Planer Boards, Pick Your Poison
By: Mark Romanack
The father and son team of Bruce (left) and Nick DeShano are the fishermen behind the Off Shore Tackle Company family of in-line planer boards. Designed, built and field tested here in the USA, to deliver years of trouble free service.
The in-line planer board was once a novelty in the trolling game. These days in-line boards are dominating the trolling scene and for good reason. In-line boards are easy to rig, easy to fish, affordable and they are likely to last longer than your fishing boat!
When in-line boards first hit the market, they didn’t exactly impress anyone with their quality. One of the first in-line board introductions was made from a rather delicate foam material molded over a framework of wire. If the board got dropped on the floor or someone stepped on it, it was easily broken.
A hollow plastic board soon followed that could be fished either on the port or starboard side of the boat. While creating a board that could be fished on either side was a good idea, the tow arm on these boards were delicate and also easily broken.
A more sturdy wooden board made a small splash back in the day. While these wooden boards worked, the tow arm mechanism was clumsy to use and the consumer was required to assemble the board before it could be used. Not good.
It wasn’t until Off Shore Tackle introduced the OR12 Side-Planer that the popularity of the in-line board started to take off. The OR12 had the advantage of being easy to rig and for the first time anglers had the option of using a number of different line releases and rigging configurations aimed at different trolling situations. The OR12 can tow more weight than previous in-line boards and it was also tough enough to last for years and years. In fact, many of those first introductions of the OR12 are still on the water catching fish!
It wasn’t long and the OR12 became the in-line planer board all others would be compared to. American made by fishermen for fishermen, it didn’t take Off Shore Tackle to realize there was a demand for both a bigger and smaller planer board on the trolling scene.
The OR12 is the in-line planer board that took the trolling world by storm.
THE SST PRO MAG
The SST Pro Mag is essentially a bigger version of the OR12 that is designed for those who troll with sinking lines and other heavy trolling gear. The perfect board for fishing stranded copper wire, weighted stainless steel wire, lead core line, in-line weights and larger divers such as the No. 3 and Magnum Tadpole Divers, the SST Pro Mag is widely in use for salmon, trout, striper, catfish and musky fishing applications.
THE AWESOME CRAPPIE BOARD
The Awesome Crappie Board addresses the need for a lighter in-line board that can be fished on light lines and with light action rods. Designed with crappie trolling applications in mind, the Awesome Crappie Board is also ideal for a host of other “stealth trolling” applications.
River steelhead anglers commonly use the Awesome Crappie Board to present wobbling plugs out away from the boat when back-trolling and also forward trolling in slack water. Shore fishermen in rivers also use the Awesome Crappie Board to access water they otherwise couldn’t reach.
Walleye anglers love the Awesome Crappie Board for pulling small spinners and crankbaits over weed flats and along rocky shorelines. Pike trollers find that pulling shallow diving stickbaits over the top of dense weed patches is the fast track to limit catches.
INNOVATION NEVER ENDS
At Off Shore Tackle innovation never ends. All three in-line boards produced by OST have undergone refinements over the years aimed at making these products more functional and a better value to the fishing consumer. Because these boards are designed, built and field tested in Michigan, product changes can be implemented quickly and brought to market in record time.
A host of line releases can be used on these boards including the popular Sam’s Pro Release, OR18 Snapper, OR16 Snap Weight Clip, OR19, OR14 and the OR10. With some many line release and line clip options, there is really no limit to how these boards can be fished.
After market products such as the Tattle Flag Kits have further made trolling with in-line boards a more enjoyable and productive experience. In short, no other manufacturer has even come close to producing products that perform like the family of boards and accessories found at Off Shore Tackle Company.