keeping decoys untangled

Duck hunting for diver species like Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ringnecks, Eiders, Goldeneye and other diver ducks.

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keeping decoys untangled

Postby addicted2ducks » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:32 pm

Hi, everyone. I am new to the site and fairly new to diver hunting, but not duck hunting in general. How do you guys that run big number decoy spreads keep your long lines untangled? I was tying the decoys with a drop line to the main line and leaving it tied but it always seems to get tangled and we spend more time untangling lines than we do hunting. I just saw a thread about gang lining decoys on a net, but I fear it would be even worse. We have to use huge decoy spreads with a ton of coots mixed in with ducks to have success. This is also, for deep open water style hunting. Thanks in advance
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby petrel » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:08 pm

I use gang rigs for divers and sea ducks. 150' mainlines with 3lb grapnel anchors and Mono droppers, all right out of the Rig 'em right box, except for the snaps. I keep the mainlines flaked in a milk crate with upgraded brass snaps on each end to attach the anchors. Decoys are in bags with the mono droppers already attached.

Attach anchor to lead end of main. Set it upwind. Snap longline clips/decoy dropper combo. on mainline at desired interval as wind carries you to other end, or use the motor to bump along. Leave enough line at end to set downwind anchor without pulling last few decoys down...Repeat

The most decoys I've done is 6 dozen on a sea duck set. No problems unless you get them too close together or have too much slack in the mains and the wind changes! For divers we mix in individually rigged dekes too.

To pick up just reverse the process, being sure not to drag one anchor into another string. Depending on the boat and the wind, you can pull your way back up wind with the mainline to pick your decoys, work up it with the motor, or grab the lead anchor and peel the whole line off into deeper water where you can pick it without worrying about drifting back into the remaining spread.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby addicted2ducks » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:16 pm

Thanks. I guess I'll try that this year or the gang net. When trying to create more depth or a Pile of ducks do you run multiple lines side by side, or do you bend the one single lines back and forth with more down wieghts to create a bend back in the line?
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby petrel » Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:56 pm

Use multiple side by side lines. I anchor them at the ends only. You create a less "regimented" look by being sure that each line does not have a decoy snapped on parallel to the line beside it and by varying the distance apart on a given main line. If you still think it looks too formal, you can mix it up with some floaters thrown in, but you have to be conscious of their cord length so they don't have enough line to foul in a gang rig if the wind/current changes.

Everyone has a different theory on decoying divers. I prefer a "hook" or J pattern with 2-5 gang rigs forming the shank of the hook and tolling line, while finishing out the actual hook with individual floaters in tighter formation. If a wind change is in the forecast, I will do a V pattern with one side pointing downwind now and one pointing where downwind may be. The price I pay for being too lazy to reset my spread is that the V pattern can create three pockets, instead of 1. This can increase the liklihood of decoys getting shot when the ducks decide to zoom into the side pockets.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby Shade » Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:09 pm

Run multiple lines.... It's easier on the set out and pick up.... Especially from the boat. If hunting from shore and it's wade-able, the zig zag wouldn't be too bad, but it's more anchor weight for less decoys.... Bad combo.

Droppers attached to decoys and then clip the gang clip onto its own dropper near the keel of the deek during storage. Mainlines on a reel clipped end to end. Anchors separate in a Milk Crate.

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#120 braided, tarred Mainlines. Two 50', Four 100', and Two 20' extensions fit on this $6 extension cord reel from Home Depot.

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(swivel clips to decoy, and I clip the gang clip right on the swivel during storage)

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4.5 lb anchors with shackle.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby Paul26 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:12 am

I have found that the easiest way for me is 12-slot decoy bags. I started diver hunting in '01 here in NC and my mentor used lines on spools and such, which we then hooked the clips onto.

I bought slotted decoy bags and now do not remove the clips off the line until after the season. I deploy the first anchor and feed the line over the boat, with the attached decoys and drop lines already attached.

If I am in wading depth I do the same with the decoy bag floating next to me.

You need floating slotted decoy bags, which are more expensive than the open (no cover) field bags

Good luck. Hunting open water and watching large groups fly is much better than puddle jumping, IMO. You made a good choice.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby va marsh rat » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:32 am

You can keep the decoys attached to the mainline in bags, but you must use a very stiff rope. A limp rope will develop loops that snag decoy heads, keels, tails, etc. A stiff rope will not snag any of this. I had the same problem you had with long-lines tangling until I switched to a stiff braided nylon mainline and droppers. 3/8" or 1/4" for the mainline, and maybe 1/4 or 1/8" for the droppers. Helps to have different colors and sizes for the droppers and mainline so you know what you're grabbing when you set them out. Don't spend your money on a $45 slot bag that only holds 12 decoys when a $5 lawn bag that holds 20 decoys will work just as well.

Doctari and Decoy Rigs are two good sources for a stiff line. Check them out.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby dgarnier » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:12 am

I have tried quite a few differnat setups and I have found that the 12 slot bags with heavy mainline and short dropper give you the fewest tangles. Plus getting the decoys out in the dark is a breeze
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby Paul26 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:39 pm

x2. Spend the money one time on quality slot bags and you will have years of tangle free happiness. If you load them into a single bag of any type you better have the packing skill of a Airborne Paraloft jump packer, or sure as the sun sets in the west you will be Wrestling with tangled messes at 4am in the dark.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby addicted2ducks » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:06 pm

thanks guys. I really appreciate the help. Last year we kept them tied together in those slot bags. However, most of them were on cheap thin lines because after I bought 10dzn diver deeks to make a good spread all at once, It broke my bank. This year I wanted to set them up properly and trying to figure out the best way.

