PLANER BOARD FISHIN'
Planer board fishing has been around for a while now, but is a relatively
new concept of fishing, and one that is much underutilised by
anglers. To the extent we err - as this method of fishing has some
not offered by many other angling methods.
Who doesn't thrill at 'lunker' walleye, power lunging at the
a staining line - with frantic back-of-the-boat last chance deep dives.
Who doesn't enjoy the savoury, mild, pristine flavoured white flesh of
this awesome and gamefish of golden grandeur!
As a 'pro' walleye fisherman, we must be consistent at being
for our clientele successfully catching fish, and as pros, planer
offer us this consistent methodology of catching fish. True, we also
downriggers, and dipsy programs, but the bread & butter is the
But why don't more people utilize
Likely for several reasons. Some will have tried it, and
out too well. Good planer board fishing is an art - of sorts - but most
assuredly isn't rocket science.
Too, likely, many of the 'walleye guru's' won't take the time
the concept - and why should they - it takes time and patience to do so
- it's much easier to just get out when the fishin' is prime, and pound
on fish - do a story on it - and get on to another 'fish story'.
As a consequence, there is little written material one can
read to learn
about planer board fishing - so the average Joe must go through the
& error procedures like other planer board pioneers - with many
incredible line tangles, nothing going right - and a no/few fish -
Yet each year, as 'pro walleye specialists', my partner and I,
many delighted oohs & aughs from clientele landing many (between
and 2,000 yearly) 'trophy' walleye.
We've taken the time to learn the planer board techniques, and
Why planer boards are efficient fishing tools!
The use of planer boards has many benefits, which to the
offer unequalled fishing opportunity and success!
The concept of planer board use allows for more fishing
simultaneously, and more efficiently than with conventional fishing
Could you troll five rods - or more - from the back of your
boat - without
the most wicked tangled mess you could imagine - and then, what of ten
True, dipseys will offer some relief for multi line users, but
this many dipseys will be more complicated/difficult, than by running
lines from a planer board set-up.
Indeed, from the 'ass end' of "The Rebel", my home boat, which
feet wide at the back, we often and easily run 10 rods off the
plus 4 or more dipseys, and two downriggers - all at the same time -
we have the appropriate number of clientele aboard (we can run 2 rods
angler when fishing for walleye in Lake Erie). But we catch most of the
fish from/off the planer boards; here are a few reasons why!
The above mentioned statement shows that THE BOAT IS NOW VERY
with numerous lines being trolled.
But there are more reasons too, FOR SPOOKY FISH - SUCH
(ESPECIALLY IN VERY CLEAR WATER), AND CRAPPIE, planer board
is unequalled. Very often these spooky fish, especially in relatively
lakes, or when they are suspended up high (under 45 feet) in clear
- and at various time of the year, or of day or night - or temperature
preference - will spook out of the way of the oncoming boat.
This aspect - spooks them RIGHT INTO THE PATH of the oncoming
being run off the planer boards - whammo - fish-on!
Too, in areas where fishing pressure is intense, fish will
mouths at the slightest disturbance (in all likelihood, partly due to
of diminishing return). But the knowledgable planer board angler, using
a bit of savvy, and whom trolls his/her lure presentation overtop of
fish, or just overtop of structure - yet with the boat a generous
away - will be proof positive that fish can be taken!
As well, the very TROLLING PATH OF YOUR LURE SPREAD is
indeed. If your (2) boards are being run out to the side of the boat at
a distance of fifty yards each, with five rods being run from each
-YOUR TROLL PATH IS 100 YARDS WIDE! So, if you troll, say ten miles in
a fishing trip - this amounts to a troll path 100 yards wide - ten
long - and that's a lot of water being covered.
This concept alone, especially when fishing success is
often it is at the first and last of a season, or when the fish are
& scattered, is an excellent way to find fish.
