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Motherline decoy setup


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#1 wildfowler.250

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 06:42 PM

Out of interest, how long do you tend to make the length of cable that holds the decoy? I was thinking about 1 meter for each duck?


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#2 mudpatten

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 07:04 PM

I know that it all depends on any number of variables in terms of water depth, wind and tide direction etc, but if you vary the length of the decoy line to the main stringer then you can avoid having the decoys in a dead straight line, or artificially symetrical curve.

 

A metre is about right for general purposes. I vary mine, when I use a motherline which is`nt very often, from between 1ft to 3ft.

 

Having said that I don`t know wether it makes any actual differnce to the birds if the decoys are in an unnaturally symetrical pattern or not.



#3 E.w.

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 07:34 PM

I've always used 4ft in conjunction with a motherline, make sure you leave plenty of space between the decoys as to allow the dog not to get tangled up.

#4 anser2

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 08:14 PM

I always keep mine short , very short , less than 2 inches .Less risk of a dog getting tangled when retrieving  and the main line will not tangle when the tide changes direction and the decoys drift from one side of the motherline to the other..



#5 wildfowler.250

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 11:39 PM

Thanks for the replies! I've done a few at a meter but will try some shorter ones as well. Amazed you can get away with a foot,(2inches seems tiny!). Does the main Line not pull the decoys under with these short lengths?


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#6 greenshank1

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 11:55 PM

Mines are about 5ft from mother line.
Do you have them spaced singly or in pairs or mix them up ? I have the teal attached in pairs and space out my mallard decoys singly.
Always wondered if this was the best way ?

#7 anser2

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 11:10 AM

Strength of the tide is no problem for the decoys and on some of the creeks I decoy on the tide is very fast. On one spot I have had small teal decoys pulled clear of the water by the tension on the motherline, but thats rare and cured by having a big decoy ( mallard ) as the first decoy on the line. I never attach decoys in pairs as its a sure fire way to get a tangle .  The problem is the decoys spread in a nice fan of perhaps 8-10 decoys with the pull of the tide . Then for 20 minuets we get slack water when the wind takes control of the decoys and then the tide starts to fall and the direction reversed and then the decoys can tangle , sometimes badly. Keeping one decoy on each attachment to the mother line and that attachment very short tangles are impossible. As Mudpatten says do not group your decoys in a unnaturally symetrical pattern, have 3 or four close together , then a break of a few yards before a pair or single and so on. Never just set your decoys out and leave them to it. Always be prepared to adjust them , sometimes just moving the bank peg a few yards will work wonders if the wind changes a point or two. There will be days when the duck want to drop short , then pull the decoys in closer to you.

 

Its true that using decoys on long attachment lines the patten looks more natural to our eye , but I do not think it makes any difference to the ducks. I have had days when almost every duck that has ventured within 250 yards has become hooked on my decoys. I have had some of my best results using two mother lines  40 yards apart with 8 decoys on each line ( and 20 yards out from the bank. The duck tend to want to land between the two mother lines ) . Why 8 decoys ?  I think the pattern looks more natural with 8 decoys any more and  any more and the motherline loses its action. In a very strong flow it may be best to drop down to 6 decoys per motherline. And a final reason 2 motherlines and 16 decoys is as many as i like to walk out long distances across a saltmarsh with. Always aim to have a nice bow in the mother line and avoid tightening the line up so the decoys are in a straight line. Its always worth paying attention to the decoys if you are shooting in daylight. In poor light the state of the decoys does not matter all the duck see is a dark outline against the water. In broad daylight its a very different matter and I like to keep my decoys paint job in good condition. One final tip I have always found it best to pick the type of decoy that matches the species of duck you expect to shoot though from the comments of others I think this may vary from marsh to marsh. Though I may sometimes use one motherline of wigeon decoys and the other of teal decoys.


Edited by anser2, 12 January 2017 - 11:14 AM.


#8 greenshank1

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 09:53 PM

Thanks anser

#9 wildfowler.250

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 12:21 AM

Thanks Anser2, very helpful!

Previously, I've only ever used half a dozen decoys,(weight and long walks being the issue). I totally agree with the setups you've suggested. A clump of a few and then a space will look more natural. I'd like to try 2 lines as suggested at some point.


My only other issue is how best to retrieve the decoys? In some of the areas I shoot, it's flat mud with a few small channels,(emphasis on small). So the channels fill and spill over, then you're pushed back really quickly. As I do this, I have to pull the decoys in with me or they'd be too far out.

I use anchors at each end of the motherline. I've started attaching a cable from the motherline and run it up to the bank. I find sometimes if the shore floods really quickly, I can use this line to pull the entire rig towards me.


Biggest problem is the anchors sometimes snag,(plus the decoys can catch on weeds ect). Has anyone tried using stakes instead of anchors? Is there any way to make the rig more mobile or easy to retrieve?



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#10 Penelope

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 09:07 AM

I have used a stake (2 1/2' length of 2x1 with a hole drilled at one end with a loop of paracord tied through it, to which the mother line clip is attached, and a point cut at the other end) at one end of the mother line before with the winder stuck in the bank near to the hide. It works well. Obliviously once pulled out you cannot reset the stake if there is any depth of water.

 

Thanks Anser2, very helpful!

Previously, I've only ever used half a dozen decoys,(weight and long walks being the issue). I totally agree with the setups you've suggested. A clump of a few and then a space will look more natural. I'd like to try 2 lines as suggested at some point.


My only other issue is how best to retrieve the decoys? In some of the areas I shoot, it's flat mud with a few small channels,(emphasis on small). So the channels fill and spill over, then you're pushed back really quickly. As I do this, I have to pull the decoys in with me or they'd be too far out.

I use anchors at each end of the motherline. I've started attaching a cable from the motherline and run it up to the bank. I find sometimes if the shore floods really quickly, I can use this line to pull the entire rig towards me.


Biggest problem is the anchors sometimes snag,(plus the decoys can catch on weeds ect). Has anyone tried using stakes instead of anchors? Is there any way to make the rig more mobile or easy to retrieve?



Cheers!



#11 anser2

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 09:34 AM

There are problems decoying over flat muds. Its hard to gauge the height of the tide given the effect of the wind. There is a risk that the tide may not float your decoys or you may get flooded out of range of them. I would suggest it may be worth trying a lead weight with no arms\spikes on the seaward end of your motherline and have a stake pushed into the mud next to your hide. When the tide floods you out just pick up the stake and drag the decoys back to your next hide above the tide. But that will not help you when the tide starts to drop. I have always avoided decoying in such spots as I find you spend too much time messing about with the decoys and not shooting! I would suggest finding  a new spot with a decent sized creek and reasonable cover. The height of the marsh above the tide level will give you some leway in variations in the height of the tide. Try and set the motherline up before the tide comes , if not swing the lead out as far as you can chuck it , attach the decoys and let the wind \tide swing the decoys into the creek and push the near end of the motherline tied onto a stake. When you want to leave just pull the stake out and wind the motherline onto it.

 

This will not work if you have a stiff wind blowing towards your bank. If you are unable to set the decoys out in the creek before the tide comes the only thing you can do is to have several mother lines with only  a couple of decoys on each line. peel out 15 yards of free line and attach a heavy decoy. Chuck out the decoy as far as you can and quickly before the decoy has time to drift back to your bank swing the lead out as far as you can. The swing should drag the decoy a few further yards from the bank. You maybe able to attach a second decoy and walk a few yards along the bank to form a angle in the line and keep the second decoy away from the bank. But this does not always work in a strong wind. repete with a second motherline. This is not perfect , but at least you will have a few decoys out using this method.






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