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Big john otter boats ??


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I'm trying to get some feedback on the use of the big john otter boats, likes or dislikes. Are there other big planers that are better? Are the small church and offshore side planers just as good? I like the idea of not having to fight the board back to the boat by using the planer mast and big boats, but is it worth the investment? With no experience using them, to know the advantages and disadvantages would be a big help. Thanks alot.

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I run the otter boats. For my uses are great, Walleye on Saginaw Bay and silver fish on Lk Huron. They ride nice in the water, riding over the waves instead of crashing into them like my old double boards did nor do they take off flying off the top of a wave. They pull well and have ran as many as 4 lines off each side. They are a breeze to retrieve once you start to crank them in they turn toward the boat and fly right in. For running heavy gear some people opt to get the second keel kit for them to add even more pull. I am well satisfied with them.

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I have a set and I use them for walleye and cohos.

Salmon I use walleye boards for copper.

I like them better than any board I have tried. They seam to ride a little farther behind the boat than some other duals I have had but that doesn't affect the lines just preferance

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I run the otter boats all year without any issues but most of the time there is only 2 of us in the boat so 6 lines here in MI. With only 6 lines I never really have to worry about juggling lines to always keep my shallow lines to the outside. I will say that I have not had an issue with my hook up ratio and it is a blast fishing fish off the mast. Once you get the loop on the otter boat that you connect your mainline to in the right spot they pull hard and way out to the sides but it all comes down to finding that spot.

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Monkeyed with otter boats and different keels for two seasons then went to nothing but inlines and will never look back. For 10 oz, either Big Birds or the big Z boards, Church for coppers and regular yellow birds for flat lines up to 5 colors

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For King Salmon fishing stick with the inline boards.

Why???

I guess I haven't seen the light yet. For 30 years or so I have used big boards and mast and find no fault in them. Yes I have and use inlines on occasion but never seen any benefit to them that makes them superior to running the big boards. Call me old fashioned but I really despise having to stop bringing the fish in to unclip a board off the line .... especially if the fish decides it is time to make another power run while attempting to remove the board. And I still love the sound of a fish ripping the line from the tether and shaking the mast :grin:

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i have both inlines and otter's i dont like having to pull my copper or 10 color every time my 5 color goes off to reset,for salmon fishing,but if your running the same exact thing like cranks for walleyes i do like the otter boards. i just hate wasting fishing time on the juggling act i guess.I do know that the baits need to be in the water to catch fish!lol!

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i have both inlines and otter's i dont like having to pull my copper or 10 color every time my 5 color goes off to reset,for salmon fishing,but if your running the same exact thing like cranks for walleyes i do like the otter boards. i just hate wasting fishing time on the juggling act i guess.I do know that the baits need to be in the water to catch fish!lol!

Exactly. when you are running 10 lines for walleye all 70 ft back the otters are the way to go. When different lengths are involved inlines are the only way to go as you can pass a 150 cu orver a 300 cu and not tangle it with on inline. On an otterboat your have to pull the 300 to retset the 150 back out further.

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Why???

I guess I haven't seen the light yet. For 30 years or so I have used big boards and mast and find no fault in them. Yes I have and use inlines on occasion but never seen any benefit to them that makes them superior to running the big boards. Call me old fashioned but I really despise having to stop bringing the fish in to unclip a board off the line .... especially if the fish decides it is time to make another power run while attempting to remove the board. And I still love the sound of a fish ripping the line from the tether and shaking the mast :grin:

Inlines are an huge step up from big boards if for nothing else it tells you if you are pulling the correct angle into the current. Pulling the correct angle into the current is the single most important factor between catching 5 fish or 30 fish. Watch your inlines, they tell all. The more you have out the better!

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Thanks guys, I appreciate your responses and can see why inlines can be a benefit. I only target the top 30 fow when running boards, don't run coppers or cores so I have no need to pull other lines to put others out. My game plan on the lower side of Lk Huron is to run my rigger and wire divers deep, then put out a couple highs for steel or walleye. We get several walleye a season while trolling for salmon and trout and a lot of times those eyes are in the top 30 feet over 80+fow and many times see steelhead cruising or sipping on the surface. Body baits like the Manns 30+ on a 3 way with a spoon on one side and higher running baits on the other side cover that high side of the water and usually quite effective.

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Exactly. when you are running 10 lines for walleye all 70 ft back the otters are the way to go. When different lengths are involved inlines are the only way to go as you can pass a 150 cu orver a 300 cu and not tangle it with on inline. On an otterboat your have to pull the 300 to retset the 150 back out further.

No, you do not have to pull that 300. Now is the time to put that 150 on a walleye board, and run it back and around that 300. You can run both systems at the same time if you need to.

