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Mini Boards, Less Really Is More

By Mark Romanack

Ever hear the adage that less is more? Sure, almost everyone appreciates a touch of minimalism when it can make our busy lives a little easier to navigate. In the world of sport fishing, less translates into simple and that’s almost always a good thing.

Admittedly, trolling in general can be a rather complex way to target fish. Most trolling presentations are laden down with lots of gear and also the knowledge of how best to put these products to work. That’s exactly why Off Shore Tackle’s new Mini Planer Board is so exciting.


The Off Shore Tackle OR34 Mini Planer
The all new Mini Planer Board packs a lot of planer board fishing opportunities into a very small and easy to fish product. This little board is only about 1/3 the size and weight of other in-line planers, but don’t let the small size mislead you. The Mini Planer is a serious fishing tool that does a great job of getting lures out to the side of the boat or in the case of river fishing, out away from the bank.

Conventional wisdom suggests that larger boards do a better job of planing lures out to the side of the boat. In part this is true, but for many of the lures and presentations trollers face, smaller boards can meet their needs nicely. The modest Mini Board is both smaller and lighter than other side planers, yet it does an excellent job of handling the common crankbaits, spoons, spinners, snap weights and other popular trolling gear anglers use.

Admittedly, the Mini Board isn’t going to pull as much weight as full sized boards, but it performs amazingly well with lures and trolling weights ranging from 3/8 to 2 ounces.

The author is using an electric motor to troll three Mini Boards
off each side of the boat.  In calm waters like this, the Mini
Board can be used to target a wealth of species.

The Mini Board is light. The biggest advantage of the Mini Board is the small size and weight makes fighting fish a more enjoyable experience. The resistance of this new product is amazingly modest, making it ideal for use with light rods and light line.

The Mini Board is also reversible. By simply popping out the tow arm and slipping it into the opposite side, the Mini Board can be rigged to run port or starboard in seconds!

The Mini Board is versatile. This new board comes standard with an OR-10 (yellow) Off Shore Tackle Planer Board Release. This release has two tension settings allowing the angler to customize spring tension for specific line sizes, trolling speeds and other fishing applications.

The Mini Board is portable. Small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, several Mini Boards will easily fit into a tackle box, making them ideal for fly-in trips or for use on rental boats.

The Mini Board even works great from shore. River fishermen are going to be amazed how well the Mini Board can tow lures out away from the bank. There is literally no limit to how much river water an angler can cover with the help of the Mini Board and a pair of waders.


Even walleye living in the Great Lakes can be targeted with
Mini Boards on days like this when the winds are mild.
The Mini Board is small and ideally suited to some specific and popular trolling situations. It’s also important
to note that some trolling techniques, like pulling lead core line or deep diving crankbaits, still require the heavy duty planing chores of full sized in-ine board or a dual board mast system.

One of the most simple and easy ways to put the Mini Board into action is with small to medium sized crankbaits. Simply cast a crankbait out behind the back of the boat, clip the line into the release on the tow arm of the Mini Board and then clip the snap swivel at the back of the board over the line. Drop the board into the water and troll away letting line play off the reel until the board is out to the side of the boat the desired distance.

The Mini Board will plane out to the side 50-75 feet or more depending on the lure and trolling speed! Because Mini Boards are so light, they can be fished with almost any rod and reel combination. Imagine, now there’s no need for heavy trolling rods, reels and lines to enjoy planer board fishing.

Spoons are another trolling presentation that’s tailor made for the new Mini Board. Both trolling and casting spoons can be rigged behind a Mini Board for targeting a wealth of species. Add a small Snap Weight or other in-line weight a few feet ahead of the spoon to achieve the desired depth and you’re fishing that quickly.

Crappie are just one of many species that
can be targeted successfully using Mini
Boards and popular lures like this Berkley
Flicker Shad.
Crawler harnesses are another lure that cry out for the Mini Board. Use Snap Weights, keel weights or just a couple split shots to sink the crawler harness, add the Mini Board and you’re trolling a deadly rig for walleye, smallmouth bass and a host of other species.

The Mini Board is also ideal for targeting suspended crappie with both crankbaits and jigs. Stack up to three or four Mini Boards per side if you like. It only takes a snap of the rod tip to trip the line release, making it easy to fish multiple lines per side without having to clear lines to fight fish! Also, don’t overlook the Mini Board’s ability to slow troll shad and other live baits for striper. The practical uses of this new board are only limited by the imagination and ingenuity of those who fish them!


Mini Boards can be used to troll just about any small to medium sized lures or weight systems. Don’t try to use Mini Boards to pull lead core line, bottom bouncers, deep diving crankbaits or other rigs that have a substantial amount of resistance in the water.

Mini Boards can be used with almost any rod and reel, but as always with trolling line counter reels remains the most practical way to monitor lead lengths which in turn dictate respective lure running depth.

As with any trolling presentation, conveniently located rod holders are a plus for fishing Mini Boards. If you have a small boat, clamp on style holders might be the best option. For larger boats a wealth of more permanent style rod holders will work well.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with Mini Boards for targeting just about any species that swims. With a little ingenuity, these new products can open the door to amazing fishing opportunities.