Guide Doug Wynn and crappie buddies trolling planer boards on Grenada.
Catching crappie offshore can be extremely rewarding. Offshore fishing for crappie can be spider rigging away from the shoreline or one poling a brush pile out in deep water. However, during the summer months fishing for crappie offshore usually means trolling and pushing or pulling crankbaits.
Trolling and Pulling or pushing crankbaits may be one of the easiest ways to catch crappie in the summertime. By utilizing multiple rods set at different distances away from the boat an angler can target different depths. An array of color patterns can also be used to incite a crappie to bite a crankbait.
While pulling or pushing crankbaits can be productive in the summertime, crappie anglers should also look at using planer boards to catch more and bigger crappie. Yes, there is more work to using planer boards. Yes it makes trolling more complicated, but it’s worth it to get more bites and catch more crappie.
Grenada fishing guide Tom Lipe (662-809-8276) is a strong advocate for using planer boards when trolling for crappie. “I use Offshore Tackle planer boards (www.offshoretackle.com) when trolling for crappie. The planer boards take the crankbait away from the boat and allows me to cover a larger area quicker than just pulling or pushing,” said Lipe.
Normally, Lipe will troll the PICO Lures INT Crankbaits (www.picolures.com) when trolling with planer boards. “I push a PICO INT crankbait keeping it in the strike zone with a 2-ounce weight. Normally, I run two rods with Offshore Tackle planer boards off the right front and left front of my boat then five rods out the back. I stagger them like the wings of a plane to keep them separated,” said Lipe.
When setting out rods to fish, Lipe sets out the planer boards first then the five rods in the transom area. If a crappie strikes and gets hooked up, Lipe simply reels in the line to the planer board and unpins the fishing line releasing the clips allowing him to reel in the crappie. Lipe likes loud colors of PICO Lures INT Crankbaits during the summer months like Geezer Clown, Grenada Green or Pink Glimmer.
Lipe noted that using planer boards is not as hard as it looks. “Use line counter reel so you know how far out you are setting them. Also, keep an eye on the planer boards as the bites can be really subtle,” said Lipe.
Utilizing multiple rods and planer boards is nothing new for Adam Ogle from Gilbertville, Kentucky. Normally, Ogle will use three planer boards on each side of the boat in rod holders located in the bow of the boat. Imagine the planer boards forming the shape of an airplane wing with the farthest planer board located nearest the transom and the next rod in front of it followed by the next.
“The two best times to catch crappie on planer boards is late fall when the crappie are in shallow and a planer board will not scare the fish when it runs over top of them. Summer is the other time because planer boards allow you to cover a large area. By covering a large area you can find the aggressive crappie that are willing to bite,” said Ogle.
Ogle like Lipe uses OR12 Side Planer Offshore Tackle planer boards when trolling crankbaits; in addition to Offshore Tackle Tadpole resettable diving weights. “I like Offshore Tackle Planer Boards because they track better out of the package without modification. I do use the flag because crappie bite so light sometimes you can’t even tell they hit a crankbait or are on,” said Ogle.
Justin Elder holding up another crappie caught on a PICO Grenada Green Crankbait