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No, you do not have to pull that 300. Now is the time to put that 150 on a walleye board, and run it back and around that 300. You can run both systems at the same time if you need to.

I have considered trying that before but never gave it a shot... It would be nice to not have to mess with the boards on the long coppers.

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Inlines are an huge step up from big boards if for nothing else it tells you if you are pulling the correct angle into the current. Pulling the correct angle into the current is the single most important factor between catching 5 fish or 30 fish. Watch your inlines, they tell all. The more you have out the better!

I'd like to please hear/learn more about this. What am I looking for exactly? I know current is important but I normally just troll based on seas. Much appreciated.

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I'd like to please hear/learn more about this. What am I looking for exactly? I know current is important but I normally just troll based on seas. Much appreciated.

trolling into the current is the best way to troll as the fish orientate themselves with the current. typically into the current. The way you can tell is by watching both your diver and your boards. for example if your boards are pulling harder on the right you need to turn left to get more into the current. when they are all pulling the same then you are straight into the current. I find the boards show me more surface current and my divers show me depth current better. same theroy with your diver rods. one will pull harder than the other. There are days the surfacce current is completely different than your depth current. when that happens i watch my diver rods to tell me where the current is coming from.

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trolling into the current is the best way to troll as the fish orientate themselves with the current. typically into the current. The way you can tell is by watching both your diver and your boards. for example if your boards are pulling harder on the right you need to turn left to get more into the current. when they are all pulling the same then you are straight into the current. I find the boards show me more surface current and my divers show me depth current better. same theroy with your diver rods. one will pull harder than the other. There are days the surfacce current is completely different than your depth current. when that happens i watch my diver rods to tell me where the current is coming from.

I agree with that 100%.

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We don't run as many lines on Lake Ontario compared to the guys on Michigan. We also seem to fish deeper than the guys on Michigan on average. A typical set-up for us on Ontario is 3 riggers 2-4 wires, a copper off each otter boat and maybe one down the chute. Our average copper length is 300, and many times we are running 400-700' coppers. I haven;t used the TX-44s, but my experience with the TX-22s is that they don't pull far enough out to the side to clear my wires. Our wires are typically out 150-350'. I can stand up to about 10 colors with the TX-22's and then they bother me that I'm not getting it out and away from my divers enough.

As for the Otter Boats.....I can't say enough about them, and I don't have any affiliation with them. We run the twin keels with a weight and a half. 9" from the front hole to the knot and 11" from the knot to the back hole. These boards will run off the side of my boat easily, and my planer reel is on my radar arch. Put 500-700' of copper on it and it will sag some, but it still gets my coppers out away from anything else in my spread. If you want to run multiple coppers or cores off them it's simple. You can put 2-3 300 coppers on one side and 2-3 400 or 500 coppers on the other. When the outside one fires you slide the others down. You NEVER have to fight a board, which is a PITA with customers.

You can also read current with big boards.

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We don't run as many lines on Lake Ontario compared to the guys on Michigan. We also seem to fish deeper than the guys on Michigan on average. A typical set-up for us on Ontario is 3 riggers 2-4 wires, a copper off each otter boat and maybe one down the chute. Our average copper length is 300, and many times we are running 400-700' coppers. I haven;t used the TX-44s, but my experience with the TX-22s is that they don't pull far enough out to the side to clear my wires. Our wires are typically out 150-350'. I can stand up to about 10 colors with the TX-22's and then they bother me that I'm not getting it out and away from my divers enough.

As for the Otter Boats.....I can't say enough about them, and I don't have any affiliation with them. We run the twin keels with a weight and a half. 9" from the front hole to the knot and 11" from the knot to the back hole. These boards will run off the side of my boat easily, and my planer reel is on my radar arch. Put 500-700' of copper on it and it will sag some, but it still gets my coppers out away from anything else in my spread. If you want to run multiple coppers or cores off them it's simple. You can put 2-3 300 coppers on one side and 2-3 400 or 500 coppers on the other. When the outside one fires you slide the others down. You NEVER have to fight a board, which is a PITA with customers.

You can also read current with big boards.

I tried the 44s last year. man them things fly out to the side with a 450. its like using the 22s with no wieght on them at all. I thought it was a gimmik at first but now for anything 300 and over it goes on the 44s. I now have a second set of 44s for this coming season. I even think they out run the other boards. as far as getting around the wire no problem what so ever. I do understand what you are saying with your customers and not having to fight the boards.

I do have a questions with the double keels will they pull hard at real slow speeds i'm talking 1.3 to 1.7. When i am pulling cranks for walleye, the boards sag quite a bit and i have messed with string length to get it better. but i still get a lot of sag in my lines.

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