don't pretend to be the first angler ever to walk along a canal towpath while
dragging a lure through the water, nor to be the first to use a side planer to
get the lure across to the far bank. Who those people were I guess we'll never
know. But I do know that the side planer is worth using.
primary use is for dragging lures along the far shelf of canals or drains, keeping
the lure as tight as possible to things like reed beds, lily pads, moored boats
and other potential pike holding features. Because the planer limits the triggers
you can impart to the lures - all you can really do is vary the speed. I get the
impression that most of the fish that are caught using the board are fairly active
and willing to chase lures. However, I guess that, as in trolling from a boat,
less active fish might actually follow lures for some distance before taking them.
just about any lure can be trolled behind a side planer, some are easier to use
than others. If you are fishing shallow water then floating lures are easiest
to cope with - indeed they are easiest all round on the planer. Lures that work
well at slow speed, such as many jointed crankbaits and minnows have proved effective
for me. This doesn't rule out large lures, though, so long as they don't put up
too much resistance. The more water resistance a lure offers the more line you
will have to pay out to get the side planer to the far bank as the lure will be
trying to drag the planer back. It is all a balancing act to get the best presentation.
think that lures running just a few inches below the surface, only six or seven
feet behind the big orange side planer, would put pike off. Certainly where the
side planer has never been seen before this is not the case. Maybe it's presence
actually alerts the pike and stirs them up to hit the following lure? I have had
a number of takes off the surface when slowing a lure down, and when the time
is right I know that topwater lures like the Hawg Wobbler will succeed behind
When the pike
are in the central channel planers can be used to keep your lures there too. If
there is weed growth along the near shelf the planer can be used to run lures
along the outside edge of this, just a few feet from the rod tip. Don't get hung
up on the idea that their only use is for fishing the far bank.
thing to be aware of is hanging up on weed and snags. Repeatedly having to retrieve
the planer to free the lure of debris, or having to pull it out of snags, is frustrating.
Make sure your lures will run clean for as long as possible by selecting ones
that stay high enough in the water. This might mean that you miss a few fish at
times, but you will be less frustrated. Floating weed and other rubbish makes
planer trolling a real pain, and that is the time to cast.
is no need to get fancy with your side planer set up. In fact I add nothing to
my usual lure set up which already incorporates a rubber bead above the leader.
A fifteen inch leader, or longer, is recommended in order to keep the planer away
from the fish when you are playing it. I have contemplated adding a leger bead
above the trace to clip the planer to in order to save a bit of wear on the line,
but simply clipping the planer's snap link around the line has not caused me any
trouble so far.
rod of seven feet or so is advantageous - especially if there are reeds on the
near bank which the line might have to be held above. I prefer a reasonably stiff
rod too, but this is not essential as the rod is best angled towards the planer
board as you walk along to improve hooksets. Because the line to the lure has
an angle in it (at the planer board) a few fish will fail to be hooked. I am fairly
certain that the pike that do get hooked are actually hooking themselves against
the resistance of the board.
take is transmitted as a lightish tap, which is followed by the weight of the
fish being felt. There is a definite delay between the two. Takes are usually
felt rather than seen as you are looking ahead to stop yourself falling in the
water! When you do look round you might see a swirl behind the board, or the board
starting to submerge or move backwards.
is not the definitive article on the method, but it might convince you to give
it a try!
TO ARTICLE INDEX
article first appeared on this website - May 2nd 2002)