Planer boards can be adapted for wide variety of fishing applications Feb 3, 2019 18:39:51 GMT
Post by Virginia Striper©® on Feb 3, 2019 18:39:51 GMT
Planer boards can be adapted for wide variety of fishing applications
by Art Landers @ www.kyforward.com
It doesn’t take long to realize that a big advantage of planer boards is that anglers can cover a lot of water in a short period of time, fishing several depths at once
They first came into wide use in Kentucky on Lake Cumberland in the 1980s when the striped bass population was booming. Drifting live bait on planer boards was a revolutionary fishing technique that dramatically improved catch rates at a time when the most productive fishing strategy had been trolling deep-diving crankbaits.
Planer Board Rigging
Line is attached to the front of the planer board by a small clamp, called a pinch-pad release, and threaded through a snap swivel at the rear of the board.
When line from the rod and reel is fed out, the board “planes” away from the boat. This enables live bait or lures to be fished where wary fish won’t see the shadow of the boat or be spooked by engine noise.
The planer board in essence becomes a strike indicator, surging and sagging backwards when a fish is on the line. When a striped bass strikes there’s no doubt a fish has taken the bait.
Usually the entire board goes under momentarily. The board and fish are reeled in together (when rigged with snap swivel), or the board can be rigged to break free (pinch-pad on front and back of the board) of the line entirely, to be picked up by the angler after the fish has been landed.
The small, bright yellow boards are weighted so they sit upright and have a red flag to aid in visibility. For night fishing, boards can be rigged with lights.
Anglers use rod holders so planer boards can be fished hands free. Typically, planers boards are fished on large boats equipped with a trolling motor, but boats as small as fishing kayaks, that are paddle powered, can be rigged to fish planer boards.
With multiple rod holders it’s possible to troll several planer boards at once, on both the port (left) and starboard (right) side of the boat, in formation.
Slip Sinker Rig
A slip-sinker rig is used when fishing live bait — either shad, alewives or shiners.
Very similar to the Carolina Rig used by bass anglers, the slip-sinker rig is easy to tie. Start by tying a circle hook onto one end of a 5-foot leader of monofilament line. Tie the other end of the leader to a barrel swivel. On the main line from the rod and reel, thread on a lead egg sinker, followed by a plastic or glass bead, then tie the main line onto the other end of the barrel swivel.
The sinker slides up and down the line, and the bead protects the knot from being damaged.
Some of the best striper fishing of the year on Lake Cumberland occurs in the spring, when alewives and shad are spawning. At that time striped bass tend to stay close to shore, especially at night, beginning in April.
Fish parallel to the bank where there’s a shallow shelf, where stripers can push bait into shoreline shallows, usually on a point. Bait fish congregate around bluffs, too, because the sun shining on rock walls warms up the upper layer of water along the shore.
Trolling crankbaits behind planer boards is an effective technique for several fish species. Fish a shallow running crankbait, but add weight to the line so your lure will run at the depth the fish are holding
When fishing for stripers in shallow water in the spring downsize the weight on the line to as little as a 1/4-ounce, and drift slow.
In spring stripers can be finicky. Some anglers fish smaller live bait, nose-hooked on 3/0 hooks. With lighter weights and smaller baits it’s a more natural presentation. When you speed up, the bait comes to the surface. If you slow the trolling speed, the bait sinks.
Later in the spring, when stripers move out onto the main lake and suspend over river channels, it’s a simple matter of adding more weight, to fish deeper.
Trolling crankbaits behind planer boards is an effective technique for several fish species.
The only limitation is the size of the crankbait and its running depth. Large, deep-diving crankbaits pull too hard for the board to ride properly.
To remedy this situation, fish a lipless, shallow running crankbait, but add weight to the line below the planer board.
This trolling method was perfected for walleye, but it works just as well for white bass, hybrid striped bass, and black bass when they are suspended in open water, or in the jumps during the summer and fall.
Fish that are holding below swarms of baitfish on the surface are especially vulnerable to this fishing technique.
Attach a weigh to the line several feet in front of the crankbait, then strip line off your reel, using the rod length to calculate depth in feet, and attach the line to the planer board. For example, if the fish are suspended 20 feet below the surface, mark off 20 feet of line and attach the planer board. When you drift, your lure will be at eye level with the feeding fish.
Planer boards can also be used when muskie fishing, trolling broad flats, dotted with snags or weed beds. Shallow-running crankbaits can be drifted right by fish-holding structure in shallow water that may be difficult to quietly approach within casting range.
It doesn’t take long to realize that a big advantage of planer boards is that anglers can cover a lot of water in a short period of time. Imagine being about to run a crankbait right up against the rocks on a quarter-mile stretch of bank, without ever having to make a cast and keeping the lure in the fish’s strike zone the entire time.
That’s how effective fishing with planer boards can be.
Off Shore Tackle Planer Boards
The most popular brand of planer boards on the market is made by Off Shore Tackle, LLC, of Port Austin, Michigan.
The OR12, made in both a left and right model, sells for $39.25 each, and was designed for walleye and other freshwater fish.