifting power, and to be exact it is capable of lifting a 20 pound weight from deep down without any problems while other brands don't recommend you using a weight over 12 pounds.


Power doesn't just come from the motor. Like the towing capacity of a truck, the entire package on the downrigger must be able to handle the weight it bears. Along with a powerful motor, the supports can also withstand the load we placed on it while fishing. The stainless steel boom on the Propack is 1.25 inches in diameter with a thick wall.  At 36 or telescoped to 60 inches this downrigger was powerful enough to endure the weight and complete its task day after day.


You can thank the simple design for this. This downrigger is the most efficient unit on the market today. That's because other mass produced downriggers are gear driven rather than belt driven. The only time the Propack requires power is while retrieving the cable so that means you won't be draining your battery while lowering.


A very durable downrigger and belt driven systems aren't of any concern


Durability: After much abuse from an entire year of fishing in corrosive saltwater conditions, we can conclude that durability isn't even a concern with the Scotty downrigger.  A simple mechanical design comes out to be a winner in this category. There aren't any fancy electronics to go bad on you while you're fishing. The only thing that we would like to see changed are the plug and socket. The design of the plug and socket isn't water resistant and sea water has a chance to come in contact with the connection if not installed in a protected area. Aside from that everything else remained like new and continues to function perfectly.


Some people might question a belt driven system, but we haven't seen any weakness in the use of a belt. And to further assure its durability members of our field test team fish more than twice a week and have never experienced any problems in this area for 8 years and counting.


Trolling for salmon and other species is very effective when you are able to get your lure to the right depths


Warranty: The Scotty warranty and service is exceptional. With the purchase of your downrigger, you receive Scotty's limited lifetime warranty and their great customer service. If your product fails to perform to its fullest due to defects in materials or workmanship, Scotty will repair or replace it, at their discretion. Not that we had any problems with our test unit, but we also tested their customer service. They were easy to contact, support was genuine, and obtaining replacement parts are quick.

Scotty Downrigger Propack 1116 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Built solid and uses quality components for a long lasting design 8.5
Performance Powerful and efficient, this downrigger is easy to use and gets the job done everytime.  The new Power Grips are a sure bet and easily adjusts when more line holding power is needed 9
Price A competitive price among the popular downriggers available to anglers 8
Features This downrigger has many useful features such as a dual rod holder for stacking, a depth counter, line releases, and much more 8
Design (Ergonomics) While not the most hi-tech, this belt driven system is well designed and easy to use.  The power grips are effectively designed, the boom is easy to handle, and the lever is comfortable to operate 8.5
Application A downrigger capable of both freshwater and saltwater applications for targeting salmon, stripers, and much more 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Powerful and Efficient L Can use a more protected plug and socket design
J Simple to use L Not as hi-tech as competitors'
J Extremely durable  
J Low profile  
J Prompt customer service and great warranty  

Conclusion: A downrigger is an essential tool for any angler probing the depths to target their favorite game fish. In our long term test we ran the gear against West Coast King Salmon for an entire season and more. The Scotty Propack 1116 package is an ideal downrigger for any angler wanting to troll. It's easy to use, powerful, and efficient. The simple low profile design uses a belt driven system that's durable and uses no power when the cable is being released. Aside from a great durability, the Scotty product also comes with a great warranty and customer service that anglers find extremely attractive.  Many anglers are already using the Scotty Propack 1116 for their trolling duties, and plenty of positive user feedback and TackleTour's long term review all came to the same conclusion, that this is one downrigger any angler can trust.









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