Haven't used Yellow Birds in years, Off Shore work much better and easier but about 3 times the price. I used Stren Gold 12 lb., tied to about 2ft. of 10lb. spider wire for leader line to cranks. Gold makes it easy to see line in water. I have heavy action rods for the planner boards with heavier duty reels. Straight lining works well with open face reels and medium action rods. Usually run 5 rods, 3 straight lines and 2 planners, that keeps my partner busy. (11 year old grandson) Far from an expert but we've have learned the drill.
You can use spinning gear, but it is not optimal. I wouldn't hesitate to tell you you can try trolling as you indicated, before buying long trolling rods and reels. You may have to de-twist your line after a long day with lots of action, but that is better than spending the money first before knowing if its a route you want to take.
I occasionally use a spinning rod with a planer board without issue. Just make sure the line clips you have work with the line on your reel. When learning, I hooked up new Off-shores on to 12lb Powerpro, and the line slipped right through the clips. The packaged clips that come on boards are (or were) normally tensioned for 12lb mono....at least they were when I bought my gear a few years back. Can't be sure today, haven't bought one for a while...
I'm looking to do some trolling this year it will be my 1st time. Can I just use mini planer boards and a spinning rod? I want to make sure I like it 1st before I put alot of money into new trolling rods and planer boards. Any info would be great.
I finally got out the copper lines yesterday and gave Off Shore's new SST Pro Mag Planer a test. I ran 300' 45# copper with Brad's cut plug and a Big Al flasher and it handled it much better than the standard size in-line board. Bonus was it took a 20# Lake Trout and it didn't bury the board.