Dancing With Boards
If you’re a “one size fits all” kind of guy, you might want to stop reading right now. When talk turns to in-line planer boards, most anglers own one size and use them for all their trolling needs.
In the case of the Off Shore Tackle OR12 Side-Planer, it’s easy to see why guys come to this conclusion. The OR12 functions exceptionally well for a wealth of trolling chores. Personally I’ve used these boards to target walleye, brown trout, lake trout, salmon, steelhead, northern pike, crappie and even muskies. To say this board is versatile would be a major understatement. The Side-Planer works great for about 90% of the trolling chores we face every year at Fishing 411 TV.
The Off Shore Tackle OR12 Side-Planer is the planer board all others are compared to. This versatile planer board does the heavy lifting for about 90% of the trolling chores an angler is likely to encounter.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; for every rule in fishing there is an exception to that rule. In this case the exception to the rule that the OR12 Side-Planer is the best board for the job boils down to some rather unique and specialized trolling situations.
TROLLING HEAVY METAL
When it becomes necessary to troll using long lengths of sinking lines such as copper wire, weighted steel wire and lengths of lead core line exceeding 10 colors, clearly the OR12 doesn’t have the muscle to do what a planer board is supposed to do. These lines are simply too heavy and have too much resistance in the water to allow the OR12 to plane out far enough to the side of the boat.
The solution to this problem is to incorporate a larger board such as the SST Pro Mag also produced by Off Shore Tackle. The SST Pro Mag is larger, more buoyant and comes factory equipped with the right line clips and releases for fishing these heavy sinking lines.
The SST Pro Mag is larger and designed to pull more weight. Popular with anglers who target trophy cats, the SST Pro Mag is also a good choice for fishing sinking lines such as lead core, copper line and weighted steel wire frequently used to target trout and salmon.
Most anglers who fish sinking lines rig them as a segment that includes a 50 foot leader of fluorocarbon line, a fixed amount of sinking line and 200 yards of backing line. The most popular backing line are super braids in the 30 to 50 pound test range. Super braids make good backing for fishing sinking lines because they are thin and allow a lot of line to be spooled onto a relatively small space.
The SST Pro Mag comes factory equipped with an OR18 Snapper Line Clip on the tow arm of the board and an OR16 Snap Weight Clip at the back of the board. The Snapper Clip is cam operated, adjustable and designed to function flawlessly with super braids which tend to be slick and very hard to hold firmly in a planer b board line release.
The OR16 Snap Weight clip at the back of the board is also unique in that it features a plastic pin in the middle of the rubber pads. When the line is placed behind this pin, the line can not come out of the clip.
By placing the braided line behind the pin and then wrapping the line one time around the outside of the clip, anglers enjoy a line clip that is easy to remove and one that will not slide on the line.
Besides being handy for trolling heavy sinking lines, the SST Pro Mag is also useful for trolling magnum sized crankbaits often used by pike, musky and saltwater trollers. The SST Pro Mag will handle any lure big or small without sacrificing the board’s ability to plane out to the side of the boat.
The SST Pro Mag is also the choice of fishermen who target trophy catfish using large sinkers and oversized live and cutbait applications. Even in strong river current, the SST Pro Mag performs flawlessly when it’s necessary to pull big baits and heavy sinkers.
PINT SIZED BAITS
Not everything these days in trolling involves bigger and deeper. A growing number of anglers are targeting smaller species such as crappie that clearly calls for a smaller planer board. The Awesome Crappie Board was designed especially for the unique needs of crappie trollers.
This blade style board features a buoyancy chamber at the top of the board that allows anglers to troll at super slow speeds. Perfect for trolling jigs tipped with live bait or soft plastics, the ACB also does a great job of pulling ultra light, light and medium sized crankbaits, in-line spinners and Tadpole Divers.
The Awesome Crappie Board is a blade style board that features a buoyancy chamber at the top. This unique design allows the board to be fished very slowly for species like crappie, yet this board can easily handle larger wobbling plugs commonly used by both crappie and river steelhead fishermen.
The ACB is also gaining a lot of praise from river steelhead fishermen who use these boards to present crankbaits to places that would be otherwise impossible to fish. Mini boards like the ACB do a magnificent job of presenting wobbling plugs to undercut banks, along submerged logs, boulders and other fish holding cover. The ACB can be fished from a boat or from shore when chasing steelhead and other species in rivers.
SUMMING IT UP
The OR12 Side-Planer is a work horse among in-line planer boards. Clearly this board is the one all others are compared to, but there are times when a bigger and also a smaller board are required. The SST Pro Mag and the Awesome Crappie Board attack these important trolling niches providing anglers with the right board for every trolling chore.