A revolution is coming to crappie fishing. In fact, it’s already here and changing the way a number of anglers are catching crappie. Are you part of the revolution?
Few crappie anglers utilize planer boards when trolling for crappie. Planer boards are normally associated with striper or walleye fishing, however, recently a crappie tournament was won utilizing planer boards. Winning that tournament with planer boards opened the eyes of crappie anglers to a new technique for catching crappie.
Dan Dannenmueller is one tournament angler that knows how effective it is using planer boards to catch crappie. “What most crappie anglers do is put planer boards out where they caught fish before, but that’s not how I do it. I actually will go out and zero in with my Garmin electronics and look for crappie before putting out any planer boards and lures,” said Dannenmueller.
While idling around searching for crappie and cover, Dannenmueller is also mapping out where he has been and marking the fish. Most marine electronics like Garmin (www.garmin.com) today have sonar and GPS capabilities making it easy to mark a waypoint or make a trail when searching for crappie.
Dannenmueller is looking to see what kind of cover the crappie are holding on, in addition, to if they are holding tight to cover or suspended. Once he knows the cover and depth, Dannenmueller knows how to rig the planer boards.
“Using planer boards is a great way to fish flats, creek channels or wherever the crappie are located. Once, I’m ready to fish I will put out four rods in one Driftmaster rod holder (www.driftmaster.com) and another four on the other side of the back deck after letting out the planer board,” said Dannenmueller.
Depending on the conditions crappie anglers have several options when it comes to planer boards. Dannenmueller uses Off Shore Tackle OR12L (left model) (www.offshoretackle.com) and Off Shore Tackle OR12R (right model) when trolling. These large planer boards include a stationary red flag, an orange release, red clip and other parts. Additional hardware can be purchased to convert the Off Shore Tackle OR12 to have a Tattle Flag that indicates subtle strikes.
Off Shore Tackle also have Mini Planers at a lower cost for crappie anglers just wanting to explore fishing with planer boards. Mini Planers are reversible and come with all the hardware needed to rig the board.
When setting out the boards, Dannenmueller will spread them out 100 to 200 feet on each side allowing him to cover a large area where he marked fish. The larger Off Shore Tackle boards easily track at a long distance or in waves and can easily pull out to the side at 1- to 1.2-mph which is the trolling speed Dannenmueller likes to troll.
Crappie anglers have several options when it comes to lures when fishing with planer boards. Arkie 220 or 350 Series Crankbaits (www.arkiejigs.com) are excellent for trolling. The smaller Arkie 220 Series dives to 2- to 6-feet deep while the larger Arkie 350 Series Crankbaits dives up to 9- to 11-feet deep. Both feature red hooks and track true right out of the package.
As for rigging, Dannenmueller uses 10 pound Hi-Vis Gamma and 8 pound clear. A double rig utilizing Road Runners (www.ttiblakemore.com) or Bobby Garland Crappie Baits (www.bobbygarlandcrappie.com) jig heads rigged with Strollers. One other lure Dannenmueller likes is a Rat-l-Trap Mini trap.
For rods, he uses B’n’M Poles (www.bnmpoles.com) Silver Cats rods and Abu Alphamra line counter reels.
Don’t let the revolution slip by you. Utilizing planer boards when crappie fishing is easy and a fun way to catch crappie. It’s just one more tool a crappie angler can use when fishing for crappie.