We're about halfway through the 2016 trophy Rockfish season, and the fishing has been so good for many anglers that it could go down as one of the best Springs since the Striper fishery was reopened more than 25 years ago. A standard piece of equipment during the Trophy Season is plane boards. The other days the guys Tackle Cove were trying to recall exactly when planer boards made their debut on Chesapeake waters. Today, many trollers can't imagine not dragging them to maximize their spread.
We're also always interested in getting and sharing feedback from our customers—both professional charter skippers and sport fishermen. So here are some tips to make your experience trolling with planers more effective, and easier.
One of the most common complaints we hear is that some fishermen drag planers that are dark colored and flag-less. Florescent yellow, oranges and white work well. If you want to customize your TC planer boards (they come in white), knock yourself out – add a section a contrasting color—maybe a little Oriole orange? It is very important that you add flags, also in bright colors, to each board. A flag 36”-42” tall is about right.
For recreational boats with a beam of 9’ or less, 75’ of cord is usually sufficient. For larger boats with a wider beam, 100’ usually does the trick. Anything longer than that can become cumbersome and unwieldy, especially in the wind. And as we know there are always a good number of windy spring days on the Bay.
Now that you’ve ensured your trolling rig is visible to other vessels—especially ships, large barges and non-fishing boats also plying the shipping channels where many of us seek trophy rockfish—sound seamanship skills and knowing the Rules of the Road go a long way to avoiding on-the-water close calls. True, almost all of that experience comes as a result of time the water. Be alert at the helm, make course corrections to your track to avoid potential conflicts and plan your turns (slow and wide!) well in advance.