by Bob Jensen |
At the beginning of every fishing season, a good number of anglers promise themselves that they’re going to learn a new tactic this season. There are always new things that we can try, and there are also some established tactics that we just haven’t gotten around to trying yet. If you haven’t tried using planer boards yet, make this the year that you do so. Planer boards offer many advantages and much of the time will help us put more fish in the boat, spring, summer, and fall. Following are some reasons why you should give planer boards more water-time this year.
A planer board gets your bait out away from the boat. When it comes to walleyes, in the spring the fish will be shallow and they can be spread out. It works well to cover water, and trolling is the best way to cover water, but if we troll in the shallows, we’re going to spook the fish. Planer boards enable us to fish shallow without spooking the fish. Off Shore Tackle is the leader in planer board technology. They’ve done the most research, which has enabled them to create the boards that work the best.
Boards allow us to get more lures in the water, and there are times when a particular lure will be more productive. The quicker we determine what that lure is, the more fish we’re going to catch. Even when we know what style of lure to tie on there are things to think about. What color, what size, what running depth: These are all things that can influence how many fish come to our net.
Many states allow anglers to use multiple lines. If you’re fishing in one of those states, you’ll increase your odds for getting bit if you put an extra line in the water, and the best way to effectively use an extra line is through the use of a planer board.
If you try to fish too many lines directly behind the boat, eventually you’re going to regret it. Planer boards take your bait out away from the boat. Let’s say we’re using crankbaits. We believe the fish are down about ten feet, so we tie on a crankbait that runs eight or nine feet down. A Lucky Shad would be a good choice. Let out enough line to get the bait to a depth just above the fish, snap on a board, and put the board in the water. The board goes out to the side of the boat as far as we want it to. In this case we’ll let it go out fifty feet. Engage the reel and put the rod in the rod holder. Select another bait, different color, maybe a different running depth, maybe even a different action. As good as the Lucky Shad has been for us lately, we would go with maybe a Banana Shad. It runs differently and that might be what the walleyes want on this day. We’ll put that line out about thirty feet from the boat. Just do different things until the fish show you what they want. If there are two of us fishing and the regulations allow two lines per angler, we’ll put four lines in the water. If the fish are close to shore, we’ll put all the lines on the shore side of the boat. If they’re spread out, we’ll cover both sides of the boat. We have a spread of four lines that are easy to manage, and we can try lots of different crankbait presentations at the same time. We are really increasing the odds of showing the fish the bait that they want to eat.
Even in one line states boards will put more fish in the boat at times. I recall a memorable day on Mille Lacs. There was a bug hatch happening and the walleyes were feeding on those bugs close to the surface. We used planer boards and flat-lines: At the end of the day we realized that for every fish caught on the flat-line, five were taken on boards, and that’s too much of an advantage to ignore. If you haven’t already done so, discover planer boards this fishing season.
Feature Photo: Bill Bunn with a nice Clear Lake Iowa May walleye. The fish are eating, get out and get some.
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