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Striper fisherperson and others have been using side planer boards for a long time. The purpose of the side planer board is to expand your coverage and thus, offering you the opportunity to more fish, this can be done by using multiple boards. Side planer boards come in different colors and sizes. The best colors to see are orange and yellow. The smaller boards (2.5 to 3.5") are not ideal for catfishing, but are okay for live bait fishing with no weigh.

How to use the side planer boards

The best method of using side planer boards is by a slow (1/2 MPH) drift using your trolling motor ( Auto-Pilot), but a wind drift can be used along with drift socks. Bank fisherperson can use a side planer board with suffient current. The ideal location to use side planer boards is on a lake, reservior and river with mild current to no current that you can see.

You can use live baits of cut bait for this technique, but cut baits should be small to medium size. Select your bait of choice and cast it out 50 to 75 feet, then attach your planer board to the line. There is a front release pressure clip and a rear clasp, attach both to the line. The front release pressure clip will release upon a strong strike or hangup, with the rear clasp holding onto the line, preventing you from losing the board. After you have made your cast and attached the board in two places, feed out another 50 to 75 feet of line. Then place your rod in a rod hold that has a 15 to 25 degree upward pitch. This lets the line be above the water out to the board. If the fishing line between the rod tip and the board lies on the water surface, this will create drag and the board will not pull away from the boat as it was designed. Repeat the foregoing for the other side of the boat for the other side planer board.

If you want to use four side planer boards do the same things as mention above, except, after you attach the board only feed out 25 to 50 feet of line.

You can still use your lines out the rear, anywhere from four to six and by doing the side planer board and your rigs out the rear, you have now expanded your coverage area from 20 some feet to a hundred feet or more, thus exposing your baits to more fish.

I have found that the Carolina Rig is best suited for this type of fishing. The Carolina Rig consist of a slinky weigh or snake weigh, then a swivel, then a shock leader (florocarbon), a small float (2 to 3") and a hook (J hook or Circle).

If you want to target suspended fish, you can use a fixed float or slip float rig with the side planer board. Just set your depth that you want to fish on your floats, cast it out or feed it out to the depth you want, then let out an additional 15 to 20 feet of line and then attach the side planer board and follow the instructions mentioned above. If you are night fishing, you can attach lights to your float or to the side planer board.

Now, here is the hardest part about using planer boards to the average fisherperson. When the fish strikes, you have to let the fish pull all the slack out of the line and load up the rod. This means that the ideal time to do anything is when the fish has pulled the board directly behind the boat and the rod is bent. You might get lucky and get a hook set before all of this takes place, but a high percentage of the time you will not be succesful. You will need to do all of the foregoing several times before you get it right.

The use of a side planer board offers you the opportunity to run your baits across points, along docks and other places where trophy cats are feeding or hiding. When you make a turn using side planer boards, do it as if you were driving an 18 wheeler, wide as the creek, cove or river will allow you without getting in someones way. Also, pick up your speed a tad to keep your inside boards moving. A lot of trophy fish have been caught on the turn and this is attributable to several factors, such as the out side boards have picked up speed and the bait looks like it looks like it is trying to get away in a hurry and the inside board in slowing down, offering the lazy fish a time to strike, either way, you are the winner when it happens.

As always, additional comments are welcome. Mac

195 Posts
Mac, That is a super article. I would just like to add that when fishing in a tournament situation and using planer boards its a good idea to use a bead above the swivel when using the rear clasp because otherwise its possible for the board to slide down the line all the way to the hook in the mouth of the fish and could possibly cause the hook to come out.
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