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Shad Baits and the Walleye Connection

By Mark Romanack

Great Lakes walleye like this one from Saginaw Bay are often caught
trolling shad baits behind in-line planer boards.
A lot of different crankbaits catch walleye. A few of these lures even catch walleye often, but only a handful of crankbaits catch walleye routinely. Amazingly, one particular size and shape of crankbait seems to produce walleye just about everywhere they are found.

It’s no coincidence that shad baits (particularly the smaller sizes) routinely take walleye in rivers, impoundments, natural lakes and in the Great Lakes. These baits produce well when casted to shallow water, trolled on planer boards in open water and even combined with lead core line to dredge the bottom. 

Mark's Mailbag - New To Using Planer Boards

Mark's Mailbag are occasional posts to the blog in response to questions people submit on the Fishing 411 website.  Mark personally responds to the question and when relevant, we repost his answer here.  If you have a question you would like to ask Mark, please visit us at

Open water crappie often suspend in huge schools to feed on shad and
other minnows. Trolling with boards using small crankbaits and even jigs
 is the fast track to crappie fishing success.

On January 20th, Rodney wrote -  
I just received my new offshore tackle planer boards. I have become a pretty good spider rig fisherman. While exploring the use of planer boards, I realized that I was missing out on potential crappie outside the wake of my boat. I now have two mini planer boards and two walleye planer boards. I have never used planer boards, but have watched a lot of videos on YouTube. Any tips that you can offer?

Mark replies - Rodney:

You will enjoy fishing with both the Mini Board and the OR12 Side Planer boards. We use both often for crappie trolling with small crankbaits and also jigs. Often we use the OR12

A Little Smell Good

By Mark Romanack

Pro Cure produces a host of fishing attracting scent products. The Super 
Gels are rapidly becoming a favorite of the Fishing 411 crew.
You know how the smell of fresh baked bread coming out of the oven makes your mouth water? Fishing scents don’t smell like that, but they have the same impact on hungry fish.

A growing number of anglers realize that enjoying success in a fishing boat often boils down to the little details associated with fishing. Using scent products to entice fish into striking is one of those often overlooked details in fishing that can and often does make a difference.

The concept of adding scents to fishing lures in an effort to entice more bites isn’t something new in fishing. What is new is that fishing scents these days are a lot more sophisticated than many anglers realize. 

Modify those Plugs

By Mark Romanack

Josh Crabtree, one of the author’s steelhead fishing buddies often modifies
 his favorite plugs. The Mag Lip 3.0 pictured here has had the belly hook
removed, the rear treble hook is a Mustad Triple Grip he added and he
also added a touch of color to the nose and tail of the bait using a
bright red Sharpie pen.
Not many anglers are as enamored with crankbaits or what many anglers simply call “plugs” as I am. For more than 20 years I’ve spent a significant amount of my “on the water” time both fishing with and testing the diving depths of these hard baits for our Precision Trolling Data apps.

The reason I have so much faith in crankbait fishing is I’ve witnessed time and time again how effective these lures are in catching all sorts of fish. Also, I’ve also come to the conclusion that when I can catch fish on plugs, chances are they are going to be bigger fish than I might have otherwise caught on live baits or rigs.