Fish ON! Dang...it's the outside board...Do I Clear the Inside Boards?by Capt Juls on 02/06/19
Let’s set the stage: It’s a beautiful morning, the wind is light, there’s a beautiful sunrise happening, and there’s a small chop on the water, and I have great expectations for a good bite here on Lake Erie. I have new customers in the boat that have never fished with Off Shore inline planer boards before and are excited to learn.
My Off Shore Boards: I use the Tattle Flag system on mine. The front arm has the OR-18 black “Snapper” release on it, and on the back, I like to use the red OR-16 release. The Snapper has a toggling closure that allows me to use it two different ways, but I only use it one way, with the closure pushed down, to put the pin in the front of the line, keeping it from releasing until I take the board off. The OR-16 has a pin in the center of it, so when the line is put behind that pin it will not release from the line until I take it off.
There are many different set ups used by many different people, and what works best for one person might not be the best for another person. The way that works best for you is the way to use them. That’s why Off Shore Tackle has a plethora of release options to choose from.
I have used mine this way for 18 years, and it hasn’t let me down. Is it the best way? I don’t know, probably not. But, it works best for me. Will this work for you too? It most certainly will!
The first question from a novice board user is, “How do you bring in the outside board when a fish is on?” “I’ll show you”, I say. This is something that I’ve started doing, and it seems to work out pretty well. Will it tangle with the other lines inside? Sometimes, but for the most part it’s tangle-free.
I’m usually running three boards per side and will try to run leads as short as I can. That means, if I have to run the baits deeper, I’ll use a “Guppie Snap Weight” on a crankbait, or a “Tadpole” on a crawler harness. By doing this, the outside board has less chance of tangling in the other lines when a fish is coming in.
For the sake of my story, picture the outside Off Shore board going back with the tell-tale sign of a big Lake Erie Walleye on the line. The board wiggles and falls back violently. I say, “Fish on! Let’s go…who’s up?” The next angler takes the rod from me, and I give these instructions:
“Point the rod tip to the other side of the boat…let that rod bend in half if it needs to, but just keep reeling nice and steady. Not too fast and not too slow.”
At this point, I move the middle board rod, and the inside board rod, forward to the next rod holder. This allows those two boards to move forward in the water a couple feet. It’s usually enough to allow the outside board to come in behind them. When the outside board has cleared the inside board, I have the angler straighten the rod up, and keep it at a 45-degree angle. At the same time, I tell him/her, “Now, move back between the driver’s and passenger’s seats, and keep the rod tip over my outside shoulder” … (meaning the shoulder on the side of the boat that the fish is coming in on). When the Off Shore board is a few feet from the boat, I grab the line and start bringing the board up to me and undo the releases from the line in one smooth action, as the angler keeps reeling.
Once the board is off, I have him/her move to the back corner and keep the rod tip pointed out to the side of the boat. This allows the fish to come up off the corner, where I can net it easily, instead of behind the boat where it can, and most often will, get in the motors.
More often than not, this procedure works well, but there are times when a fish just has evil intentions and decides to take a run at the other lines too, and it might bring in one or both with it. However, it doesn’t take long to untangle and reset the Off Shore boards in “Marching Soldier” fashion again.
Give this a try next time you’re out and see if it works for you too. One tip though, if you don’t keep that rod pointed on the opposite side of the boat and bent in half until you clear those other two boards, it will never work. That is the key!
I wish you all the best of luck fishing and hope you find this helpful!
If you're looking to learn how to run inline planer boards, a guided trip is a great way to shorten the learning curve. I pride myself in being able to teach anglers how to run them, so that when they go home they will be able to take what I've taught them and use them confidently on their own outings.
I still have open dates from ice out to ice up, so if you want to book a trip, just give me a call or email me for open dates, and let's get you on the calendar now! The fishing will be fantastic this year...don't miss out! :)
Spring is on its way...woot! woot!