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29 Apr

Best Fishing Boat Accessories: Safety and Functionality Essentials

Bass Fishing Tips

A fishing boat is every angler’s dream. Some of us get one, and some of us stick to fishing from the shoreline. If you’ve been lucky to add one to your repertoire, or you’re about to, you’re probably excited to start decking it out with all the coolest accessories and gizmos to give you an edge while you’re out on the water.

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Everyone’s boat is going to be a little different, but we’ve got a list of the best boat accessories to get you started. You’ll want to tweak this list and add a thing or two here and there depending on your style, but these are all solid options for any angler.

Let’s get started.

Safety First

We’re going to split these lists into two sections. First, you need to focus on safety. Fishing from a new boat is a blast, but it can be dangerous. Even if you are an incredibly safe driver and follow all safety precautions, anything can happen. Especially when you’re fishing and you’re trying to focus on the fish.

Here are the items you need to get first.

1: Life Vests

You should have enough life vests on your boat for every passenger you’re likely to have at once, and you should have a couple of different sizes to ensure you can properly protect children, teens, and adults.

People can fall overboard at any time, and it’s not always someone’s fault. By having life vests onboard, you can ensure that everyone is safe.

Not only that, but this is a legal requirement in some states, and most states require children to have them on at all times. So, if you don’t pick these up, you can easily end up getting pulled over on the water and getting a hefty fine.

2: Life Preserver

You’ve probably seen those floating white and orange donuts in the movies. You need one on your boat. If someone who isn’t wearing a life vest falls over and starts panicking, you can throw the donut out, they can grab it, and you can pull them back to the boat.

This is the safest way to get someone out of the water when there is an accident without putting yourself or others at risk.

Again, this is sometimes legally required. So, you might not even have a choice.

3: Fire Extinguisher

You wouldn’t think that a fire would be a threat with so much water around, but the fact is, boat fires are some of the most serious accidents.

A fire on a boat can easily trap you in the flames, and then you’re pretty much done. Even if you can get into the water, the fuel in the engine is highly combustible, and an unchecked boat fire will ignite it. In the best-case scenario, the fire claims everything you had on the boat except your life. A fire extinguisher can prevent all of those situations.

You can also practice basic safety precautions to avoid fires such as not smoking, using hot items around flammable materials, and making sure your boat’s electronic systems are secured and safely wired.

4: Communications

Finally, you need to have a way to reliably communicate with the mainland while you’re on your boat. Sure, you might know your local lake well, but what if you take a new route and end up way too far away from where you started, just to find out you’re low on fuel? 

What if your boat fails while you’re far away from your vehicle and no idea how to get back to it from the nearest shore? You need a way to communicate.

This is one shortcoming of cell phones becoming so popular. They’re great in 99% of circumstances, and we’ve all become reliant on them. 

Most fishing locations are fairly remote, and you might not have a signal to make a call. In that case, you have a fancy, brick-shaped, watch with some neat apps on it that might or might not work.

You need to invest in a HAM radio, GMRS radio, or a satellite phone that can stay on your boat.

All three of those options are far more reliable than your cellphone when you go fishing, and you’ll always have a way to contact someone who can help.

Keep in mind that radios require licenses, but they’re cheap and easy to acquire.

Functionality-Based Accessories

Once your safety is out of the way, you can start buying things that help you fish more effectively or enhance the fun you’re having.

Here are our top recommendations for every angler.

1: Live Well

There are live wells for bank fishermen, and before you got your boat, you probably tried one. There are huge drawbacks to those. First, most of them are glorified buckets. Even if they’re aerated, they rely on weird, complicated, systems to keep air flowing for long periods.

Even when you get a really good one that you can rely on throughout the whole day, they’re heavy.

Now that you have a boat, that’s not a problem.

The live wells built for boats are powered by your boat, and you don’t have to carry it around, either.

We’re big proponents of catch-and-release fishing with game fish. That’s how you preserve the bass fish

However, a live well can still be useful. 

If you get into competitive fishing, you’ll need one to bring your catch back to the weigh station. Even if you’re not competitively fishing, you might need one to go record a potential record breaker, and of course, you might not always be targeting game fish. You might want to catch a bunch of bluegill to use as bait.

2: Organization Options

Your boat likely has integrated storage compartments for you to store your tackle, but you’ll still need to buy organization solutions to put in those compartments. You don’t want all your tackle flying around or getting mixed up. It takes too long to sort it all out on the fly, and that’s valuable time wasted that could be spent fishing.

