In-Line or Wind-On Planer Fishing - Learn How to Run Them

October 18, 2022
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Planer fishing is a crucial technique for catching fish in the water column. It involves using a hydrofoil driven down by water pressure to position bait in the water column. This technique is effective for catching game fish like mackerel, wahoo, tuna, sailfish, grouper, snapper, and amberjack. Planer fishing is a standard on many successful charter fishing boats in South Florida, and once set up, it becomes easy to use.

There are a few techniques that every fisherman should understand and use. Planer fishing is one of those techniques and quite possibly, it may be the best one. Why do I say that? It's simple. Fish do not typically spend most of there time at the surface or at the bottom. They will be somewhere in between. How you reach them is the key. This is where planers come into play.

Planer fishing is an art and once understood and utilized, it will have you catching fish when others are not. There are two basic methods. You have in-line or wind-on planer fishing and the old school method. The two work on the same fundamental level, which is to get your lure or bait presentation down in the water column where the fish are hangin out.

Watch the videos:

In-Line Planer Fishing Techniques

Basics of Planer Fishing

Offshore Fishing with Trolling Planers

This is really a very simple fishing technique that on the surface may appears to be bit complicated. It doesn't have to be and our In The Spread fishing videos can show you how to use fishing planers to catch any number of desirable game fish, from mackerel, wahoo, tuna, sailfish, grouper, snapper, amberjack and more. Our fishing videos are in-depth covering multiple perspectives from several of South Florida's premier fishermen.

Using fishing planers is a standard on just about every successful charter fishing boat in S. Florida. Once you have a grasp on how to set them up and deploy them, it becomes so easy.

Why Use Fishing Planers

In theory and in practical application, a planer is a hydrofoil that when engaged is driven down by the force of the water pushing against it, as you drag it through the water. This allows you get a bait down in the water column and keep it there, as you troll around. Why would you want to do this? Well, let's explore this.

The game fish we all like to catch have a common motivation and that is food. Baitfish make up the food and baitfish move up and down in the water column based on plankton movements. This is all driven by light and oxygen. For more details on this, check out my other article on planer fishing and suspended fish https://inthespread.com/blog/planer-fishing-target-suspended-fish.

Fish like mackerel, wahoo and tuna do no stray far from food. Depending on where in the water colum that food is situated is where gamefish will suspend. In hotter months, fish will stay down, so if you are trolling baits on are near the surface, you may not catch much. You have to get your presentations down where the fish are and planers allow you to do this. This way you can troll baits at a given depth, making your presentations count.

In-Line or Wind-On Planers

There are two commonly used methods of planer fishing. One involves running the planer in line with the main line and leader. This method is referred to as in-line or wind-on planer fishing. The other method is the old school way, where your main line attaches to one end of the planer and the leader to the other end. You cannot remove the planer so once the planer is retrieved, you can only reel it to the rod tip. You then have to hand line the leader and your fish all the way in. You can easily pull too hard by hand and pull a hook, or break a light leader if the fish makes a hard run. This is inherently problematic and why in-line planers are far better. Hey, both work. It's just a matter of choice.

In-line or wind-on planers connect by a bridle to the main line. After hook up, you reel the planer up, remove it from the line and then continue cranking in line, thus winding on the leader and bringing the fish to the boat. There is no need to hand line a hundred or so feet of leader material. This is a huge benefit, especially when dealing with larger fish. Drag pressure applied to a fish with the reel is far more consistent than the pressure you apply pulling a fish in by hand. If the fish makes a run at the boat, it's harder to quickly pull up the slack by hand than it is to crank like hell on the reel.

A detachable planer bridle is designed to allow the attachment of the planer to fixed loops at the top of the shock leader by way of swivels or clips of your choosing. The planer can then be removed as it reaches the rod tip allowing the angler to wind-on their shock leaders and fight the fish all the way to the rod tip. This eliminates the need to hand line the leader and conveniently stores the shock leader on the planer reel.

What we do with our planer fishing videos is give you ample visual education and explanation, so you know exactly how everything works. You learn the rigs, how to set and trip planers, the tackle you should consider, how to set up your boat, the baits, all the terminal tackle, boat driving skills and loads more. We feature highly experienced fishermen that do this all the time. Each fishermen instructor clearly articulates each and every aspect that you need to know and more.

Utilize the knowledge we are transferring in our planer fishing videos to you to become a smarter fisherman. Hone your skills with practice and revert back to the videos, as needed to clarify as point that you have questions on.

Seth Horne

Chief Instructor

In The Spread

Seth Horne In The Spread,
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