Chesapeake Bay Planer Boards
Written by Capt Frank Tuma -  Down Time Charters
Plans provided by Skip Zinc and Walt Miller

Planer boards used in the Chesapeake need to provide a carrying capacity of 3 to  5 lures pulling substantial weight including large umbrella rigs.

These plans and ideas are meant only as a reference. Each set I have made seem to have its own quirks and dimensions.  Have fun and enjoy.


Plans for 3 Board Planner – Rough Draft below

Detailed plans available at this link




(2) 8 foot 1" x 10" #1 Pine - no big knots, try to find straight boards

(30) 3/8" x 16" stainless steel nuts (to fit all-thread rods)

(28) 3/8" x 1 W' stainless steel fender washers (to fit all-thread rods)

(2) eye bolts stainless steel 3/8" - 2 W' - 3" long

(4) 2' long 3/8" x 16" stainless steel all thread (may have to purchase (2) 6' pieces) or
Alternative: Use pre-cut 3/8" x 24" "All Thread" from your local Hardware stores
– easier and cheaper than stainless.

(2) bike flags (Bright Orage)  with bracket or US Flags
Note: Use fiberglass rods - Wood dowels will break if hit by waves.

(1) Lok Tite thread sealer (small tube)

(1) quart orange paint - oil base is best
Alternative: paint with white house paint and spray paint with Florescent red/orange

FOR FLAG - buy separate at Home Depot or Lowes's (2) 1/4" x 1 W' stainless steel bolt

(2) W' stainless steel wing nut
(2) W' stainless steel washer

NOTE: stainless steel hardware available in lots of qty (100) at Leonard Jed Company 1301 Covington Street, Baltimore, MD 410-685-1482. By purchasing in this large quantity the cost is approximately one third the price at a home discount center or marine store.

Alternative: Use galvanized Bolts, nuts and washers - will last 5 to 10 years at half the price and easy to get at any hardware store!

Captain Frank,

Thought you might get a kick out of seeing your plans come together.  Only modification is my flag which I make myself out of two field points, two old carbon arrows, and some orange painted marine vinyl.

Thanks a lot, I can't wait to try them out on the waters.....


Tips and Tricks

 Just a note for offshore fisherman these work great at 6 to 7 knots out 25 feet. I have used these for Tuna with success on a boat we were fishing offshore that did not have Outriggers.  Boards may be an alternative to expensive ‘riggers

Use a reel to hold planer board line when not in use. Old open face reels work good to store line and keep from getting tangled when retrieving line.

I use 150 foot on each side with boards running out to about 100-125 foot with bow in line.

Old reel for storing running line works well if using thinner lines

Electric line winder used for keeping running line coiled properly and easy storage

Weed Whacker Trimmer line used for Running line

.095 or .105(preferred) Trimmer Line

Connecting reel line to running line is easy with a Scotty Clip setup.

Attaching the running line to the boat is very important.

It is best to attach as far forward as reasonably possible. Use a separate line - (1/2 nylon) to attach to the running line.
Planer line MUST run  to top or highest point on boat and out to Planer for best results.

Use a separate line - (1/2 nylon) to attach to the running line.
Leave a tag line from boat line or end of running line to the gunnels for easy set and retrieve of the running line

Capt Frank Tuma - Down Time Charters