Planer Fishing - Techniques for Driving Center Consoles

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Instructor: RJ Boyle

Mastering trolling with planers involves proper boat handling, keeping the boat in gear, and turning the boat as you reel in. Focus on not tangling the line with the fish, and create a clean water lane with a gradual turn. Be methodical and communicate to ensure the boat driver is handling the boat correctly. By following these tips, you can catch more fish with ease.

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When trolling with planers on a center console boat, driving is paramount. In most aspects of trolling, boat driving is pivotal to your success in landing fish. Trolling with planers can effectively catch wahoo, mackerel, tuna, and other game fish. It's straightforward if you grasp a few basic fishing principles. One of the most crucial principles is how you drive the boat.

In The Spread has a short video that showcases best practices for driving a small boat once you've hooked a fish. Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Never Take the Boat Out of Gear: Always continue in a straight line. Slowing down upon hooking a fish might result in getting cut off. It's essential to keep pulling on the fish. You can even increase the throttle slightly to maintain pressure on the fish. Wahoo and mackerel often swim back towards the boat upon hooking, so keep moving forw ard.
  2. Reeling in the Fish: Once you've hooked a fish and start reeling it in, remember: There's no need to remove the rod from its holder. You can angle without picking it up. As you reel in, the boat driver should ensure the fish doesn't get tangled with another line. Avoid reeling in another planer; leave it out for another bite.
  3. Turning the Boat: When the fish is closer, the driver should turn the boat away from the fish's direction. For a fish on the starboard rod, turn to port. This creates a clear water alley on the starboard side. The video demonstrates the simplicity of this turn.
  4. Handling the Planer: Once the planer surfaces, hold the leader and release the line back into the water. The boat's forward motion will drift the line away. Avoid placing the line inside the boat as it can easily tangle.
  5. Approaching Gaff Range: As the fish comes within gaff range, turn the boat towards the fish. If the fish is on the starboard side, move in that direction. Always make gradual turns and avoid taking the boat out of gear.

In conclusion, when you've hooked a fish, be patient and systematic. Ensure the driver steers correctly and maintain open communication when trolling with planers.

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