Big boards VS Small boards Big boards VS Small boards Big boards VS Small boards Big boards VS Small boards
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  1. #1
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    Mar 2016
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    Default Big boards VS Small boards

    I went on a charter Friday out of Wild Wings and it was a beautiful day, we headed east and finally found some fish. The captain set up the big boards and showed us how to set the lines, this was a first for me, I have always used the small boards but never the big ones and it was a great adventure. I was just wonder what the pros and cons are using big boards because it seemed rather easy but I was only out for 6 hours so there might be some big disadvantages to them that we didn't encounter. There was three adults and two young boys 10 & 12 and they were setting the lines but not connecting the rubber bands and clips. We ended the day with 27 in the cooler. I was just curious about the boards but I am sure it just boils down to personal preference.

  2. #2
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    Nov 2020
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    Holland OH
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    Default Re: Big boards VS Small boards

    I have used big boards on a buddys boat and we had a lot of tangles and when you ran out of clips you had to pull everything in and start over. It was probably my lack of experience or not having the right equiptment, but I like the Off Shore boards.
    Then had a bit of learning curve as well but I prefer them.
    Hooked on Fishin
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Default Re: Big boards VS Small boards

    Depends on how big your boat is and how many people on boat when fishing.The big boards work better on bigger boats because you can get more lines to accommodate 4-6 people.The tow cord also sets up better in bigger boats too.If have smaller boat and fish with 3 or less people the inlines work better.The best setup for cranks is mono on small boards.Best setup for spoons is braid/tru trips on big boards.I fished with a guy for several years using big boards and we had many problems using them.He did not have the proper setup of pulleys,motorized cord, or proper boards.Took us a long time to set out the board and bring it in by hand.The board would not run at proper angle away from boat in rougher water,no matter how we adjusted the cord placement or added weights.The cord would hit our rods when we would make a turn and almost lost or broke rods unless you watched them closely.Had trouble with getting line out of the releases we used no matter how many different ones we tried.When finally put the big boards in storage,never looked back.Quite happy with our inline boards.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Big boards VS Small boards

    You are probably correct itsbob, we had a total of 7 people out and we fished spoons with tru trips and the water was calm. With just the wife and I, we use the small boards.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2024
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    Defiance, OH
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    Default Re: Big boards VS Small boards

    First... Thank you to everyone that shares info on this board. I look forward to contributing anytime I can, now that I have actually created an account!!

    I understand each set-up is a little different but this is where I have landed after having the opportunity to fish on multiple boats with different set-ups and also running and tweaking my own set-up on an 18' Tracker Pro Guide 175.

    My general rule of thumb is based on targeted trolling speed, but number of people, conditions and bait choice can have an impact as well. I'll run big boards with 2 or more people. If it is a little bumpier and the big boards just aren't pulling well, I will switch to inline boards to see if I can get more consistency. If my plan is to pull jets or tru-trips I'll be using big boards, but those are baits usually pulled at higher speeds so the speed already made that decision. All other baits I will pull with either; cranks, weight assisted cranks, etc...I use the same set of rods/reels for both and have settled on 30# power pro mainline with 4' 20# fluorocarbon leader.


    • Greater than 1.7mph = big boards
    • Less than or equal 1.7mph = in-line boards


    Higher speeds = harder pull = tighter tow line = better pulling big boards.

    Big Boards:


    • Pros

      • run harder pulling set-ups easier; jets, tru-trips
      • only the fish to fight once band is popped out of clip
      • no board to unclip

    • Cons

      • each boat set-up is a little different so a little more time tweaking
      • can't 'park' a set-up into the spread
      • slow speed trolling



    In-line Boards:


    • Pros

      • potential faster set-up and tear down
      • ability to 'park' a set-up into the spread
      • slow speed trolling

    • Cons

      • always a board to unclip in some capacity, whether you 'trip' board or not
      • a challenge running hard pulling set-ups



    Big Board set-up:

    In my experience the boom height has less impact on the effectiveness of the set-up than how hard the boards pull. I started out with the notion that boom height was primary and had a 6' boom coming out of the front seat pedestal on my set-up. This set-up had a loose pull-down string on each side that allowed fisherman to pull the tow line down to them when they were ready to attach a clip. The higher town line allowed for more bounce and potential slack in the tow-line and every time you pulled it down it caused slack on the let-up. Anyone that has pulled big boards can attest that slack in the tow-line is the enemy. Tough to see fish, jumpy boards, inconsistent bait presentation, more tangles.

