Why I Stopped Using Planer Boards

About three months ago, I tried a technique I have been intrigued about for quite some time. As a follower of Zakk Royce on social media, I am constantly impressed by the size and quantity of fish he catches using planer boards. I love the idea of being able to cover more water in less time so I purchased a set of planer boards to attempt to get a better spread of my lines in the kayak. While many of the techniques used in boats can easily be adapted to the kayak, I have struggled to apply planer boards to this platform.

First off, let me say this about the planer boards themselves. They work as advertised. I have had no issues with the boards. If I was still fishing out of a boat, I would buy a couple more sets to add to the arsenal. I think planer board fishing is the absolute most effective way to cover the greatest amount of water in the quickest amount of time.

My issues with using the planer boards in the kayak are two fold. First and foremost is the trouble with the sinkers. Every type of sinker gets snagged. I don't care what type of sinker you use or where you fish, if you drag the bottom long enough, you will eventually get snagged and have to break off. This isn't a big deal in a boat. Because a boat is a big stable platform, a person can easily get the leverage needed to break heavy line while continuing to troll forward without disrupting your other lines. That is not the case in the kayak. Because of the kayak's buoyancy, it is near impossible to get the leverage necessary to break heavy line. It is even more difficult to keep your kayak moving forward as you do it. When you get hung, you usually end up pulling the entire kayak back toward the snag as you tug on your line in an attempt to break off. This forces you to have to reel in your other lines to keep from having a tangled mess. Just ask me how I learned that lesson. After you break off or cut your line and retie, you then have to reset all of your other lines again. This is a time consuming process which completely negates the efficiency the planer boards would ideally provide.

Inevitably, someone will now chime in and recommend trying ______ type of sinker. I have tried just about every type on the market and even some slinky type weights that I made myself and I can tell you with certainty that they all get hung eventually. Some are just more prone to snags than others. My favorite type of sinker to use when dragging baits are the 30" long Larry Muse dragon tail sinkers. I began using them last fall with great success. In the 7 or 8 months that I have been using them, I have only lost two and both were lost in areas that have cost me an anchor in the past as well. While these sinkers are great when dragging baits directly behind the kayak, they don't work well when used in conjunction with planer boards. The dragon tail sinkers are around 4 ounces which is just too heavy to use with the planers. The weight makes it difficult to get a good spread with the boards. I have tried to make a lighter weight version of the dragon tail sinkers but because of the trapped air in the tubing, it seems like you need around 4 ounces of lead to make them sink. All of the other types of sinkers I have used tend to get snagged multiple times per trip and thus using planer boards has been more of a hassle than help to me.

As far as suspending baits with planers, that is something that is definitely doable in the kayak, however, at least of me, it isn't an efficient way of fishing. Most of the areas I fish change in depth as I move along. Because of this, I would have to constantly be reeling in my lines to reset the depth of my baits. Again, they would just be more hassle than help to me in that situation.

The other issue I have had with using planer boards is more of a personal one. Whether it be fishing, finances, or just life in general, I strive for simplicity. Through the years, I have found that the simpler I keep things the more success I achieve. Using planer boards has added a level of complexity to my fishing. While I have had some success using them in the kayak, I just don't think they are something I want to continue using.

Again, I just want to reiterate that I have had no problem with the boards themselves. They have performed well. If I were to ever go back to fishing from a boat, I would absolutely use them. It is using the technique in the kayak that has been the issue for me.

Hopefully some other kayak fisherman will come along in the future and perfect the technique. If that happens, I will certainly give them another shot. For now though, I am putting this idea on the back burner and getting back to a more simpler form of fishing. If you happen to be interested in buying my set of used Zakk Royce planer boards, I have them for sale for $60 which includes shipping. Please contact me at jdjohnston1@gmail.com if interested.


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