We're into the summer bite! For most species of fish, the spawn is over and the predator fish have one thing on their mind: Food! Their only concern for the rest of the summer is eating. If we want to catch more fish, we need to be where they're eating, and then we need to put a bait in front of them. The various species of fish will be in different places, and some individual species will be in different locales in the same body of water. Walleyes for instance: In some bodies of water you'll find them hugging the bottom eating perch or crawdads; in other bodies of water they'll be suspended near baitfish that suspend. In some lakes they'll be doing both. Largemouth bass and crappies will be doing similar stuff. If we want to catch more fish, we need to cover lots of water, and the best way to cover lots of water is to troll, and the best tool to troll with in many, many situations is a planer board. Here we go.


Spreading lines with the use of planer boards will enable anglers to catch more fish and a wider variety of fish in the summer months, especially when the fish suspend. And, in the summer, many fish can be found suspending near baitfish.​

Planer boards are best when the fish are spread out over a large area, as they are so willing to do this time of year. We've been using planer boards to catch suspended open-water walleyes for a long time now, but in the past couple of years we've been targeting crappies and perch with planer boards. Crappies will suspend in large areas over open water, and perch will spread out near the bottom in a lot of lakes. Precision casting or trolling isn't necessary. We simply locate a general area where the fish are living and start trolling. Much of the time we'll catch a fish here and another over there, and every now and then we'll get into a pod of them and have several on at the same time. By the end of many days, a bunch of fish have come over the gunwale of our boat.

The appeal of planer boards is that they allow us to spread our lines effectively. If we just let our lines out behind the boat, we can effectively fish maybe three lines. More than that and tangles become common and frustrating.

Boards take our bait out to the side of the boat, so we can fish an area fifty or a hundred or however many feet wide without tangling lines. We can fish baits at different depths, we can experiment with lots of different colors and sizes: We can do so much to determine what the fish want on that day.

There's more to it though than getting lots of lines in the water. When fish suspend, they often suspend near the surface, and a boat going overhead will spook them. By using a planer board to get our lines out away from the boat, we prevent spooking. One memorable day on Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota a couple years ago, there was a bug hatch happening, and the walleyes were eating those bugs close to the surface. Four of us were fishing. Minnesota is a one line state, so we had four lines in the water. Two were 30 feet away from the boat. At the end of a short day the board rods out-produced the flat lines, 14 to 2. That's too much of an advantage to ignore.

Off Shore Tackle is the leader in planer board and trolling innovation. Off Shore boards are easy to use and are built with a lot of features that will put more fish in the boat.

Once you start using boards, you'll wonder why you didn't make them part of your fishing arsenal a long time ago. Spreading your baits will truly put more fish in your boat much of the time, and right now and the next several months is definitely one of those times.

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