Fishing tackle designed for one purpose can be adapted to another. Planer boards used by big water anglers for years are now aiding shore anglers to position bait in river currents. The trolling big water angler used planer boards to get their lure out of the prop wash and into undisturbed water.
Shore anglers frequently experience problems getting a bait or lure into a spot behind a piece of structure. Fish in a river or creek relate to structure. Many anglers cast to the spot just upstream and allow the lure to drift toward the spot desired. More often than not, it just misses. The result is more casting that can ultimately spook fish.
Planer boards are a pair of rectangular shaped boards, keel weighted to float on edge as they track through the water. They come in a variety of sizes. The smaller ones are best for river fishing. The lead edge is cut on an angle to steer it away from the angler as it is pulled through the water.
As the shore angler is not moving and the water is the roles reverse for the boards. The board comes labeled as to which side of the boat it should be deployed. The angler just needs to think of the shore as a side of a boat and deploy the board from the shore in the same manner.
Water pressure created by the flow of water past the shore is the same as that created by the boat moving past the water on a large river or lake. It runs the planer board to the side away from the shore.
The board design pulls away from the angler. Use the appropriate board according to whether the water is flowing past the angler from left to right or the reverse.
The only other piece of equipment needed is a sliding release lanyard or clip. The board trails out into the water until it is in the desired position. Then clip on the sliding line release and then slip the fishing line into the clip. The line is free-spooled out along with the lanyard to a point where the lure is in the desired position. The amount of line released from the reel to the clip will determine the horizontal location of the lure.
As a fish strikes, the line releases from the clip and the battle between angler and fish begins just as it would on any other occasion.
Planer boards help spread lures such as crankbaits in horizontal patterns. Because crankbaits run at predetermined depths, they help to create a vertical pattern. Crankbaits are not the only lures that work well with planer boards. Spoons, spinners, dodger/fly combos and just about any other type of lure works with these boards.
With a live bait presentation positioned on or near the bottom, a Lindy bottom-bouncing rig is a good idea. Rigged with a night crawler, for instance, fish will take the bait and many times the board helps to set the hook.
Hook sharpness is essential with boards. The angler does not have the sensitivity in feeling the bite he might otherwise experience due to the drag of the board. Keep steady pressure so that the hook stays in position. It also helps to use a wider gap in the hook’s business end.
Many anglers prefer the large line capacity of the bait casting reel as well as its smooth drag. They like to be able to feed line to a power diving fish or one that is making tracks for the swift current of some rivers.
Longer rods work best with boards. The longer, stiffer rod can handle the resistance created by the board setting the hook and fighting a fish. As with most river fishing an abrasion resistant line is a good idea.
Planer boards are an excellent addition to the tackle of the shore angler. Its use is a bit more complicated than just casting to a spot on the water but allows one to be a bit more systematic in covering all of the structure areas and placing a bait or lure.