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Mark's Mailbag - New To Using Planer Boards

Mark's Mailbag are occasional posts to the blog in response to questions people submit on the Fishing 411 website.  Mark personally responds to the question and when relevant, we repost his answer here.  If you have a question you would like to ask Mark, please visit us at

Open water crappie often suspend in huge schools to feed on shad and
other minnows. Trolling with boards using small crankbaits and even jigs
 is the fast track to crappie fishing success.

On January 20th, Rodney wrote -  
I just received my new offshore tackle planer boards. I have become a pretty good spider rig fisherman. While exploring the use of planer boards, I realized that I was missing out on potential crappie outside the wake of my boat. I now have two mini planer boards and two walleye planer boards. I have never used planer boards, but have watched a lot of videos on YouTube. Any tips that you can offer?

Mark replies - Rodney:

You will enjoy fishing with both the Mini Board and the OR12 Side Planer boards. We use both often for crappie trolling with small crankbaits and also jigs. Often we use the OR12 as our outside board line to gain a little more outward coverage. This board would be best equipped with a Tattle Flag kit so you can see the flag go down when fish are hooked. The Economy Tattle Flag Kit is an inexpensive way to rig these boards with Tattle Flags. The
The Mini Board by Off Shore Tackle can be stacked two or three deep to
 increase the number of lines and lures fished when targeting
species like crappie.
Mini Board is often used as our inside line(s) because it will reach out a little further than your spider rigging rods. This board has two releases including the yellow OR10 on the tow arm and the red OR16 Snap Weight Clip on the back of the board. Set the line tension on the yellow release in the light setting by sliding the spring in the release to the backwards position. Set your bait the desired distance behind the boat and then place the line into the yellow release and finish rigging by placing the line also in the red release being sure to get the line behind the plastic pin in this release. When a crappie is hooked, the board can be released by simply giving the rod tip a little snap. The line will pop free of the front release but the board will remain on the line thanks to the red OR16 Snap Weight clip. Once the board is released you can simply reel in the board and fish together, remove the board and continue to fight the fish to net. This releasing method allows multiple boards to be set on each side of the boat without having to clear lines to fight fish. Pretty slick!

The Off Shore Side-Planer board is ideal for crappie trolling when equipped
with the Tattle Flag Kits. This spring loaded flag system makes it easy to
 see when a fish has been hooked as the flag folds down when
even a small fish is hooked.
As you get into fishing these boards you will undoubtedly have other questions. Don’t hesitate to contact me anytime and we will be glad to help you get the most from these and other Off Shore Tackle products. Thanks again Rodney for your purchase and also for taking the time to reach out for some fishing tips. Stay in touch and good luck on the water.

Best fishes,

Mark Romanack