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  1. #1
    Rear Admiral rolmops's Avatar
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    Default building a planer board mast.

    I am currently building a planer board mast so I can do some Lake Ontario brown trout fishing next spring and then later on some steelhead hunting.
    I have built the boards and currently the mast is being worked on.
    For the board lines I want to use the reels of Cannon mini-troll down riggers.They have a good braking system and every revolution is a foot of line.They even have a good handle.
    I took one off an old minitroll that I had laying around,but now I am looking for a second reel.
    If you have a mini troll laying around that you don't use or that is damaged but still has a good reel, handle and brakes,can you please send me a pm?
    Thank you, rolmops.
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  2. #2
    Lieutenant Commander MRS's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    I do have a EasI Troll I will that work let me know and will pm you. It is a older model all works good just can't use on boat I have now......

  3. #3
    Admiral dingbat's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Pretty common to see old big game reels used as planer take-up reels as well. Fairly cheap and a lot smaller than down rigger wheels
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    you at a point of posting pictures yet? Just curious- I made one all homemade including reels which I need to modify and thought maybe I might get ideas from you!

  5. #5
    Rear Admiral rolmops's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Here are the plans that I am using.They are not designed by me.They are off the Lake Ontario United web site.
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  6. #6
    Rear Admiral rolmops's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    oops double post
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  7. #7
    Lieutenant Mark_VTfisherman's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: building a planer board mast.

    Quote Originally Posted by rolmops View Post
    Here are the plans that I am using.They are not designed by me.They are off the Lake Ontario United web site.
    Yes- those are the same boards I built.

    My only comment is that I made mine of Eastern White Pine and spar varnished them 3 coats- look good and worked fairly well, but they need a little lead flashing nailed on the keels to keep them from jumping out of the water.

    I actually didn't run them this year - only ran in-line boards but I MUCH prefer the simplicity of the yellow Offshore shower-curtain-hook-style planer board releases on planer mast boards cuz you can stack so many rods on them (or should I say spread, not stack) and just run out spare releases when you get a release. Then after a few fish, reel in the boards, retrieve your releases, and start again.

    Using the Cannon reels will save you from R&D, which is what making my own reels feels like.

  8. #8
    Rear Admiral rolmops's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Here in NY we can only fish with 2 rods per person,and since I mostly fish solo I don't think that I will ever have a (legal) spread on there.I mostly want to use the boards in early spring when the browns and the Cohos are very close into the shore (5 feet depth) and the boat would just chase them away.Now with 150 feet of planer line out they will never see me come.
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  9. #9
    Admiral Huron Angler's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Quote Originally Posted by dingbat View Post
    Pretty common to see old big game reels used as planer take-up reels as well. Fairly cheap and a lot smaller than down rigger wheels
    What kind of line do people use with that type of setup? I like the idea

  10. #10
    Lieutenant Mark_VTfisherman's Avatar
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    Post Re: building a planer board mast.

    Quote Originally Posted by Huron Angler View Post
    What kind of line do people use with that type of setup? I like the idea
    a lot of commercial setups use 130 pound+ test braided stainless, but what I have and a friend suggested was 80# fluorescent green or orange monofilament. This is sufficient for this size planer board AND it gives some shock absorption. Some have commented that they would be worrying about losing equipment (boards) but boards float and I would rather break the line than rip the mast off my boat or heel it over and founder if I get messed up. Two years with these boards and no woopsies.
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  11. #11
    Lieutenant Mark_VTfisherman's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Quote Originally Posted by rolmops View Post
    Here in NY we can only fish with 2 rods per person,and since I mostly fish solo I don't think that I will ever have a (legal) spread on there
    That is why {we** are always looking for guest boaters

    We can legally run two lines per angler in most Vermont waters, but to really have an educational outing and good width as well as depth coverage we need to see six or eight lines out. Planer boards and dipseys allow it.

    So you need any guest boaters this spring? You won't even have to provide and set up the tackle. Hehe.
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  12. #12
    Admiral Huron Angler's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Michigan now allows three rods per person

    After many years of running sliders to get more hooks in the water legally.

