Reviewed by CAPT. MIKE SCHOONVELD
Perhaps this fishing tool would have a better following if Church Tackle could come up with a more descriptive name. The Stern Planer doesn’t plane. It just drags along back behind the boat. Perhaps the name is just a marketing ploy. Would you buy a Stern Dragger?”
Regardless of the name, what does it do? You attach a planer to keep trolled lines from simply dragging straight behind the boat’s stern. If a troller wants a lure to troll straight behind the boat, why not just let it out and stick the rod in a rod holder? What advantage does the Stern Planer offer? More than you might guess.
I didn’t understand the concept of a Stern Planer until I fished with a walleye-guy who used a measured amount of line between his in-line planer boards and the lures he was trolling. The measured length of line kept his lures swimming at specific depths.
Bingo! The light bulb in my mind clicked bright.
There are charts which will show the trolling depth various lures will achieve with more or less line is deployed (measured from where the line enters the water to the lure.) Say you want your lure to troll 12 feet deep. The chart shows you need 50 feet of line in the water. Let out 50 feet of line, attach a side planer (or the Stern Planer) and it’s set perfectly.
Let out 50 feet of line without the SP, then put the rod in a stern-mounted rod holder and 20, 25 or 30 feet of the line will be out of the water. So let out more line but how much more? There’s no chart for this. The depth of the lure on the stern line is little more than a guess.
On my boat, I don’t often run an unweighted stern line, but I do often put a six to ten color lead core line “right down the chute.” Right down the chute often means “right in the way” when a fish bites one of my other lines and it’s being reeled into net range.
The Stern Planer comes in two sizes (TX-005 is small, TX-007 is large). The TX-005 will tow any sort of crankbait or other lightweight lure. The large size will pull 10 colors of lead core line. When I have a chute line out, the Stern Planer not only makes it easy to spot where the chute line enters the water, but makes it possible to just let out 25 or 30 more yards of line when a fish bites some other line. The stern cone slides back so the fish being caught on other lines can be fought under the stern line, not along side it.