Planer boards have been used for a long time by anglers targeting "big water" such as the Great Lakes for species such as salmon or walleyes. I have the most experience in trolling for walleyes, therefore I am going to approach this article from the perspective of a walleye angler.
The in-line planer boards made by Offshore products are designed to be clipped to the line, and then it will pull the line and the anglers lure out away from the boat. This is especially useful when you are targeting the clear waters of the Great Lakes.
The first thing that you want to do when using a one of these is to look at it. They will have left and right written on them. If you are still confused, think about how the board is designed. Remember that it is going to be dragged along behind the boat. Look at it and think about how it is going to slide through the water when it clipped to your line and dragged by your line. This should make sense now if you look at how the clip is attached to it. Now put the board on the side on the side of the boat that it is going to be used.
The next step is to take your line and attach it to the clip. You will notice that each of them have a couple of clips on it. These clips are known as releases. Releases are a clip that has a strong spring in it. Releases are what attaches your line (either mono or braid) to the planer board. Take the release that is in the middle of the board and depress the spring. Once the spring is depressed place the line in the jaws of the release. I like to place monofilament line about 3/4 of the way back into the clip. If you are using braided line, I like to wrap the line once around the clip so it will not slide up and down the line. This makes it difficult to take it off when you are pulling a fish in, but at least you won't lose it in rough water. Next you will clip the back release to the line. Make sure that you have a little slack between the front and back clip.
Once you are ready to begin fishing, determine how much line you want between your lure and board and then clip the board on your line. Now throw your lure into the water as your boat is moving forward at trolling speed. Pay out line until you reach the planer board. Now throw the planer board in the water. Put your rod into its holder and then adjust your trolling reel so that the bait clicker is engaged. Now the line will pay out slowly and controlled. Once the board is as far away from the boat as you had planned, adjust the trolling reel so that it holds it in place.
When you hook a fish you will have to carefully reel it in until you reach the board. Next you will take your board off with one hand while holding line with the other. Have your partner hold it until you reel his hand right up to the rod. Once his hand hits the tip of your rod then he can release. This might seem like a complicated process, but it doesn't allow the pressure to be released on a fighting fish. Because the pressure is never released, you have a much better chance of boating the fish.
Offshore planer boards are a necessity of you fish on big, clear water. I have used them to catch walleyes, trout, salmon, and even crappies!
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