The best trolling gear, boating gear, watercraft, and boating accessories in 2019 should make your time on the water more efficient and enjoyable.
If you are pulling in your anchor or boating your catch, we tested some of the best new and tried-and-true boats, watercraft, and boating accessories. We’ve compiled the recommended boating gear for 2019 below.
These are the best trolling gear, boating gear, watercraft, and boating accessories for 2019
|Sea Eagle FishSkiff 16|
This versatile, extremely tough boat combines the benefits of a heavy-duty, self-bailing skiff with the advantage of an inflatable hull, which when deflated, rolls up and fits into the trunk of your car. It is 16 feet long and 4’ 6” wide, making for a stable and comfortable fishing platform for two. With a capacity of 500 pounds, two adults can fish in a variety of situations. The transom accepts up to a 6 HP motor, which will move the boat up to 14 mph when loaded with two anglers. We chose the option with two swivel seats and a canopy and that makes for a very comfortable ride and provides protection from the sun. The gunwales are low profile, so you can access the water easily when landing fish, and the boat comes equipped with Scotty rod holders. We also appreciate the two, 40-inch fish rulers which are built in and conveniently placed.
|Beckman Landing Net BN2634C|
This net is strong and well-made, featuring an extruded-aluminum handle and yoke, and is built to last for decades, making it a favorite boating gear item for us. We tested the BN2634C which is their medium-sized, coated net. The hoop measures 26 inches wide, 34 inches long, and has a bag depth of 32 inches. The handle is 4 feet long. This size net is well suited to all but the biggest salmon and the coated nylon is gentle on fish. Beckman offers various-sized handles to meet a range of angler’s needs.
|Promar Elite Series Gaff|
This gaff is light, strong, and effective. It’s got a carbon-fiber shaft which makes it light and strong. The 3-inch hook is made from stainless steel and is very sharp. It’s 4 feet in length and is wrapped with tuna cord which makes it easier to grip.
|Orvis Nomad Camo Mid-Length Net|
We were looking for a float-tube net with a long handle to make it easier to land big trout on a fly rod with a long leader and this is the ticket. It’s very light, made from a carbon fiber / fiberglass composite material and the rubber bag is easy on the fish. The handle sports rubberized RiverKoat coating which makes it easy to grip in wet conditions. The net weighs less than a pound and has a 37-inch handle and a 13-inch by 18-inch bag that is 12 inches deep.
|Fish Fighter Products Breakaway River Anchor, 32-pound Columbia River Edition|
This is one gnarly anchor. With its wide “grouser fluke system” it holds well in hard bottoms as well as gravel bottoms. It’s made in 16-, 26-, 32- and 40-pound weights. It fits in not only Fish Fighter’s anchor nest, but also in LeeLock, Anchor-Caddie and Miller Marine nests. It’s a breakaway anchor, so if it does get fouled, you have a much better chance retrieving it compared to a non-breakaway anchor. Fish Fighter products continues to make existing products better, and their anchors are no exception.
|Raymarine AXIOM 7 RealVision 3D Sonar Pack|
The AXIOM is a multifunction navigation and fish-finding system. With RealVision 3D sonar, solid-state drive, and LightHouse 3 operating system, it’s much more than just a fish finder. Think of it as a multi-function display (MFD). With it, you can integrate Quantum Radar, CHIRP sonar, FLIR thermal cameras, audio systems, other instruments, cameras, and the Evolution autopilot. With 7-, 9-, and 12-inch displays, it is suitable for a variety of boats. It has a touchscreen interface, and the menus are all fairly intuitive, yet customizable as well. The AXIOM PRO model has buttons in addition to the touchscreen. It’s rated to IPX6/IPX7 and the bright screen is viewable from virtually any angle. DownVision works to 600 feet, SideVision to 300 feet, RealVision 3D to 300 feet, and CHIRP sonar to 900 feet. All four sonar modes are delivered through the RV-100 RealVision 3D transducer. Transducers are available as transom-mount or through-hull models. Our tester was especially impressed with the RealVision 3D sonar view, which shows fish targets in 3D in relation to the boat’s position and provides an unprecedented increase in situational awareness.
|EGO WADE Large Clear Rubber Net|
This net features an 11-inch handle, a 19-inch by 21-inch hoop, and 11-inch deep bag. It’s big enough to handle large trout, including those elusive 30-inch ‘bows that keep us up at night, yet compact enough to carry, use on a kayak, or even a float tube. It floats, and it comes with an 11-inch bungie cord tether with a snap to keep it from drifting away. The lightweight, clear rubber bag is fish-friendly, doesn’t spook fish, and hooks don’t become hopelessly fouled in the bag. It’s one of the few hand nets that stillwater nut George Krumm thinks is big enough to handle any rainbow the Mat-Su lakes will throw at him, yet still be manageable from a float tube or pontoon boat, and it’s easy on the fish’s slime and scales. It’s a high bar to reach, but this net makes it over.