    I had the chance to run a set-up that maintained a very tight pull-down string anchored at the aft base of the rod tree, that kept the tow-line within arm's reach to attach clips. This also lowered the tow-line and maintained a constant pressure. After seeing this and witnessing how well it ran, I went home and tweaked my set-up to match plus adding weight and balancing my boards. My boards are now balanced at 4lb 11oz each. (This is much smaller than the big boards that most charters run but it matches my set-up and can easily pull 4 lines per side with jets/tru-trips attached.) The update to my set-up included 1) a newly installed cleat to aft base of rod tree 2) tight pull-down string attached to tow-line with carabiner 3) heavier balanced boards 4) addition of snubbers to end of tow-line connected to boards.

    After running on the lake a few times with much greater consistency and success, I wanted to consider lowering my boom height to avoid issues with channel bridges, travel and any slop it may be adding. I have since lowered my boom to 3', still installed in front seat pedestal and added a second carabiner to refine the travel path of the tow-line to avoid contact with everything; windshield, radio antenna, rod trees, etc... This set-up runs as close to perfect on my boat as it can. I ran it almost daily for over a week in May and could not be more pleased. The lower boom pulls awesome, is quieter and to be honest to looks better. I ran this set-up directly into 3 footers on my last trip out and faced no issues. To round out the set-up I use rubber bands looped (half-hitch) once or twice to the braid and clipped about half-way into release pads. A vertical rod tree set-up with identical rods will serve as a great 'fish-on' indicator.

    In-Line Board set-up:

    I have the following Off-Shore set-up:


    • OR-12 Boards
    • OR-12 Tattle Flag
    • OR-16 Pro Snap Weight Clip for both the front and back clip

      • this is where many folks differ on preference for tripping boards, I chose this set-up for using braid and also the likelihood of losing board is very low



    This is only my personal experience and not necessarily the answer for everyone. Hopefully someone finds it helpful.



    Last edited by CrazyEye; 06-18-2024 at 06:19 AM. Reason: spacing

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Big boards VS Small boards

    Thanks crazy eye for that explanation. Had stuff about big boards i wasnt aware of either.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2019
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    Default Re: Big boards VS Small boards

    It’s ironic that this thread got posted because I experimented with big boards for the first time last weekend. I wanted to explore this route because I often have difficulty running more than 2 offshore boards per side without getting serious tangles when wanting to check outside lines (and that’s even with implementing basic tangle-avoiding techniques like 1). Releasing tension so board can fall back & then 2). going to opposite corner of boat & reeling in as quickly as possible). Furthermore, I went on a charter several years ago that used the big boards and we were running 4 lines per side without any headaches so my goal was to adopt that strategy.
    My first impression is that there is definitely a learning curve involved. They certainly didn’t make my life any easier as compared to using the OR-12 boards. I was using size 10 rubber bands wrapped around the line once and then hooked into an Amish outfitter planer board clip. Getting the tensioner screw just right was nearly impossible. Either the line would break free too easily with no fish on, or it was impossible to get the line to release. I would echo what Itsbob said in that I got way more tangles on the crankbait side than the jet diver side. Finally, hanging out way over the water everytime to grab the tow line so I could connect a clip seemed like a one way ticket to eventually falling over board (I could probably address this by mounting the pulley further back & closer to my rod tree). Next, with the big boards, it’s a lot more equipment to figure out where to store whereas all my OR-12 boards fit nicely into a bin underneath one of my seats. And finally, last but not least, there is a huge price disparity between the two setups. If you go with the big Amish outfitters boards & Cisco fishing systems planer reels & pulleys, you could easily spend $1500 in equipment.

    With all that being said, I definitely see potential in using the big boards & am not ready to write them off just yet. Like I said, I have witnessed first hand them being used to run 4 lines per side with great ease. In my opinion, they weren’t hard at all to get out into the water & retrieve. I just need to do more online research in ways to optimize my setup and explore different options for connecting my line to the tow line because that was my biggest headache.

    Hope that helps…

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Big boards VS Small boards

    Here are a couple pics to help visualize the set-up. The line in the pic to show the tow-line path is actually a small rope to help see it a bit better.
    Attached Images Attached Images Big boards VS Small boards-1000006487-jpg Big boards VS Small boards-20240506_174059-jpg 

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Big boards VS Small boards

    I like your idea of having an additional line connecting tow line to cleat with a carabiner clip. Can you send picture of the clips you use to connect fishing line to tow line?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Big boards VS Small boards

    Clip and rubber band used to attach main line to tow-line

    Big boards VS Small boards-1000007280-jpg


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