Planer Boards: Not Just for Walleyes

July 28, 2014 by  

By Bob Jensen

Planer boards have been a part of many a walleye anglers’ arsenal for a long time.  Salmon and trout anglers also employ boards frequently.  Planer boards do so many good things when a trolling presentation is called for.  They enable an angler to get lines and baits out away from the boat, which prevents spooking the fish.

planer boards

Although planer boards are often thought of as a walleye tool, they will help you catch lots of other species of fish.

Boards also make it so much easier to get multiple lines in the water.  We can experiment with different colors, running depths, and shapes.  This helps us determine what the fish are looking for on that particular day.  No doubt about it, planer boards will help us catch more walleyes, salmon and trout.

But, more and more, we’re learning that planer boards will help us catch other species of fish; fish that we probably wouldn’t have caught without the use of boards.  Tommy Skarlis and Kyle Steinfeldt recently won a national championship crappie tournament and boards were a huge part of their presentation.  In fact, they doubt that they would have done so well without boards.

Anglers in some areas are learning that perch are very susceptible to a lure behind a board.  So are white bass and striped bass in the regions where striped bass live.

I’m going fishing in August with a friend who is putting in a good amount of time chasing crappies with planer boards.  In many of the lakes that he fishes, the crappies suspend.  Sometimes they’re eight feet down over twenty feet of water, and they’re relating to baitfish.  They’re very spread out and it would take a lot of time to find them by casting.  You can cover much more water by trolling, but if you troll over the top of them when they’re only a few feet down, you spook them.  By using planer boards and getting the bait away from the boat, you catch them instead of spook them.  My friend has found #4 Salmo Hornets and #4.5 Rattling Hornets to be very productive behind the boards.

The same thing is true for white bass.  In Lake Pepin on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border in the summer, anglers watch for the gulls to start diving at shad on the surface.  The shad are on the surface because the white bass are feeding on them there.  When you see the gulls, you hurry to the spot and start casting.  With boards, however, you don’t need to wait for the gulls; you just keep trolling and searching for the bass.  Very, very effective way to catch them!  That Hornet does a great job on white bass also.

Off Shore Tackle makes the best boards.  They have a Mini-Board that works well for crappies and perch and white bass, but their standard size board, the OR-12, does a great job also.  Off Shore also provides the best advice on using boards as they are the pioneers in board technology.  Check out their website at

In fishing, much of the time tools are created for one thing and we find they work equally well, or even better, for something else.  Planer boards are one of those tools.  If you want to catch more fish more of the time, make planer boards part of your fishing arsenal.


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