|Rogue Jet Boatworks Chinook|
The Rogue Jet Boatworks Chinook is a high-quality, heavy-duty, all-welded aluminum open sled built in lengths from 20- to 26-feet long. The Chinook is customizable, and is available in 95-, 102-, or 108-inch beams. Deadrise can be 8-, 12-, or 14-degrees, with bottoms of either .190- or .250-inch-thick aluminum. It can be built as an outboard jet tiller, forward windshield model, or inboard jet model. We tested the 22XXL model with a 14-degree hull, .250-inch-thick bottom, with a Honda BF250 tiller-handled jet, Yamaha T9.9 kicker, and equipped with numerous options such as an electric trolling-motor bracket for a Minn Kota Terrova, anchoring equipment from Fish Fighter Products, removeable downrigger brackets, rod lockers, full-guide transom, and diamond-plate floor with four moveable Rivermaster seats on seat boxes. The entire interior of the boat is powder coated—even under the floors and inside the rod lockers, making for a beautiful, corrosion-resistant, and durable interior. The 14-degree hull and 32-inch sides make for a dry ride, and the extra width of the 108-inch beam makes for a stable, roomy fishing platform. Rod holder brackets are on a sliding rail system, so they can be positioned where needed. The Chinook design is rock solid and made for fishing, whether in rivers, bays, or saltwater. It’s a really versatile, well-made fishing boat.
|Promar Folding Crab Trap with Top Door|
We tested the TR-555 which is a folding crab trap with four entrance doors, a pair of 4⅜-inch escape rings, and a top door to remove crab. It measures 34”x22”x13”. We also tested the Crab Rigging Kit (NE-103CR) which includes a buoy and 100 feet of lead line, Plastic Bait Jar (AC-360), Wire Bait Cylinders (AC-369), Stainless Line Snaps (AC-84), and Bait Cage Snaps (AC-350). The whole system worked well and we caught many nice Dungeness crabs. We like how the crab trap folds down flat which makes it easier to transport. We added rebar to the bottom for additional weight to help keep it from moving around as much in heavy current.
|ACR Firefly Pro|
This water-activated rescue strobe light is a smart item to carry when out on the water in Alaska. It is visible for up to three miles, has four activation modes (armed, strobe, steady-on, and SOS), will run for at least 56 hours on two lithium AA batteries, is waterproof and has loops to allow you to attach it to your life jacket. Think safety first when you are out on the water.
Honda’s BF250XA is their long-shaft (25-inch) version of their largest four-stroke outboard. It’s also available in 20-inch and 30-inch lengths. Honda outboards are known for their reliability, something of great value for those of us operating in the rather remote waters of Alaska. The engine we tested is a tiller-handled BF250 with a jet lower unit on a Rogue Jet Boatworks Chinook 22XXL. The first thing we noticed is that it is super quiet at idle—it seems to be quieter than the 9.9 kicker engine. More importantly, hole shot was relatively quick (no doubt aided by Honda’s BLAST system) and fuel burn on plane is better than expected for such a big motor. The 90-amp alternator can charge batteries at a rate of 60 amps. What’s more, AMP+ senses the need for additional amperage at idle, increasing idle speed by 100 rpm to produce an additional nine amps to prevent battery drain when using multiple accessories. The engine uses NMEA 2000 networking protocols, so engine data can be interfaced with on-board systems and displays. The slim design of the BF-250 allows for mounting of dual engines on an industry standard 26-inch center-to-center distance. Convenience features include a single-latch cowl, a fresh-water flushport, and a spark plug maintenance cover to provide easy access for changing plugs. The BF250XA comes with a non-declining 5-year warranty, one of the best in the business.
iNavX is the number one handheld chartplotter and is the only chartplotter for smartphones that delivers charts from your favorite chart providers (Navionics, Blue Latitude, Explorer, Waterway Guide, NV Charts, Soltenick, and others). It’s an iOS and Android-compatible app with powerful features to help ensure you can safely navigate, no matter where you are in the world. It does not require a cell or WiFi signal to operate; it uses your device’s GPS to know where it is. It also can display AIS data which can be extremely helpful in foggy conditions or emergencies. Our tester says iNavX is easy to use, accurate, and though he uses onboard chartplotters most of the time, iNavX on his phone provides great backup capability in the event his primary chart plotter is not working. He added that it’s easy to create routes and waypoints, and works well with Navionics charts.
|RAM Mounts RAM Small Tough-Claw Base with Double Socket Arm and 1.5” Round Base Adapter|
This three-part system is designed to hold the shaft of an electric trolling motor while it is stowed to prevent it from slapping around or accidentally deploying while trailered or in rough water. Our tester commented, “In the past, I’ve used rod holders with extension posts to secure the control head and shaft, but the RAM mounts solution is both elegant and superior for this function,” earning it a spot among the best trolling gear.
