Everyone has their own styles and methods of fishing. As time goes on and products advance, it helps anglers adapt new products and methods to their personal fishing style. We are going to talk for a minute about rigging your planer boards to release. We use this tactic on Lake Erie when fishing for walleye.
First and foremost, we use the Off Shore OR12 Inline Planer Boards. They work just fine in the stock form for rigging-to-release, but we tweak them since we use planer boards in a variety of ways. We remove the stock OR19 orange release and replace it with the OR18 Snapper Release. We do this because we can use the snapper release for the rigging-to-release method and for multiple other trolling applications. If you are only going to troll with light to medium pulling gear and rig-to-release, the stock OR19 orange releases are your best choice as they work great and keep line wear to a minimum. With the OR18 Snapper Release installed, we are able to run hard pulling gear such as Tru-Trips with minimal line slip. The flip over hinge clip that is on the snapper release is designed to snap forward to lock onto your line. When rigging-to-release, we actually snap it back, so the integrated lock pin doesn't interfere with the line releasing. The OR18 Snapper Release also has an adjustment screw on the bottom side. This allows you to set your tension per the application you are running on each trip. On the back of the board you will find the green colored Hawg Outdoor Clip. We also use these for a variety of rigging methods, depending how we are fishing. These clips are amazing when trolling in cold weather! They are super easy to open and close compared to the stock OR16 red clip. The OR16 can be hard to open when your fingers are cold. When we aren't rigging-to-release, we always use the Hawg Outdoor Clip for our back of the board attachment point. When we are trolling gear that pulls hard, we will wrap the front OR18 Snapper Release and run the line through the Hawg Outdoor Clip. We also use this method when pulling snap-weighted cranks or when trolling in very rough water. When rigging-to-release, the Hawg Outdoor Clip becomes a third point of attachment and a safety mechanism. The most common way planer boards are lost is by break offs or users not getting the line behind the pin in the pad of the OR16 stock back board clip. If you run stock Off Shore OR12 boards and rig-to-release, you must make sure you get your line behind the pin in the OR16 red clip. If you don't, you will lose boards as you release the board or bringing in big fish. The line will slip out of the pad and the board will float away. The Hawg Outdoor Clip makes sure this can't happen. If the line slips out of the OR16 red clip, you will still be connected to the line. When rigging-to-release, we use the tattle flag system, in conjunction with the Hawg Outdoor Clip. From front to back: We twist a loop in the line and snap it into the front OR18 Snapper Release. We then run the line through the Hawg Outdoor Clip as a safety. We put a small amount of slack in the line and clip on the OR16 red clip, making sure the line is behind the pin. There needs to be a little slack in the line between the front OR18 Snapper Release and the OR16 red clip to allow the tattle flags to cycle up and down. When we have a fish on, the flag will go down and the board will pull back, out of line. If it's a big fish, they will occasionally trip the board on the strike, otherwise we will grab the rod and give a quick pop to release the line from the front OR18 Snapper Release. This same method can be followed if you are using your Off Shore OR12 planer boards in the stock version. Once the board is "tripped" or released, it will spin around and pull to the center of your spread. Since it's "tripped", it's no longer planing to the side of the boat. This allows it to pull into the center and be reeled right in, avoiding your other lines. When we "trip" or release a board, we will give it a few seconds to pull to the center of the spread. This helps to ensure its clear of the other lines before reeling it in. No matter how you do it, the rigging-to-release method helps cut down on tangles and also gives the angler a better fight, one on one with the fish. This is because you are no longer fighting the board wanting to continue planing out as you are reeling. The board floats on the surface, allowing the angler to fight the fish with a better feel.
Rigging to Release Explained, with the Hawg Clips in use. - Click HERE
Product Links - Click HERE to see the planer boards and accessories shown in the video and referenced in the blog post.