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07-23-2011, 03:29 PM #1
Using side planer boards for catfish
I have been receiving a lot of inquires about my use of side planer boards and the many uses that they can be utilized. They are best adapted to power drifting utilizing a trolling motor and in some cases wind drifting. This is not to rule out anchor fishing in rivers or lakes with strong current. The side planer board that I use is manufactured by Down & Out, Inc. of Statesville, NC (Welcome to Water Bugz, The Affordable Planer Board) and they only weigh 2.5 ounces each. They come in pairs, one designed for use on the left side of the boat and one for the right side. They are bright orange in color to assist you in spotting them quite a distance from your boat. You can add glow lights on them for night fishing if you so desire. Planer boards have a fastener on the rear and a break away clip on the front. When the fish strikes with force the line will separate from the clip and then the board stays on the line with the fish until you net it. Small fish most likely will not activate the break away clip and you will have to release it when it gets close to you in the boat.
If you like to drift (power or wind), this is a technique that you need to add to your arsenal, cause you can use it for bottom fishing, fishing for suspended fish, float fishing and free lining with live baits. .Several USCA members of late have started using side planer boards after hearing me discuss them for the past three or four years and are pleasantly surprised at the quality and quantity of fish that they are catching. I have been using side planer boards for years, first experience with them was striper fishing and later I adapted them to the mighty catfish. Through trail and error I have developed a special technique for catfish, which I will discuss in detail in the following paragraphs.
The most widely use of side planer boards is for those that drift, whether it be for striperís, walleye, white bass, hybrid bass, etc. But we are here to talk about cat fishing and here is my technique for drifting with cut bait. I use my standard rig ( slinky weigh of 1 ounce, shock leader of 30 inches, small cigar cork of 2 to 2.5 inches and a 7 /0 to 9/0 circle hook). If Iím going to be fishing in water of various depths on my drift, say 10 to 30í, I cast out my rig 40 some feet. Then I attach the line at the end of the rod to the front and rear of the side planer board. With the side planer board attached, I feed out 60 to 80 feet of line if Iím using two boards on that side. For the second board on the same side I do everything mentioned above, except I only feed out 35 to 45 feet of line from where the board was attached to the fishing line. With a boat speed of Ĺ to ĺ MPH the side planer boards will pull away from the boat, depending on surface wind and the size of bait you have on your hook. Real large baits are not recommended this type of fishing, but a nice size fish head (gill, white perch, etc) will work. After you have set up your side planer boards on each side and maybe put two regular bottom rigs straight out the back, you now have the ability to cover a width of 60 to 80 feet coverage behind your boat. Without the side planer boards you would only be covering about 22 to 24 foot width. Now comes the tricky part. When a fish strikes we all like to grab the rod and start bringing the fish in. Sorry, you canít do that just yet. You have to let the fish pull the side planer board to the rear and let the rod and circle hook do their intended job, which they in fact can most likely do better than you or I. Once the side planer board is to the rear of the boat and the rod is bent, pick your rod up and enjoy the fight.
For suspended fish you do the following. Your fishing rig will now consist of a 1.5 to 2 ounce egg sinker placed above your swivel for the shock leader of 20 to 30 inches with your hook, either a circle of J hook tied to the end of the shock leader. If your fish finder depicts fish at 35 feet the setup is as follows. With the egg sinker close to the end of your rod, measure out 30 or 32 feet of fishing line. You can do this by pulling the fishing line from your reel to the first guide eye on your reel which normally is 24 inches or two feet (you should measure this distance to be sure) 15 or 16 pulls. Then attached the line closes to the end of your rod to the side planer board and let it out for the coverage that you want. You can use one, two, three, etc. boards on each side. Now your side planer board is serving as a float. With this setup you do not have to wait for the board to move to rear, just take control when the rod bends You can use live bait and cut bait with this setup. If you want to use real large baits with this setup, just add a large float to the rear of the side planer board and leave a couple of several feet of line between the large float and the side planer board. . The board will take the large bait and float away from the boat to give your bait more exposure.
For night time fishing for big cats here is my technique. I like to work shorelines, boat docks or any manmade structure along the shore line while I power drift (using the trolling motor at the slowest speed I can go and still be moving). I down size my weighs on my Carolina rig to just a large split shot or a Ĺ to ľ slinky weigh.. Live gizzard shad, blue backs, gills, white perch, etc. The pull back of the side planer board gives the flathead sufficient time to get the bait in itís mouth so that it can crush it before the rod bends and the hook does it job. Will you have hang ups working this close to the shoreline and structures, sure you will, but you will also hang up ifin you were anchored down. Donít forget to add your glow light so you will know how close you are to the shoreline or structures. íIf you are fortunate enough to have a lot of under water points, shallow or deep, where you fish, then this is a deadly technique to use at night on blues and flatheads. Same applies to under water humps. As you can see, you can work these areas without your boat coming within close proximity to the targeted areas.
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07-23-2011, 03:53 PM #2
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Great write up. Thanks Mac!!"TAKE A KID FISHIN"
The flag does not fly because of the wind that blows it.
The flag flies because each soldiers' last breath blows by it!
07-23-2011, 04:21 PM #3
Killer post Mac! I have not tried planers yet but, I am thinkin there are some places they would be very beneficial for bank bound anglers like me!