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Mast or inline boards?

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A good subject taken off my own Saginaw Bay fishing board.

I've been using inline planer boards since I got my boat and got myself back on the water. They definitely have thier pros and cons. I am wondering if using a set of big big boards and a mast is overall easier?

Also, is it a little more tricky with them figuring out how far back your lure is etc? I understand a lot of guys use rubber bands on the releases, how does that work? Do you tie it around the line or loop it or what?

I'm thinking about switching, just curious what some of you others with more experience think. Jaybe.


The size/length of your boat is all important. Running a big mast on anything shorter then 19 feet or in a boat that usually only fishes 2 people is not worth the trouble IMV. And there are things to be learned and adjusted to about the running dynamics or the lures when run off either planing tool. Both have their advantages and (believe it or not) give the lures used a different presentation in varied water conditions. And for me to list all these variables I have learned over the years would take 3 chapters in a small book. I do use rubber bands with my Big mast and boards. I have learned over the years to precisely read these bands connected to my tether line releases as they get stretched from the hundred different things that effect them. Some people would cacth on fast, others maybe not so fast. I also carry 8 In-line boards and have found situations where I changed over to them when I want to run my lures very short over weeds or shallow water. Running lines short off a mast type is not easy as the tether line is high above the water in most cases. And this upward pulling angle can pull short leads/lures out of the water a lot. Like I said both have their place. Capt. Dan

Once last spring I got out on thte bay and found I only had one of my mast planner ski boards on board!?!?!!? Turned out my wife had helped me load the boat and when I said, "Please ket the panner boards" she thought that there was only one! LOL Not her fault, I should have double checked. So we used the mast and ski on one side and in-lines on the other. The in-lines out performed the skis that day, so not all was lost!

But I like both, depending on the water conditions, wind/weather, trolling speed, etc! Gawd, I can't wait to get out there!



what you just described doing is just part of the many and varied dynamics seperating just what one planing aparatus can do over the other on any given day. the lure is always directly effected by how its being pulled forward by either the inline board or tether line of the mast type. and on any given day each board may impart the action the fish may see to be the more attractive option. with inline boards the board is always in contact with and riding on top of the water. and any waves or forward motions of the boat smoothly/gradually move the lures ahead with small burst of speed as the boards get pulled and reacts to the rod tips flex as the boat moves with the waves. whereas with mast types, the lines are often freely snapped, most often between the mast attachment and boards, giving a sharp forward/stall action to the baits being trolled. same goes with making turns. you can turn the boat sharper using mast type and the speed of all the lures rather on the inside (closest to the boat) or further away, makes for a different/faster look at the lures. so it may not be a bad idea (if you can) to run both at the same time and let the walleyes tell you what action they want. Capt. Dan

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have both types of boards. I like the big boards for walleye fishing. I can tell by looking at the line if I have a fish hanging on or a collection of weeds. I can't tell with the walleye boards. I use the walleye boards for salmon fishing pulling lead core. There is no mistake if there is a fish on when pulling lead core. My 2 cents.

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I have big boards but seldom run them. I use rubberbands for releases on the Big Boards. The Offshore in lines with their tel flag system will detect a small perch or a weed better than anything I have tried. You can make your own tell flags. One draw back to the Offshore in lines is the std releases that come with the boards SUCK. The flag kit comes with the red heavier releases. For Walleye they rule. I had my 4 yo grandson watching the flags on the boards. He didn't miss too many fish ons. :)

I use these Offshore boards to pull Leadcore also. They would NOT be my first choice for that job, but they work sufficiently. I don't use the Tell Flag system trolling for Salmon.:)

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I fish salmon with a mast set up. I run lead core and copper off the big boards. To run multiple inline boards some are way out there and the lead and copper are already enough to reel in any way. I have both but for the most part always run my big boards off my mast. Personal preferance is all i have never noticed an advantage with either. My mast is a Big Jon electric and it is alot easier for me is all.

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In my business running 8 to 10 lines of mast type boards is the norm. I don't have to tell anybody what running 8 to 10 inlines (4 or 5 aside) would be like without a mate or a helper. I love my Otter Boat boards when I'm trolling cranks at a fast speed, or when there is a pretty good shop on the water. None track straighter or stronger then the Otters in these conditions and were my main boards for quit a few years. But lately when running eyeliminators or other rigs at slower speeds, the otters simply fall back behind the boat to far or have to much continual line sag. So I added the double callaspsable Rivieras to my arsenal. I added some weight to the keel side of these boards for better digging power and they pull out straight and keep the tether lines very tight even when trolling below 1 mph. And in the last couple of years 3 mph is the fastest I've been trolling. The only draw back to this set up is when pulling them in. I practically have to stop the boat to get them in or risk pulling a muscle. But the use of each and what they can teach you about the fish's mood and how the fish want the lures action to be during the course of the day is more then just preference IMV. How they run and what action they impart on the lures you run is different given what water conditions and type boards you are running. Old timers who make a study of these little differences will know what I'm talking about. Or perhaps it's my type "A" personality. :grin::no:

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