A growing number of anglers who fish in-line planer boards are asking questions about how best to release the board when a fish is hooked or just for switching out unproductive lures. Perhaps the first question we should attack is why is it important to rig in-line board so it can be tripped?
Once the line is released from the tow arm, the Off Shore Tackle Side Planer simply spins around in the water and stops planing to the side. The board remains fixed to the line thanks to the OR16 Snap Weight Clip mounted to the back of the board. The board and fish are reeled in together and the board removed from the line when it gets close enough to the boat the angler can reach it.
THE ADVANTAGES OF RELEASING BOARDS
Back in the day when in-line planer boards were just starting to show up on the trolling scene, a lot of anglers where making the transition from using a planer board mast system to using in-line boards. At the time, anglers complained a lot about losing fishing when fishing a mast system.
With a mast and board system once the fish is hooked, the line must be popped free from the release on the tow line before the angler can start to reel in his or her catch. When the line pops free from the release, a few seconds of slack line occur before the boat moves forward enough to pull tight against the fish.
It’s true that a few fish get away when slack in the line allows the fish to escape. Enter in-line planer boards stage left. It’s important to note that the early versions of in-line planer boards were not designed to be released. Instead anglers reeled in the hooked fish and in-line board as the board continued to try and plane to the side.
The logic was that by not releasing the board, steady pressure was kept on the fish and very few fish were lost as a result. The truth is that logic was solid for the time, but reeling in a planer board that is still trying to plane is clearly a struggle.
RIGGING IN-LINE BOARDS TO RELEASE
As time has gone on, a growing number of anglers who fish in-line boards have started experimenting with various rigging methods that allow the board to release (stop planing out to the side) yet remain fixed to the line via a second line clip mounted to the back of the board. This rather unique rigging method accomplishes a couple important goals.
Rigging the line to pop free from the release mounted on the tow arm of the board, while at the same time remaining pinned to the board thanks to a second line clip at the back of the board has proven to be the best of both worlds. This rigging method allows the board to be released when a fish is hooked, causing the tripped board to quickly sweep from the side of the boat to a position directly behind the boat. In the process, other board lines are avoided and do not need to be cleared. This unique rigging method makes it possible to stack several planer board lines per side of the boat without fear of needing to clear lines to fight fish.
Secondly, when the line releases from the tow arm of the board, the board and hooked fish can be reeled in easier. Just as important, the fish is no longer able to gain leverage against a board that is still planing. Rigging in-line boards so the line can pop free of the tow arm release while the board remains pegged to the line makes it easier on the angler and harder in fact for fish to escape.
This is precisely why Off Shore Tackle Side-Planer boards come factory supplied with an OR19 (orange) line release on the tow arm and an OR16 Snap Weight Clip (red) mounted to the back of the board. In effect, this board comes factory rigged to function flawlessly using the release method with both monofilament and fluorocarbon line types.
The popular Off Shore Tackle OR12 Side Planer comes factory rigged with line releases and clips designed to be fished with monofilament and fluorocarbon lines.
WHAT ABOUT BRAIDED LINES?
If this rigging method has a fly in the ointment it is that most traditional pinch pad style line releases are only designed to function with Nylon lines. Today we are fortunate to have a new generation of line releases that are designed to accept low stretch super braid and fused lines and also to be rigged to release when a fish is hooked.
The Sam’s Release produced by Silver Horde Tackle is a plunger style release that allows super braid to be wrapped around a rubber plunger. A tension adjustment screw makes it easy to set the release tension on the plunger firm enough that when fish bite they get hooked solidly, yet light enough that a snap of the rod tip easily trips open the line release allowing the braided line to smoothly uncoil from the plunger.
Thanks to the Sam’s Release anglers can now choose to use either fused or super braids as their main line and still rig their boards to release. Also, the Sam’s Release is designed to fit the tow arm of the Off Shore Tackle Side-Planer, Mini Board and SST Pro Magnum boards perfectly.
THE LOOP TRICK
The factory rigging set up for the Side-Planer board is designed to handle both monofilament and fluorocarbon lines. When placing the line in the model OR19 release mounted to the tow arm of the board, many anglers twist the line a few times to create a small loop of line. The twists of line are placed between the rubber pads of the release, exposing a small loop of line.
The rigging is completed by placing the line behind the plastic pin found in the OR16 Snap Weight Clip mounted to the back of the board. Rigged in this manner the line can be tripped from the tow arm release much easier than if the line is placed linear between the rubber pads.
Little tips like the “loop trick” make it easy to fish in-line boards and trip them when necessary to fight a fish or simply to switch out a lure.
WHAT ABOUT THE RELEASE AND SLIDE METHOD?
Another rigging option is to allow the board to release from the tow arm clip and then to let the board slide down the line via a snap swivel mounted to the back of the board or by using a channel cut in the back of the board. While this method seems to make sense, the problem is once the board slides down to within a couple feet of the fish, the fish easily pulls the board under water.
Houston we have a problem! Allowing the board to be pulled under water makes it very difficult to gain line on a fish and allows the fish to have the leverage needed to tear free and escape. The Release and Slide Method was popular many years ago, but this rigging method is seriously outdated by the more efficient board rigging methods of today.
SUMMING IT UP
In short, rigging an in-line planer board to release when a fish is hooked or just to switch out lures is the best option when fishing multiple lines per side of the boat. The line releases needed to rig for monofilament and braided lines are different, but the end result is the same. No matter what type of line an angler chooses to use, the Off Shore Tackle Side-Planer, Mini Board and SST Pro Magnum boards can be rigged to trip, yet stay attached to the line.