By Bob Jensen
Many anglers like to try new baits and tactics in their effort to catch more fish. One tool that has stood the test of time but may be unfamiliar to a good number of anglers is the planer board. Planer boards enable an angler to catch more fish in a variety of ways. Here’s how this tactic can help you put more fish in your boat this year.
Planer boards are about the size of a business envelope, and the most popular ones are yellow so they’re easier to see in the water. They clip to your line with releases—one on the front and one on the back. Let’s say you’re fishing walleyes, and you think the walleyes are down about 10 feet below the surface. You’d select bait that runs about 7 to 9 feet below the surface. You want to make sure your bait isn’t running below the walleyes, as walleyes, and most fish in general, are more likely to go up for bait than down.
Let your bait out behind the boat until it’s running at your preferred depth. Then attach the board to your line and put it in the water. By keeping your line just a little tight, the board will begin running out to the side of the boat. Once the board is at the distance you want, engage the reel and put the rod in a rod holder.
Planer Board Advantages Planer boards deliver several advantages. First, you get the bait out away from the boat, reducing the odds of spooking the fish. Using planer boards also enables an angler to get more lines in the water more efficiently. You can get a line out on each side of the boat, and a couple more directly behind the boat. Doing so allows you to experiment with different lure colors, shapes and sizes to determine what the fish want that day.
Finally, planer boards allow for species versatility. In the Midwest, planer boards are most often used for walleyes, but they’re also a great tool for crappies, white bass, striped bass and any other fish that can be found near the surface. Planer Boards and Your FX Larson FX boats are built to accommodate planer boards, with generously sized rod storage to protect the longer-than-usual rods used while fishing with boards. Strategically placed seating and built-in rod holders make it easy and convenient to react quickly when you detect a bite.
More and more, planer boards are finding their way into angler’s arsenals. Make this the year that you learn just how productive the use of a planer board can be in your fishing.