Planer Board Basics

Planer Board Basics


In the early part of the year, trout and salmon are concentrated in shallow water near the surface.  This makes them easy to get to with conventional gear, but it presents several problems.  First, because the fish are in shallow water, they are much more aware of boat noise.  This makes them much less likely the hit a bait directly behind the boat.  Stealth is essential in these shallow water fish.  Additionally, without special gear, the number of lines that you can safely run behind the boat is limited.  For these reasons, planer boards are a must in the first few months of the year.

The basic concept of Planer board fishing
There are 2 basic way of getting multiple lines away from the boat- inline planers (which I don’t use and will not cover) or fixed planer boards.  The basic concept with a fixed planer is as follows.  A large planer reel lets out heavy dacron or braided line, which connects to a planer board.  A planer board can be run variable distances from the boat,  from 10-100+ feet out.  Off of the planer board lines are releases; this is where you attach your fishing line.  Planer boards allow you to use multiple flat lined lures, usually 3-4 lines from each side. The main line is “clipped” into the release; when a fish hits, it pops it off the release.  My process in clean water is to let out 100-120 ft of line, twist the line and clip it to the release, then let out more line until it reaches the desired distance from the boat. 

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Winter 2017 Jan-Feb

Winter 2017


Winter can be a painful time for those who troll the big lake.  However, it doesn’t have to be!  I use my free time in the winter to prepare myself for the coming spring season (and all of the madness that goes along with it).  My tasks include re-spooling my reels, adding fresh fluorocarbon leaders, organizing and thinning my tackle, and working on the boat.  If you are doing it right, the work never ends!

The most important “yearly” task we do on our boat is re-spooling with fresh line.  Putting new line on yearly is a cheap and easy insurance policy against unnecessary break offs.  The elements, specifically UV light, wears your line down during the year, especially if you store your reels out in elements.  Also, constant wear from clipping into releases and from fighting fish makes the line brittle.  I really like berkely big game as a main line, though everyone has their preference.
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January 2017 Update

January 2017 Update


Winter is just beginning and the bay has ice.  As we head into winter, I have been contemplating what I can do to make fishing in Sodus better.  Sodus Bay is a great place to boat, dock and fish, but what it severely lacks is communication between fisherman.   I have been fishing this lake for 13 years, and have fished out of 3 different ports.  I have come to realize that fishing is better in other ports because there are more boats and MUCH better networking between boats.  Sodus Bay anglers can do better!

I always admired the website “At The Oak”.  It was a great resource for the fishermen of another port that I frequent, Oak Orchard.  This site was tremendously helpful to me when I first started traveling to that area about 10 years ago.   It had updated information about what folks were catching and where, which gave a starting point for us “weekend warriors.”  I don’t want people to tell me exactly what to do… I just want a general idea of WHAT is being caught, and in the case of salmon, a general idea where (out deep, near shore, etc).

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