In 2009, Offshore Tackle of Port Austin, Mich., introduced one of the only planerboards designed specifically for crappie fishing. A leader in the trolling gear industry and a solid producer in the world of walleye fishing, Offshore named the new planer the OR34 Mini Noard.

"The OR34 Mini Board packs a lot of planer board fishing opportunities into a very small and easy-to-fish product," said Bruce DeShano of Offshore Tackle. "The OR34 Mini Board is only about one-third the size and weight of our popular full-sized side planers, but don't let the small size mislead you. The OR34 Mini Board is a serious fishing tool that does a great job of getting lures out to the side of the boat."

To rig a planer board for crappie trolling, it's best to use a rod that has a stiff action. The planer moves the bait away from the boat, so a long rod is not mandatory. An 8- to 9-foot rod will assist in making a long sweeping hookset. The planer board release has a tension clip that can be set to release the line when a strike occurs, but crappie anglers will need to pay close attention to any sudden stops or backward movements of the planer board (similar to float fishing) that would indicate the strike of a light-biting crappie.

Because the clip allows the board to breakaway but still stay attached to the line, a stop needs to be installed between the board and the bait to keep the fish from being knocked off the hook by the retreating planer board. This is easily achieved by tying an in-line barrel swivel or applying a bobber stop and bead between the main line and the leader. A leader length of 3 to 4 feet is sufficient to keep the board off the fish and still allow easy netting.

Tackle and line requirements vary according to the size planer board used. A larger 12-inch board will work better for trolling crankbaits or heavier baits. To support a bigger board, a heavy to medium-heavy rod is preferred, coupled with line in the 15-pound range.

For more information about planer-board trolling, visit

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is in the June issue of Mississippi Sportsman, available in convenience stores around the state. Pick up your copy today to read more about how to catch crappie.