Another question, When you guys setup the lines and make the "meat and taters" sections of the lines all balled up. Do you use seperate lines, or curl them with another drop weight? Im trying to figure out a way to make a BIG ball of of coots with a mix of blue bills, ringnecks, and cans mixed in them. The gang net looks like it might be easiest to do that, but has anyone had problems with it getting tangled in the boat?
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby m.teeter » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:48 pm

Shade, those are some awesome longline anchors. I bet those things would hold your dekes in order even in hurricane force winds. Great idea.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby tenfingergrip » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:48 pm

Only way I've ever run my long lines is out of a 55 gal plastic drum with about the top foot of it cut down. I solved the problem of the lines getting tangled by cutting a round piece of plywood the same size as the bottom of the barrel and attaching a 4" piece of pvc pipe, the same length as the height of the barrel, to the plywood with "L" braces. This way you can coil the long line with the dekes still attached around the pvc centerpiece and the pvc keeps them from getting tangled up. I cut a small slot into the top edge of the barrel to drop the anchor into so it doesn't mommick up the line. Just feed it out of the boat as it comes out of the barrel, then coil it back into the barrel when you pick up.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby petrel » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:55 pm

Tenfinger, would you mind posting a photo or two of that setup?
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby addicted2ducks » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:25 am

X2
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby Shade » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:25 am

m.teeter wrote:Shade, those are some awesome longline anchors. I bet those things would hold your dekes in order even in hurricane force winds. Great idea.


Thanks. But I gotta tell ya, there are a few down sides to those.... 1) It takes about 20-30 minutes to grind the rust off and weld each one, 2) It makes pulling your rig in difficult when hunting from shore (unless the bottom is just sand or mud), and 3) they are steel... So the salt rusts them something fierce. I sprayed them with 4 coats of "Truck Bed Liner" to help with this, but what they really need is a dip in "Plati-Dip". But the cost of doing that would negate the savings of free RR spikes. That Plasti-Dip shtuff is expensive.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby tenfingergrip » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:23 pm

petrel wrote:Tenfinger, would you mind posting a photo or two of that setup?


The barrels are at my son's river house (60 miles away) and I'm leaving for Canada in 6 days, so I'll try to get a pic or two when I get back after Oct 24th.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby m.teeter » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:03 pm

Shade wrote:
m.teeter wrote:Shade, those are some awesome longline anchors. I bet those things would hold your dekes in order even in hurricane force winds. Great idea.


Thanks. But I gotta tell ya, there are a few down sides to those.... 1) It takes about 20-30 minutes to grind the rust off and weld each one, 2) It makes pulling your rig in difficult when hunting from shore (unless the bottom is just sand or mud), and 3) they are steel... So the salt rusts them something fierce. I sprayed them with 4 coats of "Truck Bed Liner" to help with this, but what they really need is a dip in "Plati-Dip". But the cost of doing that would negate the savings of free RR spikes. That Plasti-Dip shtuff is expensive.


Where is the cheapest place to buy those gangrig clips? I am using the biggest fishing swivels and they just ain't cutting it, they really suck when you have extremely cold hands.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby petrel » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:31 am

tenfingergrip wrote:
petrel wrote:Tenfinger, would you mind posting a photo or two of that setup?


The barrels are at my son's river house (60 miles away) and I'm leaving for Canada in 6 days, so I'll try to get a pic or two when I get back after Oct 24th.


I appreciate it.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby klee7013 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:27 pm

Oct 24th dam you will be gone for a long time. Good luck and leave some for the rest of us.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby Shade » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:22 pm

m.teeter wrote:Where is the cheapest place to buy those gangrig clips? I am using the biggest fishing swivels and they just ain't cutting it, they really suck when you have extremely cold hands.


I get mine from Seattle Marine Supply. $0.65/each. I buy them by the 100 unit bag. They will ship, but I would be willing to bet that there is a marine supply store closer to you that has them for about the same price. They aren't designed for hunting, and they guy at SMS told me that all the manufacturers are out of Canada. They are made for long-line fishing... So when a hunting outfitter is selling them.... It's always more expensive. A dozen of those gang drops like mine at cabelas is $25. I make mine for $10. I run 500' of long-line and can put 100 decoys on that easy. Bought 550' of #120 braided, tarred line from SMS as well for $50. 12 anchors only costs 2 cans of "Truck Bed Liner" so about $12. Shackles were $2 each, Shackle clips were $2 each. The reel was $6. So my total rig cost about $200. If I had gone cheap on main line rope and bought a 1000' spool of paracord and used it for mainline and droppers, I would have saved about $30. But I didn't want to worry about broken Mainlines, or replacing gear every 2 years. Plus I woulda had to wait for shipping... And I hate paying and waiting for shipping.
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Re: keeping decoys untangled

Postby pinepointer » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:43 pm

For cheap line clips I have been using the clips from the cheap chain-based fish stringers. THey are easy to open and close, and are tied to the decoy with regular decoy cord with a bowline. On the 1/4" mainline I tie loops, then just clip the decoy into them. Stash the dekes clipped to the mainline into roughneck tote boxes. Seems to work OK for me.
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