W A L L E Y E   H U N T E R
Fishing Articles by Perry Good
Warm Weather Signals a Move to Off Shore
By Perry Good
It seems that during the late summer months walleyes that are in clear water and walleyes that are pressured by anglers, move away from boats. This will cause a problem, because your presentation of a lure comes most of the time from a boat. To solve this problem when walleyes seem to scatter or become spooky use planer boards to get them to where the walleyes live.
In-line trolling boards are small boards that have gained popular acceptance in the last few years. Before these boards caught on the walleye angler borrowed the idea of using planer boards from the salmon and trout trollers fishing in the Great Lakes. Boats were outfitted with mast and ski systems for fishing shallow water or near the surface. Towlines spread large trolling boards to either side of the boat. Fishing lines were run behind the boat, they slipped into a release clip, and the release was clipped onto a towline. Letting out additional line allowed release clips to slip down the tow rope, positioning fishing lines away from the boat. But for walleye anglers on open water in the large inpoundments of water like reservoirs, rivers or lakes, a smaller variety was called for.
Today the in-line planer boards are the easiest boards to use. These in-line boards have a friction snap for attaching and removing them from the line. The ones that I use a lot are the Off Shore side-planer boards. Theyíre used to spread multiple lines to the side, for covering a depth array with different lures. They are also useful when you want to fish shallow flats or fishing spooky walleyes in shallow water against the shoreline.
When a fish hits the line that has a board attached, strikes may not always be obvious. You have to really watch your boards or line to see how it is performing. For example, I know that if my boards start to bob or weave that I probably have a fish on the line. If the board tracks behind the boat, I probably have a big fish on the line. If the board just isnít running right I might find a baitfish or a clump of weeds on the line. All in all the Off Shore boards telegraph to you what is happening on the line.
But a lot of people don't use planer boards, because they donít know how to recognize when one of their lures has picked up a bit of weed, or a small fish has bit and is being dragged along. Even big fish that bite, sometimes provide such subtle clues that the untrained eye remains clueless.
When the strike comes you have to reel in your line without pumping the rod. This is crucial because many anglers want to pump the rod and all you have to do is hold the rod tip up and keep a steady retrieve on the line. Pumping will only allow slack in your line and with the weight of the fish and the weight of the board you will probably lose the fish.
The 'Tattle Flag' looks about like the flag on your mailbox, and operates like a reverse tip-up to indicate strikes (or any increased tension) on a planer board. You initially set the tension on the spring-loaded flag to match the tension placed on the line by your lure. Then, any time even the slightest change occurs in the amount of tension, the flag 'tattles,' letting you know that your line may need attention.
Running with different lures, colors and speed has to be experimented by all anglers to see what produces for them on any given body of water. I prefer to use Floating Rapala in size # 11 or a Risto Rap #7 because they seem to run the most true and they come in all different sizes and colors. I also use them because I have a tendency to do a great deal of long line trolling and these lures work the best for me. I try to match the lure to the prey that is the forage for the area that I am fishing.
Depth of running can be controlled by the length of the bill or attach a snap weight to the line after attaching it to the board and you will find more suspended fish down to your desired depth. Donít hesitate to attach a spinner with a night crawler harness on one of the lines also. This additional rig and board combination can be all the difference to a big walleye.
By the way! This kind of method can also be used if you are fishing a river like the Mississippi River. To present your baits to fish on the face of a wing dam it might be beneficial to broadcast your presentation along the face of the wing dam by using planer boards when anchored up river from the dam.
Off Shore boards are part of my fishing arsenal because they give me
the edge that I need when the walleyes are scattered on the flats or in
the river this summer. For more information and on Off Shore boards and
accessories contact: www.offshoretackle.com.
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Since August 1, 1998