Use Planer Boards To Troll From Your Kayak (Video)

Try this technique on aggressive winter trout

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Ever wondered how to use planer boards on your kayak? Nick is a kayak fishing guide in the San Francisco Bay area and host of the Nick Fish channel on YouTube. In this video, he trolls a local lake with planer boards to target rainbow trout. Nick explains the ins and outs of planer boards and provides an excellent demonstration, so tune in for all the details to try for yourself.

Kayak Trolling to Target Mt. Lassen Trout

It’s an idyllic winter day in Northern California as Nick arrives at the launch. He has two trolling setups on fly line, one with a Rapala Jointed 07 in fire tiger and the other with a 3/16-oz Rapala Countdown in brook trout. Nick suggests upgrading to slightly larger, sharper hooks on Rapala lures for a more consistent hookup.

man on a fishing kayak holds up a planing board
Planer boards help kayakers achieve a wider, more efficient spread and less overlapping strike zone while trolling. | Image: Nick Fish/YouTube

Why use planer boards? According to Nick, they help kayakers achieve a wider, more efficient spread and less overlapping strike zone while trolling—more like a larger fishing boat. A wider spread can help to drive shallow, aggressive winter trout into the baits as your kayak passes overhead. Planer boards also let you troll closer to shore.

How to Use Planer Boards

First, Nick rigs his line with a barrel swivel and bead about six feet up from the hook to act as a brake for the planer board. Then he lets out 75 feet of line and brings the rod tip forward to attach the planer board with a snap swivel. Finally, Nick slowly lets out another 25 feet of line, then engages the drag to send the board swinging wide.

As he fishes, Nick reels in some beautiful specimens of the stocked Mt. Lassen trout. One, he says, “could be my most beautiful trout. Pretty nice, huh?”

To try out planer boards for yourself, Nick recommends the Double X Tackle Original Clear Board. They come in packs of two, one for each side of the boat. Happy trolling!


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