Both the TX-007 (top) and the TX-005 (bottom) Stern Planers from Church Tackle have become such useful weapons in my spread of boards while fishing for walleye. Recently I was asked how do I use them, or to put in better terms, “How do they fish?” Actually my method has evolved a bit since the first time I dropped a -007 into the water off the back of the boat.
When I started using the -007’s a few years ago, my philosophy was that my stiffer planer board rods were too rigid for the stern planers. I had a set of four downrigger rods all rigged up, and started using those in the back rod holders for them. The DR rods were perfect for telegraphing the action of the planers, and would tug violently when a fish would first get on the presented bait.
Problem was this, with a third guy in the boat, and being able to run 9 rods it became a big harder to pay attention to the side planers and the stern units at the same time. If a silver bass or white perch got on the line, they would still jerk the rod tip, but they tend to settle down a bit, and eventually just get dragged along for the ride. Us anglers, if we didn’t catch the initial bite were none the wiser.
With some thought, I fixed this issue, not with the rods, but with my Daiwa linecounter reels and working with the modified circle hooks that are used on crawler harnesses. Staying with the hooks for just a second, I will explain that philosophy. It doesn’t matter with the VMC treble hooks that come on my Rapala and Storm crankbaits, once hooked, the fish are hooked. Its when using the crawler harnesses and looking at the what is basically a circle hook with a wider bend. My solution was to set the stern planers to the desired distance behind the boat, turn on the clicker on the reel, and back the drag off to where the line friction on the spool was held on by the clicker. When a fish hits, the clicker screams with the line going out. No more worrying about watching the rod react to the bite, issue resolved. Only question left was how to react to a fish being on, I will say this, never, ever try to set the hook. You can lose up to 50% of the fish that strike your crawler harness. This is also where that modified circle style of hook comes into play, you simply tighten up the drag and let the hook and the fish do the work for you. The more the fish struggles against the tension, the deeper the hook works itself in.
You can also read more about Church Tackle’s Stern Planers with these previously written pieces, click on the link and learn more!