Planer Board Basics
By Lance Valentine
Trolling can be an effective and fun way to fish and inline planer boards make it even more effective. These simple tools easily snap on and off your line taking your lures away from the boat making it easy to run multiple lines without tangles, get lines away from the boat, and cover more water. Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction if you are new to using inline planer boards.
1. Pick a board that floats upright when it sits in the water. Inline planer boards that do this pull easier, one!
2. Pick the right size for how you fish. Quality inline planer boards, like my favorites from Off-Shore Tackle, come in multiple sizes. Regular boards are great for walleye, bass, pike and light salmon fishing. Magnum boards are best with hard pulling salmon gear, long amounts of leadcore or wire line, large diving devices, musky fishing or catching trophy sized walleye. Mini boards work great for light lures in shallow water for walleye or early season salmon, panfish trolling, as a directional “float” when anchored to get lures away from the boat, and for stationary live bait fishing. Pick the size for how you are going to fish for maximum performance
3. Choose the proper releases. Releases for inline planer boards come in many options, each with a specific purpose. You will need different releases depending on which line type you use, if you will release your boards or not when a fish strikes, if you will use a strike indicator and the species of fish you are targeting. When you decide on which boards and releases you will need, be sure to buy all your boards from the same manufacturer. Each size and make of board runs a little different and having all your inline planer boards run the same makes it easier to detect light bites.
At first it is a good idea to only use one inline planer board per side until you get used to using them, hooking them on your line, removing them from your line, setting up your rod holders and setting and retrieving the boards. Once that is mastered, feel free to send as many boards out on a side as is legal!! On my lake charters, I usually run 6 Off-Shore Tackle inline planer boards on each side of the boat. It can be done without tangles with a little practice.
If you are a troller, inline planer boards will help your fish more efficiently and help you catch more fish. Pick the right board and release setup, practice a little, and watch your trolling success improve instantly.