Skip, I use to fish with Karl Emerson many years ago on lake Norman who made his own planner boards. They where alot like the ones in this link. United States Catfish Association - How to Build Your own Planer Boards
Since then I've been making mine and some others for friends. You can get a wide spread with them at .5 mph. I paint them bright orange so other boaters can seem them. I get alot of rubber necking while fishing. With tight release clips, you don't loose the hold of the boards most of the time if you hit a snag. It's almost like jug fishing in a way. They can be a pain for a short to long while until you get use to them. I won't say they are better than Mac's, but in some ways I'm sure they have some better benifits. I also attach glow sticks to them so I know where they are as well as other boaters. PM me if you have any questions.