|Minn Kota On-Board Precision Charger MK 220PC|
Minn Kota On-Board boating gear chargers are designed to be used in harsh, marine environments. They are shockproof, waterproof, and have automatic temperature and low-line voltage compensation to ensure a consistent charge rate regardless of whether your AC outlet is delivering a full 120 volts. LED indicator lights show the state of charge. They have a switch to select the battery type (AGM, gel, or flooded lead acid) and come with a three-year warranty.
|Minn Kota Endura Max|
We tested the 55-pound-thrust model electric trolling motor with a 36-inch shaft and this piece of boating gear works great for pushing our inflatable boats. This transom-mount motor allowed us to catch cutthroat trout off a Sea Eagle Fishing SUP FS126 and rainbow trout using the SeaEagle FishSkiff 16. The motor moved both craft nicely. It boasts variable forward and reverse, has a lever-lock bracket with 10 positions, a push-to-test battery meter and Minn Kota’s Digital Maximizer which helps conserve battery power.
|Odyssey Batteries Extreme Series 31M-PC2150 Battery|
The Odyssey Extreme Series batteries are Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries and can be mounted upright or on their sides. Extreme Series plates are 99.99% pure lead, so the plates can be thinner, and more of them can fit in the battery, resulting in more power—twice as much as conventional batteries. They offer not only tremendous deep-cycle capability, able to withstand 400 charge-discharge cycles to 80% depth of discharge, but also excel in cranking application, providing in excess of 2250 amps for five seconds—double or triple that of equally-sized conventional batteries. Our tester used them in a deep-cycle application to provide power for a 24-volt, Minn Kota Terrova 80 electric trolling motor. These batteries run a long time on a single charge—he’s fished the Terrova for two consecutive trolling days (about 18 hours) without running out of power. That kind of longevity is hard to argue against.
|Humminbird HELIX 9 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G2N|
The HELIX 9 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G2N is a mouthful to say, but this boating gear item is packed with fish-finding features to help you catch more fish. With MEGA Side Imaging to 800 feet, MEGA Down Imaging to 400 feet, and CHIRP Sonar to 3,500 feet (with the optional Airmar CHIRP transducer) and great chart-plotting capability, this unit can help you find structure and fish rapidly. It can be networked with an optional NMEA 2000 backbone, has optional AIS compatibility, has radar compatibility and can take Navionics or Humminbird LakeMaster chips for navigation. The HELIX display is customizable, so you can program it to show you what you want to see. What’s unique to Humminbird is the iPilot Link compatibility with Minn Kota trolling motors. This feature allows you to slave the trolling motor to the fish finder, and troll along specific contour lines (as long as you’re using Humminbird’s LakeMaster charts), among other things. Note that LakeMaster charts are not available for Alaska yet, but are available for the Lower 48 states.
|Fish Fighter Products Extreme Duty XD Bow Mount Anchor Nest|
The XD Bow Mount Anchor Nest is indeed heavy duty. Our tester mounted it on a Rogue Jet Chinook 22XXL open sled and used the Fish Fighter 32-pound Breakaway River Anchor, though the nest can be used with Columbia River anchors from other boating gear brands. The design is well thought out and pulling both an anchor ball and anchor over the v-shaped roller is easy. The nest has a locking device to prevent the anchor from being jolted out of the nest and to prevent anchor theft. The parts of the nest that come in contact with the anchor line are clad in marine-grade plastic to prevent jamming or chafing of the rope. The nest can be bolted onto your boat or attached via the Fish Fighter Products Quick Mount System, which enables you to remove the nest easily for times when you don’t plan to use it. Our tester commented that this boating gear item is very functional and built to last a lifetime.
|Fish Fighter Products Quick Mount System|
(Quick Mount Puck and Pin, Quick Mount Minn Kota Mount, Anchor Nest Mount)
The Quick Mount System is an ingenious method of being able to attach boating accessories such as an electric trolling motor or anchor nest to your boat. The core of the system is the Quick Mount Puck and Pin. It is bolted onto your boat, and either the Quick Mount Minn Kota Mount, or the Quick Mount Anchor Nest Mount can be attached to it in about a minute. This gives you the flexibility to switch between the two quickly and easily, without tools. The Minn Kota Mount and the Anchor Nest Mount are both lockable to prevent theft of your trolling motor, or anchor nest and anchor. Our tester commented that the system is easy to use and a great option for those who want to have the ability to use an electric trolling motor, or anchor, but don’t have the room to mount both separately. He added that the mounting system is firm and solid, with no sloppy play in rough water.