    With two on board we can now run six poles, 4 on downriggers(with sliders if we want to tempt tangles) and two on planer boards...cover an awful lot of water

    I will be getting my SS ready for planer boards and downriggers this spring, hopefully I can finish my restoration and have money left over for gear

  13. #13
    Admiral dingbat's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Quote Originally Posted by rolmops View Post
    Here are the plans that I am using.They are not designed by me.They are off the Lake Ontario United web site.
    I just burned a set of those a month or so ago. Way to small for my use. Doubt they would perform very well even in flat water. Too buoyant. Need to use larger lumber (1" x 8" or 10") if they are to be used in anything but a flat day
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  14. #14
    Admiral dingbat's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Quote Originally Posted by Huron Angler View Post
    What kind of line do people use with that type of setup? I like the idea
    Typically 200-250# braided line (Power Pro) if running "small" boards. Could get away with a lot less depending on the size of your boards.

    A lot of guys like myself are running "small rowboats" (3-board, 1" x 12" x 36" lg.) as planers use either 0.095" or 0.105" string trimmer line. I run 125 foot long x 0.095" lines on mine and use an extention cord reel to store them.

    Then there are the guys that run bigger yet. Note the (white) planer sitting on the dock with the extention cord reel between them.

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  15. #15
    Rear Admiral rolmops's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    So far the planer boards that I built with these plans work fine for me.I don't have any trouble with wave action and,because of their size, I barely have room to store them on my boat.
    If I would use the large one shown on your picture,I would need to tow a small sloop behind my boat to store them!
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  16. #16
    Admiral dingbat's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Quote Originally Posted by rolmops View Post
    So far the planer boards that I built with these plans work fine for me.I don't have any trouble with wave action and,because of their size, I barely have room to store them on my boat.
    If I would use the large one shown on your picture,I would need to tow a small sloop behind my boat to store them!
    Iím not saying you need the monster boards we pull when Striper fishing. All I'm saying is that I built those exact boards and had problem with them flipping when it got rough. Just trying to put you out front of the learning curve but seemed to have offended you in the process.

    Flipping a board is not pretty. Keep a knife handy for when it happens.
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  17. #17
    Rear Admiral rolmops's Avatar
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    Smile Re: building a planer board mast.

    Quote Originally Posted by dingbat View Post
    Iím not saying you need the monster boards we pull when Striper fishing. All I'm saying is that I built those exact boards and had problem with them flipping when it got rough. Just trying to put you out front of the learning curve but seemed to have offended you in the process.

    Flipping a board is not pretty. Keep a knife handy for when it happens.
    You most certainly did not offend me,so let us not even mention that thought again.
    My main concern here is storage space.As for rough weather,I use an open bow 19 footer and trying to steer that with lines out and planer boards riding the waves mostly limits my use of them in under 2 foot waves,forget about whiteheads.Mark mentioned the same problem with stability so weighing them down or stabilizing them with flashing rear keels is certainly a good idea
    I do use 200# test bright yellow braided line so the idea of keeping a knife handy is a very good one.
    The only striper fishing I do is in the waters off Cape Cod,but there are so many lobster pot buoys out there that planer boards would be instant trouble.
    Can you describe what to expect when a board flips?
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  18. #18
    Admiral Huron Angler's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    I don't know about flipping but when you toss the starboard planer on the portside while trolling it gets ugly real quick I'd imagine when they flip they cut back in towards the boat in a hurry but will defer to dingbat on this one.

    We have used the otter brand that float over more than cut thru the waves and they have a deep weighted keel that keeps them upright pretty well.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Hey Rolmops. I use the Riviera (Offshore) double ski's, and love them. 150lb. is what I would consider standard for "big board" fishing, using triple ski's up to 200lb. tow line is suggested. Put it this way; at about 3-4 bucks a piece having a couple of sets of clips dumped in the water by a snapped tow line would tick me off and take me out of my game. I use the Big jons planer reels, I feel there clutch is far superior to others. As far as storing your boards, look at the offshores and similar models, they all fold up very compact and hardley take up any space. By the way when your boards flip, and they will, it can suck balls. The boards will pull and dive. If you ever fish with inline boards and hook a salmon on leadcore, that board sometimes submarines adding a ton of pressure, well magnify this feeling times ten, make sure your rodtips don't get caught in your towline otherwise you will laugh and cry at the same time as you rods on one side of the boat dissapear forever.

  20. #20
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    Post Re: building a planer board mast.

