Check your boats Electrical field and have a successful fishing season


Check your boat’s electric field.
I rate this as #1 and the most important.

Note: Do this on the fishing grounds with both cannon balls at 75 feet and the kicker running and in gear.

Using a common voltmeter, set the dial to DC20. The negative terminal goes to the hull of your aluminum boat or the motor mounts of a fiberglass boat and the positive terminal goes to the downrigger cable or water.


All metal and motorized boats generate an electrical field. If this field is too high you’re spooking fish, taking away their appetite, giving them zipper lip.

Depending on how much voltage is involved you could be scaring fish from a 100 or more feet in every direction.

Boats like this are a good reason to avoid groups of boats in one area as one “hot boat” can ruin everybody’s day.

The lower your electrical signature the less fish pay attention to you. This is the reason belly boats, plastic kayaks and canoes are so popular. To the fishes electro senses they are invisible and go unnoticed.

A little electro generation can work in the anglers favor.
Large schools of bait fish generate an electric charge of 0.5 to 1.0 volt of electric energy.
Attracting predators from 100’s of feet away.

This estimate came from interviewing B.C.’s troll fleet captains and a few new school guides out there willing to talk about it. These voltage estimates were relating to herring and sardine schools in salt water. All interviewed agreed that D.C. 0.62 volts was the best for Coho and Spring (Chinook) salmon and 0.7 volts attracted schools of sockeye best. Most other salt water fish react to 0.7 to 1.0 volt D.C.

Fresh water fish are not much different

Musky, Pike and Walleye seem to prefer 0.7 to 1.25 volts. Great Lakes salmon and Trout like 0.6. Small and Large Mouth Bass like it very low at 0.02 and Stripe Bass prefer 0.7 to 0.9

Here are the steps to take to see how much electricity your boat generates

  1. Note: ONLY check your boats electrical discharge out on the water. The best location to test the boat is near where you fish. Not at the dock or in a marina due to all the surrounding metals and boats that can interfere with the results.

For all purpose salt water around 1.0v is okay
For salmon and trout 0.62v is perfect Salt or Fresh
All purpose fresh water with no trout or salmon, 1v is okay for musky, pike, walleye etc. 
read RUST


Aluminum boats; Too low

This is okay, better to low than to high. To use this to your advantage fish close to the boat using the little electrical field you have to attract fish.

Down rigging – Use wire cable and twine to attach the cannon ball. The longer the twine the higher the voltage. The shorter the twine the lower the voltage.
Only use Cannon Balls with stainless eyes, see Time to check your balls!

Check your down riggers output by testing negative to boat and positive to wire cable.
Adjust the twine length until you get 0.62 volts.

Aluminum boats; Too High, check the following


Motor and all electrical must be grounded to the battery and not the boat

Clean or replace all zinc on motor and boat. If your boat does not have one add 1 pound of zinc for every 150 lbs. of boat weight. Isolate from boat hull.

Check motor and boat for loose wires

All steel things like anchors, coolers, chains, pails, tools should be isolated from the hull in a rubber tote.

Rivets – This is a big one. All additions to your boats hull riveted in place should be drilled out and replaced with 100% aluminum rivets if they show signs of rust. Check your boats hull for white corrosion around the rivets. Evidence of this means the boats manufacture used a different aluminum alloy for the rivets than they used in the hull. If you find this I'm sorry to say that your boat is a flower pot, get rid of it, there is nothing within reasonable sense you can do. The different alloys react producing electricity out of control getting stronger with exposure to water and age.

No junk - when purchasing light fixtures, automatic anchors, railings, electric covers and tops, antennas, motors etc…buy quality. Keep in mind you can not install a stainless steel railing around an aluminum boat. You have to use aluminum or it will generate electricity. No brass, copper, pewter or any Heinz 57 alloys as they will generate too much electricity.
Steel snaps to hold tops and covers all generate electricity.
Keep your aluminum boat,  pure aluminum.

Down rigging / out rigging – Use nylon braid on down riggers and a latex coated cannonball. Show no metal. The trick here is to get your lure as far away from the boat as possible.
Use side planers, outriggers and fish way back, 100 feet plus.

Fibreglass boats Too low;

Use down-riggers with steel cable and adjust with twine. See Aluminum too low

Fibreglass boats Too high

Here are a few things to check.

  1. Make sure all metal anchors, cannonballs, toolboxes, railings, bridges, metal fuel tanks are all grounded to the battery or completely isolated in rubber totes.
  2. Clean all zincs on motor.
  3. Remove or oil any rust ex. Hinges and antenna, coolers.
  4. If you have Brass nuts on outboard, coat them with latex on the outside and lubricate with WD 40 on the inside.

These tips are the result of 40+ years of observations, testimonials and research to share with you the secrets of angling success.

If you are blessed with a boat that fishes well you’re not always safe. Things change over time and when you add something new to the boat check the electrical field again, it could have changed.

Don’t be out there not catching fish. More to come on this topic

 Tight lines.