To the uninitiated, planer-board fishing can be a wholly intimidating experience. However, if your goal is to eliminate big stretches of unproductive walleye water, or you need to fish with precise depth control, it’s the only way to go.

Why planer boards?
Inline planers allow you to cover a lot of water quickly by trolling multiple baits away from your wake—a decided advantage when fishing spooky walleyes in clear lakes.

How do you use them?
Clip them directly to your main line. Open your bail until your lure runs to the desired depth, clip on the board, and let out more line until it planes away from the boat to the desired distance.

I like to match the size of the board to the lure types I am using. Smaller boards such as the Church TX-12 are great for lighter lures or when small or light-biting crappies and walleyes are your intended target. Meanwhile, mid-size boards like TX-22 are great for use as an all around board. No single model will do everything perfectly, but you can likely find a model that will work for the majority of your needs.


Photograph by the author

What time is best?
Right now. In summer, large, loosely-grouped schools of big walleyes are suspended in open water, hunting baitfish. While many anglers pick away at small walleyes around the points, rock piles and weed lines, big fish hang in more open water.

Pay attention to details
The last thing you should take into consideration are the clips and releases. Most of the models on the market will handle monofilament and even fluorocarbon fine, but pulling braid is another story. Today’s super lines are very thin and slippery in releases, so look for a release that is designed specifically for braid or else you’ll end up with torn release pads and boards slipping down your line.

Questions? Need help rigging and fishing with planer boards? Let me know by leaving a comment below.