OutdoorHub Reporters 07.14.20
Many of us have a fishing boat and we set them up to fit our personal likes, techniques and comfort. Big water guys run boats set up with sonar and radar, along with down riggers and more. Bass guys set up the boat for maximum water coverage, with detailed fish finders, GPS and more. Walleye guys run a different setup, too. There are a few things, and products anglers can add to the boat to make it better, regardless of what type of fishing you do.
1. Millennium Boat Seat – Best Boat Seat
Many of us who hunt know about Millennium from the treestands the company makes. The company makes some extremely comfortable stands that work very well for hunters who like to do the “all-day sit” waiting for Mr. Big Buck to go strolling by. The company also makes some of the most comfortable boat seats we’ve ever tried out. These mesh seats keep airflow moving, so you stay cooler, and the suspension action of the construction makes them extremely comfortable. The frame is completely metal, so your seat bracket bolts directly to metal, giving you a sturdy base and extra confidence in your seat. We opted for the B100 in grey to match our Alumacraft boat. They are also available in a moss green color.
Pros/Comfort and metal frame
Cons/Side straps limit the size it fits
Bottom Line/Great boat seats for all-day fishing
2. Raymarine Element 9 – Best Boat Electronics
We used to use an old fish finder back in the day that would show you a heavily pixelated dot to indicate that there were “fish” under the boat. Of course, that was many years ago and things have changed greatly. Now we run a Raymarine Element 9 HV on our Alumacraft boat. This unit is so loaded, I couldn’t possibly tell you everything it does. It has multiple screen and view options with several types of sonar and GPS, with full mapping and tracking capability. I have the updatable charts of most every lake in North America, too. I like that the Element 9 HV gives me a solid image of what is under the boat and helps with species differentiation, so I can target different types of fish. I mounted mine to a Scotty bracket, so I have more options to position the screen. The old saying of “you get what you pay for” is definitely true here, as this is easily the most advanced sonar/GPS units I’ve used.
Pros/See where you are and what’s under you
Cons/Little bit of a learning curve
Bottom Line/Amazing plotter and finder
3. Minn Kota Ulterra Trolling Motor – Editor’s Choice
Trolling motors have become some pretty necessary with certain styles of fishing. The Ulterra model mounts to the bow of your boat and runs on a 24volt system. It has some features that are pretty cool. For one, it has Automatic Stow and Deploy features, meaning it will drop in and get to work with the push of a button, and slide back into the storage position on it’s own when not needed. It has a remote control to give you the power to control the motor from wherever you are. There’s a pretty sweet video on the Minn Kota website, showing the motor helping an angler launch his boat. It has 80lbs of thrust and it can be bought with built-in MEGA down-imaging sonar and iPilot GPS that lets you program exactly where you want the motor to take you, and it self adjusts for wind and waves. This lets you focus on one thing – fishing.
Pros/Let’s you focus on fishing
Cons/Needs Humminbird fish finder to work best
Bottom Line/Multi-functional trolling motor
4. Pelican Tumbler – Beverage Winner
Staying hydrated is important. Coffee is important. OK, I know those two don’t always go hand in hand, but don’t try taking away my morning coffee, alright! I’ve tested a bunch of the insulated tumblers from various companies, and right now, I’m really quite happy with the sweet tumbler from Pelican. These tumblers have screw-down caps that can keep you from spilling things. They keep hot things hot and cold things cold. For us, that works.
Pros/A must have for morning coffee
Cons/Could be bigger
Bottom Line/Perfect tumbler
5. Millennium Rod Holders
Rod holders are a good idea in any boat. Now, you can get the kind that clamp knot the side rails of your boat, or you can get a little more serious about it. I opted for the aluminum Millennium Marine Rod Pods. These are adjustable cradle rod holders that work in multiple ways, both as holders for when you’re going out and coming back, and as rod holders for trolling. These rod holders are fully adjustable for position and can be removed for storage.
Pros/Adaptable rod holder
Bottom Line/Perfect for trolling
6. Pelican Vault Case – Best Protection
As you may have noticed, the Raymarine Element 9HV is a rather pricey unit. When I’m not on the water, I carry it, and other important stuff in the sturdiest case available – a Pelican Vault. This bright green case is military-grade durable and keeps everything safe and secure. I have a second one in my house loaded with important survival materials in case I need to quickly run out in case of emergency. When you have something important to keep safe, trust Pelican to keep it ready.
Pros/Protects everything in it and easy to find!
Bottom Line/Military-grade protection
7. Onyx A/M-24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable PFD Life Jacket
How many times have you heard about an angler that falls off his/her boat and is gone? We all have. Your best defense is a good PFD. We’re really fond of the inflatable kind, like this one from Onyx. It isn’t bulky and inflates instantly if you hit the water. It’s cheap insurance against accidents and instantly makes your fishing boat better.
Pros/Easy to wear and saves lives
Cons/Recharging can be tricky
Bottom Line/Save you life!
8. AIRHEAD Bungee Dock Line
Two things here. One, you need a good rope for the dock. When you’re launching, or coming back in, you need to secure the boat. Two, dock rub just plain sucks. It mars the side of your boat and is a pain to deal with. This dock line from Airhead has a built-in bungee system, to take the shocks out of docking, especially important when some knucklehead doesn’t understand the “no-wake” rule. It has built-in foam floats that help protect the side of the boat, and it helps you from losing it in case your mate drops it in the drink.
Pros/Easy to use
Cons/you may need two
Bottom Line/Great dock line
9. Optima Blue Top Marine – Best Battery
Ever been stuck on the middle of the lake with a dead battery? It’s happened to us. It’s not fun. An Optima Blue Top Marine battery solved that in short order. Yeah, it’s pricey, but it’s the best battery you’ll get for your boat and will instantly make things better. No more dead batteries.
Pros/No more dead batteries
Bottom Line/If you want the best, this is it.
10. Boat Cover
If you don’t have a boat cover – get one. It’ll save your boat from all the nasty UV damage, rain damage and more. Plus, if you get a trailerable cover, you can save all of the road nastiness that can get into your boat when you haul it down the road. With everything you have invested in your boat, getting a good cover on it is a smart move to keep your boat better.
Pros/Protect the interior of your boat
Cons/Make sure you get it fit just right
Bottom Line/Keep your boat safe from UV and road dirt
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.