By Bob Jensen
Wherever you’re fishing, it often helps to get as many lines in the water as possible. The more lines you have in the water, the better your chances for getting a fish to eat your bait. The key is keeping your lines from tangling. A tool that will enable an angler to get multiple lines in the water effectively is a planer board. Whether you’re fishing for stripers in the middle sections of the country, crappies wherever crappies live, or walleyes in reservoirs and natural lakes, planer boards will enable you to effectively present more baits.
A planer board is about the size of a business envelope. Most of them have a small flag that makes them easier to see. Off Shore Tackle produces a flag called a Tattle Flag that enables you to see the board better, but also helps an angler “read” the board better. We’ll talk about “reading” boards later.
You attach the planer board to your line via releases that come with the board. It’s a simple process and one you’ll catch onto quickly.
Ok, we’re ready to get our lines in the water. Let’s say we’re using crankbaits. Put our crankbait in the water and let out enough line to get the bait in the fish zone, the area where you think the fish are holding. This requires some experimenting, and is also where planer boards can help us find the fish zone so much faster.
Next, let the crankbait out one hundred and fifty feet. That will put that particular bait down about fifteen feet. Attach a planer board to your line and put it in the water. The planer board takes the bait out away from the boat. Make sure to set it so the board is running thirty feet off to the side and put your rod in the rod holder.
Now let another line out. This line goes out one hundred feet and will run a little shallower than the first line. This line will be fished straight behind the boat.
Repeat the process on the other side of the boat. Simple! By doing this, you will be covering lots of water at various depths.
As you troll, keep an eye on the boards. When a fish hits, the board will be pulled back. Or, with the Tattle Flag, the flag will go down. The Tattle Flag will reveal even the small fish.
Take the rod out of the rod holder and start reeling. Don’t set the hook, it will be set when the fish hits. Reel steadily until your partner can remove the board, then keep reeling. Don’t let the line get any slack when the board is removed. Net the fish and get your line back in the water.
If you want to get more lines in the water and increase your fish catches, start using planer boards. With just a little on the water experimenting, you’ll see your success on a variety of fish species go up.