We are going to do an in depth product review and breakdown of the Offshore Tackle OR39 Sam's Pro Release. This product has become the most popular planer board release on the market for the rigging to release application when using braided line with inline planer boards. Although it's primarily known for its effectiveness with braid, it also works with monofilament lines. Since there are a variety of planer board release options that work with monofilament, the Sam's Pro Release get more attention in the braided line spotlight. The design of this release and the tension adjustment screw allow braided line anglers to fine tune the release to match their specific trolling application. Our testing was done using 40# Power Pro Braid, but these releases will work with a variety of braided lines and diameters. We do recommend using a 30# or 40# braid as these line diameters are typically a close match to the diameter of line used on the Precision Trolling Data App. These heavier braided lines are also less destructive to releases, clips and pads when compared to the thinner diameter braided lines.
We put these releases to work on Lake Erie while trolling for walleye. We tried mounting them to the Off Shore Tackle OR12 Planer Boards in a variety of ways. We found the best mounting option for us to be the rigid mount option, direct to the tow arm. These releases also come with the option to connect them to the tow arm with a split ring. We first tried the rigging the Sam's Pro release using the included split ring. This specific attachment method gave us mixed results. For some trolling applications the split ring attachment may work better, but for our test, the direct mount was best. We found it easier to wrap the line around the release when it was connected direct to the tow arm with the screw/nut system. It was just more comfortable and natural feeling to wrap the line with the release rigidly attached, where it was a little more difficult with it moving around when connected with the split ring. To connect the release to the tow arm we are using the stock screw from the existing stock Offshore Tackle OR19 orange release and the provided nut that comes with the Sam's Pro Release.
After all of the various mounting options were tested, we found the rigid mount with the trip mechanism opening toward the front of the board ( pictured ) to work best. The direction the release was facing when mounted to the tow arm was extremely important. We learned this as we first mounted the Sam's Pro Release to the tow arm with the release mechanism opening towards the back of the planer board. This resulted in tangles and failed tripping attempts. Mounting it to open towards the front of the board was the way to go. After finding the best way to mount the release to the board, we then figured out the best way to wrap the line around the pad. We would open the release all the way, with the arm pointing to the front of the board. With the line coming from the crank that was in the water, we brought the line under the rubber nipple towards us and then wrapped it on with the wraps going away from us or in a counterclockwise motion if looking at the release from the front of the board. We settled on 4 full wraps to work best for the conditions we were in, which we abnormally calm for Lake Erie. In rough water and different types/sizes of braid, anglers may have to tweak how many wraps work best for the conditions they are fishing. Once we got the number of wraps figured out, we then had to get the tension adjustment dialed in. This was a critical step in the equation. We ended up lowering the tension or backing the screw out from the factory setting. We loosened it to the point where we questioned whether it was going to stay shut while trolling. To our surprise, it held tight even when speeding the boat up to 3 mph and did sharp outside turns, so in bigger waves, it should have held just fine. With this tension setting figured out, it was safe to say that the optimal tension setting was much less than we would have guessed. If you are struggling to get your release to "pop" when you snap the rod to free the line, it's probably cranked too tight, if you have it installed how we have it pictured.