Reelax outriggers on a Haines V19R project boat.

How to fit Reelax outrigger poles

Our Haines Hunter V19R boat restoration project — dubbed the Nautek N19R project boat — now had a magnificent assortment of gear to make it the perfect fishing boat. Having just fitted flexible flooring and boat seats (see below) it was time to add a brand-new pair of Reelax outriggers.


What are fishing outriggers?

For those who have always wondered about the great big long poles that stick out of many offshore boats, they are called outriggers and are used mainly for trolling a wide spread of lures.

The long fibreglass outrigger fishing poles (4.5m in this case) have adjustable mounting positions and are extended seaward either side of the boat when in use. The poles generally have adjustable tensioned release clips fitted to one, or sometimes multiple points along the length of the poles where fishing lines can be threaded through to widen the available arc or trajectory (commonly called spread) behind the boat. This obviously allows more lures covering a greater area in the water and hence a greater attraction to ravaging pelagic game fish like marlin, tuna, sailfish or mackerel.


How to fit Reelax outrigger poles

We had planned for the gunwale-mount style of outriggers to be fitted way back when installing rodholders and designing the stainless steel rocket launcher where we had mounting plates welded to accept the bases. The canopies were also trimmed around the fit-up point. We prefer to mount the Reelax outriggers to the rocket launcher instead of the coamings, as generally the higher we can get the poles away from the water the better, particularly in a pitching small boat. It also allows easy access for rigging without obstruction from rodholders, side curtains and aerials.

The stainless steel bases have an internal spline so that the angle of the poles can be adjusted in and out in variable segmented positions. Reelax claims the most rigid of all fibreglass poles slows down the whipping action and allows better back pressure to aid the line release on a strike.

The two-piece Reelax outrigger poles have a series of guides threaded with plastic-coated wire and the release clips attached. The wire is made endless with a pulley at the top end, allowing you to spread the release clip to any desired position. We also opted for a separate tag line off the end of the pole allowing two lures from each side and help stop multiple lines fouling.

With the combination of a rocket launcher-mounted ‘shotgun’, two lines off each of the Reelax outriggers, and multiple conventional rodholders around the transom, we could in theory troll a spread of up to 10 lures at a time. In reality if we can get out six or seven lures we are more than happy, and even less in a big, awkward sea.

I have also found outriggers handy when drift fishing with live baits. They allow you to spread the anchoring points out away from the boat, again supporting more baits in the water. Live bait will also invariably congregate under the boat when predators are present, so spreading the lines out to the sides helps avoid any possible tangles. Outriggers also make an excellent flag pole for boasting your day’s catch and release-success flags when returning to port or for displaying dive flags.


Best spreads for Reelax outriggers

Basic marlin spread with Reelax outriggers

Marlin will come up and across the spread right to left so keep the next lure on the front of the next wave to the left.


Basic tuna spread with Reelax outriggers

Tuna will come into a spread and smash both ways. Keep the lures tighter, but again, on the fronts of waves.

See the full version of this story in Trade-A-Boat #469, on sale September 3, 2015. Why not subscribe today?