In short, this allows an effective way to 'hunt out' fish
Add to this, that you are/should be running different lure
colour, or size, and very importantly, depth differences of various
- you are effectively & efficiently covering a lot of said
If there are fish in the vicinity - you'll have a good chance of
into them. Coupled with good electronic work, such as a
and a GPS to mark a school of walleye - you are going to be CATCHING
Another nice aspect of planer board fishing is that you can
the needed boards, mast etc. from many marinas/tackle shops. But you
can also make your own boards from wood at home, and with a
of equipment. This later fact allows you to custom build a set-up of
boards that suits your need & boat. A trip to a marina where planer
board fishermen tie-up is a great place to glean info. This can be
important when you run into specific problems for a specific boat etc.
No publication could ever even come close to being able to cover all of
the potential combinations or requirements of custom planer board
I've confined this write-up to great lakes walleye fishing -
boards can also offer great opportunity for river fishing, small lakes,
and different fish species - more on these similar concepts - but with
a few alterations/adaptions in later write-ups.
PLANER BOARD'N BASICS:
Once you've arrived at the area in which you are going to fish, slow
to a suitable troll. We usually find about 2.0 mph is a great 'set-up'
speed. At this speed, the boards pull out nicely, and out, away from
boat. As well, once you start setting up the fishing rods, and actually
letting out the fishing line(s), this 2 mph speed allows for a
Let out the planer board(s), if using two boards, concentrate
on completely setting up one board before starting to set up the second.
Let out your fishing line/lure, so you get maximum distance
suitably run your lures at a given depth (consult a crankbait trolling
guide), or at the distance back which is likely to be most
Tip: - is the day is sunny &
and there is lots of pressure from other boats - or the weather is very
calm - let out long leads!
If there is a good 'chop' on the water, and overcast, and the
be feeding more aggressively, you can shorten your leads. But depth is
also crucial to fishing success - watch that depth/fishfinder - and
to your VHF radio to see what depth is working for others in the
the line release over the planer board cord (using the metal attached
Clip the line into the line release clips - allow to slide
planer board cord to the spot you wish the line to troll from, and your
lure will automatically go/follow out to this spot & will troll
Watch the rods closely - once a fish hits, and releases -
allow it to
swing back into 'the slot' behind the boat before starting to fight the
fish. The slot is an area where there are no lines at the back of the
- so the fish can be fought relatively free of other lines.
If one of the rods 'goes dead', and you have a 'fish on' that
release - snap the line out of the release clip (referred to as 'snap
or snapping off), allow the fish/line to swing into 'the slot' and
fight your fish.
At the end of the day, or for a lure change, snap off (line
out of the
line release clip) one rod at a time, crank it in before doing the same
for the next rod. If you are doing a lure change, snap off the line
the release clip, crank it in, change the lure, and re-set-up the rod.
If you are finishing up for the day, continue snapping off each rod and
cranking them in one-at-a-time, until all rods are 'in'.
Firmly, but gently (brute force & you'll break something),
in each board, take off all of the release clips; store these in a
etc. for next trip/usage out. Place the planer board where it'll have a
safe & secure trip home.
I mention this because the great lakes often give a bouncy
to port, and you don't want the boards bouncing all over the
MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE! See Below.
NEW FOR 2008! MAKE
YOUR OWN PLANER BOARDS, MASTS AND MORE
are now available :
If you are serious about learning more about how to
effectively set-up and run your planer boards, I've written a
Report" on this subject which will be priceless for those delving
this relatively new fishing strategy.
Indeed, I go into great detail about the actual planer
up process - so you won't have to go through all the tangles, and
problems so often encountered by novice planer board anglers.
In this booklet you'll find out:
above information is available in non rocket science format, easy to
& understand, and is geared for one wishing to learn how to
setup & troll using planer boards. It is not a bunch of fish
Too, it is for those already planer board fishing that are having any
the above associated problems, this information booklet will be well
- 'How to', and what's crucial when you place
the water, and why.
- 'How to', let the planer boards out, measure
fishing line distances
that you wish to use (in conjunction of information from depth trolling
- 'How to' properly clip the line into the line
- 'How to' slide the clip down the board cord &
- 'How to' properly, and with ease, snap a line
- 'How to' tell if a fish is on a line - but
the line release.
- 'How to' avoid tangles, and diving planer