Pulling Planer Boards with The Crappie Magnet Team – Part 2
In the second of a 2-part series, B’n’M pros Corey Thomas and David Jones from the Crappie Magnet team are redefining the use of planer boards for long lining jigs and the results are amazing.
By Phillip Gentry
Last time, B’n’M pro-staffer Corey Thomas set the stage for why he and tournament fishing partner David Jones use planer boards when long line trolling for pre-spawn crappie. Thomas said planer board usage has come and gone in the last 10 years, but this Crappie Magnet team has found a way to breathe new life into the tactic.
B’n’M pro-staffer David Jones has been involved with crappie fishing for most of his life. Having recently retired from a career in education, Jones was more than happy to provide some instruction on how he and Thomas set up for planer board fishing.
“This pretty much follows the same principles as you would for long line trolling except, we use the same length rods instead of the 16-, 14-, 12- and 10-foot rods we used for regular long lining,” said Jones.
Up to three lines are spaced on either side of the boat, with one flat line out the back when the Crappie Magnet team is on the prowl for pre-spawn crappie.
According to Jones, the first step is to get an idea what depth the fish are suspending at on their pre-spawn migration. He said they can reach fish as deep as 15 feet by long lining, but much deeper than that and there are better tactics to get to the fish.
“Some guys pull double jigs, but when you add in the planer boards and getting them set out correctly, having two baits on the line can be more trouble than it’s worth,” said Jones. “the standard is a 1/16 oz jig, and our hands down favorite is the Crappie Magnet Fin Spin Pro Series.”
Jones said the Fin Spin Pro Series will target fish in the 6 – 8-foot depth range, depending on boat speed and the amount of line out. The standard for he and Thomas is to troll at .9 – 1.0 mph as measured on the GPS chart plotter and cast the jig 35 – 40 feet before attaching the planer board.
The hands down favorite for this team’s long lining is the Crappie Magnet Fin Spin Pro Series.
Jones completes each side before moving to the other and will let out up to 100 feet of line after the board is attached to get the bait away from the boat. Both he and Thomas have rod holder racks set up along the gunnels of their boats and will place the first and farthest board in the rod holder closest to the bow. Each successive line is placed inside the furthest board so that lines never cross in the water.
Accordingly, as each board is set, the rod is placed in the next holder toward the stern so that that farthest board is forward and the closest line is nearer to the transom.
“We figured out some method to the madness,” said Jones. “When we catch a fish on either the outside or middle rod, we just rotate the next rod further out. This way, the line going back in is always the closest to the boat.”
One of the keys to fishing planer boards is to not let the line to the boat drag in the water. Not only does this inhibit setting the hook, but it creates tangles.
With the right deployment system, using planer boards is no more difficult than standard long line trolling.
“Once you get the hang of it, the planer board provides little or no hinderance,” said Jones. “You have to keep a tight line while bringing the board in, then the clips are released at the back of the boat, and the angler is free to fight the fish.”
Jones said the boards they use have integrated spring bobber clips, the same device you would find on an everyday fishing bobber. These make releasing the line and repairing the board should one of the clips break, an easy task.
Two secrets that Jones was reluctant to share, because both greatly increased their success rate, was the trolling line they take and how they spice up the bait.
“The Fin Spins are great in water temps from the mid 50’s and up,” he said. “We tip each one with a Crappie Magnet Slab Bite. That adds scent and a little bit more color. The other thing is we never troll in a straight line. We are constantly zigging and zagging, which cause the baits on one side to rise up and the other fall. That’s a great way to elicit strikes as well as hone in on the right depth.”
At B’n’M, we strive to provide a fishing rod to meet your every need. Check out our online catalog at bnmpoles.com
To arrange a guided crappie fishing trip on Green River Lake in Kentucky, contact David Jones at (270) 634-2675.