Planer Boards with Kids

Planer Boards with Kids
Planer Boards with Kids

Permitted use provided by:

Kids typically have a short attention span when it comes to fishing and although my boys are pretty hard core they still lapse off in to la-la land. Heck I fall off into the mist from time to time. It seems as though when you are paying the least amount of attention that you will get yourself a bit on the end of your rod, set the hook too late and cuss yourself long enough to dull yourself back into the mist.

Planer Boards with Kids

Well get yourself a set of planer boards and line counter rods and reels and you are in a different ball game. The front end costs of setting yourself up are not cheap if you are going to do it right, but once you are set up the fishing is fairly simple and great for kids.

I compare planer board fishing to tip-up fishing in the winter time. You personally do not need to constantly be watching a line or ready to set the hook. What you do need to be ready for is to have someone in the boat watching boards and most likely tattle flags.

By using planer boards, you can either run night crawler harness or rapalas behind the boards at various lengths. This allows you to cover a wide variety of water to find active fish. The fish hook themselves when the strike and all the angler has to do is real the line in on the rod, detach the planer board and bring the fish in.

The key is to get into the game. By watching fishing blogs such as the ones on Lake-Link, you will soon catch onto the lingo being used including speed of the boat and how many feet the person is running baits behind boards. Crawler harnesses are typically run slower at around 1 mph and crank baits are run at about 2 mph. I favor crankbaits when I am fishing and my go to bait is the Salmo hornet, maybe I am biased because it is from Poland.

Planer boards are sold at any local sporting good store and the standby seems to be the Offshore planer board and upgrading to the tattle flags. Tattle flags allow the angler to see a flag go down on the planer board detecting a fish. A fisherman can tell a fish strike however by watching their boards carefully and if they notice one running out of alignment compared to the others then they know something is wrong with the set-up and a potential fish is on.

Most anglers run three boards per side of their boat. Stores sell specific rods for trolling with planer boards and a line counter reel is recommended to know how far behind the boards you are running your baits. A fisherman needs to equip his boat with rod holders and he is set to go.

When I first started I used plastic, clamped on rod holders, open faced reels where I hand counted the line out and I caught plenty of fish. Since I have upgraded I have done increasingly better and it also allows my two sons to set up rods and line while I drive the boat.

This last week while fishing with the boys we are out on the Winnebago system. In four hours of fishing we boated over 40 fish, being constantly busy. Although most of our fish were sheepshead, the boys did not seem to mind that much. We managed to catch the front end of a storm front and boated 9 walleyes in the sixteen to twenty three inch range.

The key to this kind of fishing is to slowly build up your arsenal of gear and hopefully in a couple of years you have a consistent set of lures in the same body style and color. There are definite patterns to the fishing including type of lure, color, speed and depth of lure based off of feet of line behind the board. Once an angler figures this out and finds an active group of fish it is game on.

Keeping the boys interested is always a plus as the other day attested to, but if the day is slow it allows them to relax and have their own fun on the boat and when a fish strikes you can bring them back into the game at the snap of a flag.

Until next time, shoot straight.

- Scott Stankowski

Scott Stankowski is the senior outdoor writer for and produces weekly articles, typically highlighting getting kids active in the outdoors. His family prides itself on living off of the land. Scott also takes the mantra into the classroom where he teaches environmental science at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School. Scott and his sons have won numerous titles in turkey and deer calling at the state level.

Recommended for You


New TRUGLO Bowfishing EZ•Rest

May 23, 2019

Brush-style bowfishing arrow rest and kits designed for simplicity and reliability.


Game & Fish Magazine Names New Editorial Director

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications.


Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Pure Fishing's Andrew Wheeler tells Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead all about the brand new Abu Garcia Virtual rod that integrates Bluetooth technology through a free ANGLR smartphone app.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...


5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...


Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.