The type of storage solution you buy is going to depend on the gear you use, the dimensions of the storage compartments on your boat, and of course, your budget. So, you’ll want to shop around quite a bit to find the perfect option for you.

3: Sonar

If your boat didn’t come with sonar, get a decent system immediately.

You don’t technically have to have sonar. You probably fished relatively well from the banks without even thinking about sonar. However, this goes perfectly with a boat.

A boat opens up the entire waterway to you, and sonar helps you map that out in detail like never before. When you combine the two, you get a massive edge over the competition.

Sonar is a bit pricey, and you might even have to drill into your boat to install the sensors in the hull. However, it is well worth it, and you will increase your fishing efficiency almost right away. Of course, you have to learn how to read it first.

4: Rod Holders

Most fisheries allow you to fish with at least two rods, but obviously, you can’t use both of them at the same time.

On the bank, you can prop one up against some rocks or jam a stick in the ground, but that’s a little more risky on a boat. Between the movement of the boat and the force of any fish that bites, you can easily lose a rod.

Rod holders allow you to manage that by securing your rods in the upright position without you having to hold them.

These aren’t just useful for using multiple rods at once, either.

If you’re an advanced angler, you probably have multiple rods that you have set up for different situations. Rod holders allow you to keep several rods at the ready, and when you want to try a different approach, you just grab your rod and go. 

You don’t have to dig through a storage compartment, and you don’t have to leave the rod lying around where it might get damaged.

This is a minor accessory that can make a big difference, and typically, you won’t have to make any permanent modifications to your boat. At most, you might have to drill into the top edge of the boat depending on the holding system you buy and the mounting options available on your boat.

5: Landing Net

Your days of safely leaning over and lipping a bass are more or less over when you’re fishing from a boat. You need a landing net even if you’re pulling in little guys.

Now, you can technically lift bass up and out of the water if they’re small enough, but you risk the fish popping off the hook, and you put the fish under undue stress. Leaning over to the lip can be dangerous because you can end up toppling over the side of the boat. Then, you’ve lost the fish, and you’re in a sticky situation.

A landing net will prevent all that, and you can scoop fish up safely. This is better for you and the fish, and it doesn’t detract from your skill as an angler.

6: Magnetic Tool Holder

You’re going to need a variety of tools on your boat. First, there are the tools you need to fish such as angler’s pliers, a knife, hook removers, etc. Then, there are key tools you might need for your boat that you can’t afford to have stuffed away in a box.

A magnetic tool holder is mounted to your boat, and your tools stick to it. This ensures that waves don’t jostle them off the tool holder and into the water, and it keeps everything organized.

If you have to remove any screws to work on a part, the magnetic tray will keep them from getting lost while you get the job done.

7: Alarms

Your boat should come with locks on its containers. If it doesn’t, add those to this, too.

However, you need to install an alarm. Crime rates are up, and having a boat in your driveway is essentially a big welcome sign to thieves. Sure, they might not be able to hook your boat trailer up and take the whole thing without a truck and a bit of experience, but they can climb in and start stealing thousands of dollars of gear within a minute.

An alarm system won’t solve every problem, but the vast majority of thieves will hear it and start running. Pair this with some cameras at home and don’t leave your boat when you’re at the lake, and you can trust that your valuables are safe.

8: Boat Care Kit

You likely spent a lot of money on your boat, and you don’t want it to start falling apart or looking trashy a couple of years from now.

The best way to deal with this is to buy a boat care kit and put it to use regularly. This, along with regular cleaning and a bit of common sense, will keep your boat in top condition for years to come with lowered maintenance requirements.

9: Food Storage

You probably don’t want to be cooking meals out on the water, but you can add a food storage solution for ready-to-eat food and drink items. This can be a basic cooler system, or you can even find mini-fridges and similar items.

This is a luxury item, but when you’re out on the water for an entire day doing physical activity, you’re going to get hungry and thirsty.

Being able to stow away a few snacks and drinks is always welcome.

Fish like a Pro with BassForecast

Once your boat is set up with the best fishing boat accessories we talked about and you want to take it out for a spin, hop on the BassForecast fishing app and take a look at the boat-friendly spots around you. 

The fishing app comes equipped with an extended 10-day fishing forecast, hourly barometric pressure, and GPS mapping to find the best fishing spots. Plus, you will get tips and tactics from experts to further enhance your fishing experience.

Download the BassForecast fishing app on the App Store or Google Play!