By Bob Jensen

When we go fishing, there are a lot of things we need to take into consideration if we want to get fish to bite consistently. We need to think about where the fish will be when we’re on the water. Once we get that figured out, we need to decide what kind of lure to tie on. Some lures are better in the spring, others are better in the summer or fall. Even when we know which lure to tie on there are considerations. What color, what size, what running depth, what body material: These are all things we should think about if we want to increase our chances for catching fish.

Sometimes, in fact most of the time, it pays big dividends to get extra lures in the water. Many states permit anglers to use two or three 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 an in-line planer board. Here’s how you can use boards to spread your lines for more fishing success.

The primary advantage of planer boards is that they allow you to get several lures in the water effectively. If you were to let four lines out directly behind the boat, you’re going to have a mess. Planer boards take your bait out away from the boat. Let’s say we’re using crankbaits. We let a crankbait out behind the boat one hundred feet: That get’s the bait to a depth where we think the walleyes are. Now we snap a board onto the line 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. We engage the reel and put the rod in the rod holder. Now we let the other lines out. We’ll put two lines directly behind the boat and another line on a board out the other side 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.

Planer boards will help you catch more fish even in one-line states like Minnesota. One day a couple of years ago walleye aces Brett King and Bruce DeShano shared their boat with a friend and me on Lake Mille Lacs in central Minnesota. There was a bug hatch going on. The water was clear, and the walleyes were fifteen feet down over thirty feet of water. We had four lines in the water: Two straight back, two on boards. We kept track of our catch: At the end of the day, for every fish we caught directly behind the boat, we caught six on a board. In clear or shallow water, a boat going over the top of them spooks the fish. Planer boards prevent the fish from spooking. That’s too much of an advantage not to take advantage of.

Boards work anywhere. Lots of walleye anglers use them, but striper and crappie and trout anglers also employ them with great effectiveness. Off Shore Tackle is the leader in planer board technology. Off Shore in-line boards are easy to use, reliable, and in the right situation, will add to your catch. Make this the year you find out why spreading your lines will increase your catch.