    Quote Originally Posted by rolmops View Post
    ...My main concern here is storage space.As for rough weather,I use an open bow 19 footer and trying to steer that with lines out and planer boards riding the waves mostly limits my use of them in under 2 foot waves,forget about white[caps].Mark mentioned the same problem with stability so weighing them down or stabilizing them with flashing rear keels is certainly a good idea
    I never saw them flip...yet. However, what I had an issue with was the boards would "surge" rapidly jumping ahead and jumping out of the water briefly, dragging back a sec, then grabbing water good before scooting ahead again. I think some wave action and surging *can* be good for lure action, but what I was experience was tangling line in rapala trebles and scooting spoons out of the water, neither of which is good for catching fish. Weighting the keel (bottom) keeps more of the board in the water. Those bright yellow Offshore's do plane nice, but they ride deeper than a wooden board because they have more density, which is probably why they run nice.

    Why build your own? Biggest reason for me is I like the mystique of making my own stuff, and I built a pair for pretty cheap. Plus, I don't like looking at plastic stuff and watching those bright varnished pine boards out there makes me feel all John Denver-ey

    Another big motivator for me is what I will call the 'social aesthetic.' Sure, you can go spend $600 or so and buy a nice Big Jon mast and boards, but I have less than $100 in my homemade mast and boards. And the side benefit is that the guys who go out and spend the $600 don't always just start catching fish and they think that you do because you know some "secret" you incorporated into your boards when you built them

    rolmops, I think you will have no problem catching fish...btw When you can do it without the boards, having the boards only helps!

    Quote Originally Posted by rolmops View Post
    I do use 200# test bright yellow braided line so the idea of keeping a knife handy is a very good one....
    I would just reach over and free-spool the reel, kill the motor, clear the lines, and winch the sucker back in. Never had to do this yet though. The only board trouble I have had is catching up on weeds with inline boards.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Lots of guys that fish the Great Lakes will use an Amish style double or triple ski planer board. I believe these are made from Redwood. These boards are not varnished, I know that sounds funny, but the principle of these boards is to intake water and swell up some. By swelling up and uptaking water they pull like mules and ride lower to the surface than other style of big boards. Check out Fisherman's Wharf in Port Clinton, Ohio. They sell them and have a website to check out for ideas. Capt. Rick Lacourse is a top notch Lake Erie walleye Captain that's been using the redwood boards for decades. Capt.Ernie Lantiegne is one of the, if not the best Lake Ontario salmon/trout captains he uses pine triple skis. Have you thought of an idea to help in storage (some kind of sturdy stainless steel folding brace.) Like from a card table

  22. #22
    Admiral dingbat's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Quote Originally Posted by WATERHAM View Post
    Lots of guys that fish the Great Lakes will use an Amish style double or triple ski planer board. I believe these are made from Redwood. These boards are not varnished, I know that sounds funny, but the principle of these boards is to intake water and swell up some. By swelling up and uptaking water they pull like mules and ride lower to the surface than other style of big boards.
    Interesting that they still use Redwood. We've gone exclusively to Southern Pine. Same no rot properties as redwood but SP is 30% denser so they dig in much better than the same sized redwood board. The additional draft makes the boards pull harder, track better and at a much greater angle off the boat. Not to mention SP is about 1/5 the cost of redwood.

    As for fold-downs, there are a couple of designed used around here. Most use aluminum flat bars on the top and bottom instead of the all-thread. Here is a design for a folding triple board setup. Could be modified for use on a 2 board setup quite easily.

    http://www.gofishbaltimore.com/skipsPlanerBoards.html

    I would just reach over and free-spool the reel, kill the motor, clear the lines, and winch the sucker back in. Never had to do this yet though.
    I've had it happen twice. Good luck with that plan.
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    Dingbat,
    I like those plans, seems like you are ahead of the learning curve w/ Redwood vs. Pine. I know this is a "homemade post" but the auto reels are slick, when you're done fishing drive up to the board and pick it up.

  24. #24
    Rear Admiral rolmops's Avatar
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    Smile Re: building a planer board mast.

    Here is a small update.
    I never did get the second mini troll reel,but today a good person gave me his to old Riviera manual down riggers.The reel on the Riviera down rigger is about 3 times the size of the Mini Troll reel.Now I have TWO reels that are bigger and better than what I originally planned on.
    Things are getting better.
    I would really appreciate it if you can go out to Lake Ontario and dump a few tons of steel head feed in the water,so they are huge by the time I hit the water in May...
    Make sure the plug is in

  25. #25
    Lieutenant Mark_VTfisherman's Avatar
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    Default Re: building a planer board mast.

    I love homemade stuff- good to hear of your good luck.

    BTW- from what I hear they are going to be huge anyway!

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