|NOCO Gen2 On-Board Charger|
The Gen2 is a “smart”, two-bank, on-board battery charger. It puts out 10 amps per bank and can charge wet, AGM, gel, or maintenance-free batteries. It charges, as well as maintains, and is waterproof to IP68 standards. Our tester has been using a Gen2 for four years and the result has been batteries that still operate as if new, making it one of our best boating accessories. One really nice feature of the Gen2 is that it’s smart enough to detect the chemistry of the battery to which it’s connected, and to charge appropriately. Simply unplug when you go fishing and plug it in when you get home. Simple is great!
|Fusion Marine Entertainment System with Bluetooth & NMEA 2000|
The Fusion MS-RA70N is their smallest value-packed marine stereo, but it’s quite capable with some of the latest marine technologies incorporated into its design, giving it a space in this years’ best boating gear. It can accept multiple sources including USB MP3 playback, AM/FM radio, and you can stream music via the FUSION-Link Bluetooth app on either Apple or Android devices. The stereo is waterproof to the IPX7 standard, so it can be used in open boats. It can be mounted a couple different ways, and it has multi-zone control (two zones). It can be networked via NMEA 2000 and can be controlled from MFDs connected to the network. Our tester installed it with four Fusion MS-FR6022 6-inch Marine 2-way speakers in his 22-foot Rogue Jet Chinook and says the system rocks!
|Yandina, LLC Trollbridge24 Charger/Combiner|
The Trollbridge24 Charger/Combiner is designed to charge your 24-volt electric trolling-motor batteries from your 12-volt outboard (or your truck, solar panel, or a single-output charger). Our tester installed this boating gear charger/combiner in his boat. His boat has a 12-volt starting battery and a 12-volt house battery in the stern, and two 12-volt batteries in the bow for his 24-volt electric trolling motor. The beauty of the Trollbridge is that while running the outboard motor, the starting, house and two trolling-motor batteries are all charged together. This is done automatically by the Trollbridge which diverts the outboard’s electrical-output charge to the trolling-motor batteries. To do this, the Trollbridge automatically reconfigures the two bow batteries from 24-volt series to 12-volt parallel combination. This ultimately means that you get more usage time out of your trolling-motor batteries (are less likely to run out of juice) during a day’s fishing. The Trollbridge is small, completely submersible, and only has four wires to permanently connect. Its ignition is rated for explosive environments, draws zero power when not in use, allows no voltage drop that would affect charging rate or the outboard’s operation, and can withstand engine compartment temperatures of up to 175°F. Our tester highly recommends this simple device for anyone who has a 24-volt electric trolling motor on their boat. Note: He also recommends you have your boating accessories rigger call Yandina prior to installation to ensure the rigger knows how to install it.
|Minn Kota Riptide Terrova 80 with i-Pilot Link GPS|
The Terrova 80 is a bow-mounted, 24-volt, saltwater-rated, 80-pound-thrust manual stow and deploy electric trolling motor. We’ve used several bow-mounted electric trolling motors over the years for trolling, backtrolling, and hover fishing. What our tester likes about this piece of boating gear is that since it’s a manually stowed and deployed motor, it has one less thing to break compared to automatic stow and deploy motors. The motor is available with iPilot or iPilot Link, enabling a variety of great features including Spot-Lock (virtual anchor), Spot-Lock Jog, the ability to record paths, autopilot for both speed and direction, and more. The iPilot Link version interfaces with Humminbird fish finders and with the use of Humminbird LakeMaster charts, allows you to troll along specific contour lines. Note that LakeMaster charts are not available for Alaska yet, though they are available for many places in the Lower 48. The shaft is made of a virtually indestructible composite. Our tester comments that using a bow-mounted electric trolling motor in conjunction with a gas-powered kicker motor is like trolling in 4WD. He has used it for not only forward trolling, but also to backtroll (resulting in greatly improved tracking and slow-speed backtrolling in tidewater), and for hovering over bottomfish pinnacles with Spot-Lock. Having used the system for several years, he says he never wants to go back to using a gas kicker motor only for these applications. The test boat we installed the boating gear on was a Rogue Jet Chinook 22XXL and the 24-volt, 80-pound-thrust Terrova with a 72-inch shaft provided ample power for this boat. He recommends the larger, 112-pound-thrust, 36-volt Terrova for larger boats.
|Guardian Trailers by Rogue Jet Boatworks|
Rogue Jet Boatworks not only builds high-quality welded aluminum boats, they also build their own custom, welded aluminum trailers. These trailers are a work of art. The trailer for the aforementioned Chinook 22XXL was customized to include not only the standard LED running lights, taillights, and rear-facing backup lights, but also included LED backup lights facing the sides for an unparalleled view of the ramp and its surroundings when backing in the dark. Trailers include custom aluminum wheels and spare, low-profile UHMW-clad guide-ons, UHMW-clad bunks, and are available in single, double or triple-axle models. A great piece of boating gear to invest in.