Thanks for using The Automatic Fisherman™. If used properly, it should help you improve your ability to catch fish. When you use The Automatic Fisherman™, you are able to fight the fish on a jig rod. You’re able to hook fish without even being there! It will help you consistently catch bluegills, crappies, perch, walleyes, bass, northerns, and all species of trout and salmon. You can use jig rods from 24″ to 38″ by making some simple adjustments. You can set it up for the way you want to fish. Enjoy your time out on the ice with The Automatic Fisherman™!

How It Works

When the fish takes the bait it will start to swim away. While it swims, the bobber will rise to the eyelets of the rod and the line will tighten. The trigger shaft will drop down, releasing the fishing rod from the trigger post to set the hook. The trigger arm will fall out of the way and hit the base and make a loud “crack,” letting you know you just had a bite. This creates a tangle free area to fight the fish.

For night fishing, there is a hole provided on the trigger arm where you can attach a light, or put reflective tape on the counterweight of the trigger arm so you can check it with a flashlight at night. When you get a bite and the unit sets the hook, take the rod and reel out of the holder and fight the fish.

Know Your Automatic Fisherman™(Fig.1)


Fishing Rod Preparation

  1.  Take the slip bobber provided and place it on the fishing line between the first and second eyelets from the reel. Thread the line through the rest of the eyelets and tie on your hook. (Fig. 2).


2.  For consistent depth measurement only, tie a slipknot on the line, (Fig. 2-1) or color it with a marker. This will help you get to the exact area in the water column more consistently where you want to fish. You can adjust the slipknot for the height of your bait while you are fishing. Try to tie the knot with a smaller diameter line like two or four lb. test, so it will slide through the eyelets and bobber more easily. Keep the slipknot under the water about one inch.


3.  To assemble the fishing reel properly, place reel seat 1/2″ back from the front of the foam handle. Assemble the reel resting between the two seats, then tape in place. (Fig 2-2).


Trigger Preparation

Take the trigger off the storage area and place the shaft of the trigger in the top oval hole of the trigger arm. Turn the nut clockwise so  it holds the trigger on. (Fig. 3). For 33″ rods, turn the nut until there is 1/4″ of exposed thread. (Fig. 3-1). For 27″ rods, turn the nut until all the threads are exposed. (Fig. 3-2). Note: The trigger shaft should move up and down freely.


Trigger Post Adjustments

Take the trigger adjusting tool and bend the post on the shaft to the desired setting.

  1.  For 33″ rods the post should be in the 90 degree position from the shaft.
    (Fig. 4-1).


2.  For 27″ rods the post should be in the 70 degree position from the shaft.
(Fig. 4-2).


3.  You can use the trigger adjusting tool to adjust the way the fishing rod releases off the trigger post. If the fishing rod doesn’t stay engaged to the trigger post, bend the post toward the reel more, until you can get the fishing rod to stay engaged. If you want a heavier release for use with large minnows, take the tool and bend the trigger post toward the reel until you are satisfied the bait you’re going to use won’t trip the unit. The fish will still be able to trip the unit easily. (Fig. 4-3).

Fig_4-3 (1)

4.  If the fishing rod doesn’t release easily when you have it set up, take the tool and bend the post away from the reel until you are satisfied with the way it releases. Example: If you want to fish bluegills, perch and crappies you would want a very light release for the fish. Take the tool and bend the post so the fishing rod will stay engaged, and let the fish release the fishing rod easily. To do this take the tool and bend the post away from the reel in small increments until you are satisfied with the way it releases. (Fig. 4-3).


Base Unit Adjustments

Most fishing rods from 24″ to 34″ long can be used with The Automatic Fisherman™. Measure a rod from its tip to the center of the fishing reel handle where it fastens into the rod. (Fig. 5).


Trigger Arm Positioning

Position A – When using fishing rods from 23″ to 26″ long, place the trigger arm in the hole located furthest away from the rod holding base, then tighten the nut and bolt. The trigger arm should move up and down freely. (Fig. 6-1).


Position B – When using most fishing rods from 19″ to 23″ place the trigger arm in the hole located closest to the rod holding base, then tighten the nut and bolt. The trigger arm should be able to move up and down freely. (Fig. 6-2).


Trigger Shaft Set Up

For fishing rods from 23″ to 26″ turn the nut 1/4″ onto the thread. (Refer back to Fig. 3-1).

For fishing rods from 23″ to 19″ turn the nut all the way so you can see all the threads at the end of the shaft. Note: If you have two nuts, they should be on the same side of the trigger arm. (Refer back to Fig. 3-2).

The two oval holes are for the trigger shaft, the top hole is for all rods and the bottom hole is for rods that you want more hook set from. Note: not all rods will work in the bottom position. (Fig. 6).

How to Use the Automatic Fisherman™

  1. Unfold the support brace and make it perpendicular to the base that holds the fishing rod; then tighten the black knob. (Fig. 7).


2. Place your bait where you want it in the water column. Adjust your slipknot so it’s below the water line. If the hole freezes, the line will still be able to move through 1/8″ of ice. Periodically check your hole and clean it out.

3. Put the fishing rod in the rod holding tube. Stand the trigger arm up by grabbing the trigger shaft at the guide and lift the guide up as much as you can. With three fingers bend the tip of the fishing rod over until it connects to the single post on the trigger shaft. The trigger post should be in the vertical position and set up according to steps 3 and 4. Be careful that you don’t get hit in the hands or face by the fishing rod if it releases off the post (it can cause injury). (Fig. 7-1).


4. After you place the tip of the rod on the trigger post, make sure the fishing line is not wrapped around the trigger shaft. Then, place the line over the guide at the end of the trigger shaft. (Fig. 7-2).


5. If desired, you can pull slack line from the spinning reel to allow the slip bobber to drop down toward the base. This will encourage finicky fish like walleye and trout to take out the line and feel no tension until the rod sets the hook. (Figs. 7-3 and 7-4).



6. For panfish, northern and bass all you need is about 3-5″ of slackline. You can use a double hook setup for baits 4″ or more. (See Fig. 7-5 for directions on how to tie it up).


7. You should be all set! When you get a bite, walk over to the rod and reel, take the rod out of the holder and fight the fish until you land it!

Hooksetting Power

To get the most hooksetting power from the Automatic Fisherman™, the trigger arm to the closest hole on the rod holding base and tighten the nut and bolt. Place the trigger shaft in the bottom oval hole and turn the nuts so all the threads are exposed. Adjust your trigger post so the rod stays engaged and releases with ease. This will give you the most hooksetting power. This can be used for the 27″ rod and reel as well as the 33″ rod and reel combos.


When using rods with ceramic guides, it is possible that the tip top of the ceramic guide may break on release. We recommend the use of a fly rod tip top or the new steel guides. The Automatic Fisherman™ can use a variety of different fishing lines. We recommend you use no less than eight lb. test with the 33″ rod and no less than two lb. test with the 27″ rod. Please use caution with the Automatic Fisherman™. It can cause injury if you are too close when it releases off the trigger shaft post.

Depth Setting Hint

When you put a weight by the hook, let line out from the reel so the weight hits bottom. Reel the line up so the rod tip is even with the ice where the Automatic Fisherman™ rests. Engage the rod tip to the trigger post and the hook will be 10″ off the bottom with the 33″ rod combo and 7″ off the bottom with the 27″ rod combo. Every crank on the reel equals 4″ in depth.