Best fishing boats (in the small watercraft category) and boating accessories that have been rigorously tested throughout Alaska by the Fish Alaska team. These watercraft are designed to get you exactly where you want to fish, while the accessories ensure you make the most of your trip.

best fishing boats

Best Fishing Boats, Watercrafts and Accessories

Ram Mounts DBL Ball Socket Arm Assembly

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We have used RAM mounts in the past, and recently we used 2 of their Double Socket Arm assemblies (size C; 1.5” ball) to mount a Sionyx Nightwave ultra-low-light marine camera, and size D (2.25” ball) to mount a Raymarine Axiom 2 Pro 9 RVM MFD). In the case of the Nightwave, we actually used 2 Double Socket Arm assemblies and a Double 1.5” Ball Adaptor to provide more height to allow the camera unimpaired visibility in front of the boat. For the Raymarine Axiom 2 Pro 9 RFM, that MFD is quite heavy, so the larger size D (2.5” ball) socket assembly was necessary to support the weight. In both cases, the result was a rock-solid, adjustable, removable, marine-capable mounting solution. We continue to be impressed with RAM’s immense catalog of mounting solutions.

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Raymarine Axiom 2 Pro 9 RVM

Raymarine took the immensely capable Axiom to a whole new level with the Axiom 2 Pro. Basically, everything in the unit is better, faster, stronger. This review format is short, and just begins to scratch the surface of the Axiom 2 Pro’s capabilities. The Axiom 2 Pro 9 RVM has 6-core processing, 64 GB solid-state internal memory, combination touch-screen plus keypad controls, HydroTough nanocoating on the display that resists oil and water, kind of like Rain-X but molecularly bonded to the surface so it won’t ever wear off and enables you to use the touchscreen in a downpour. Alternatively, the keypad may be used to control the unit’s features; the keypad is often easier to use in rough seas than the touchscreen. The display is about 25% brighter with much higher resolution than the original Axiom, and is viewable in any light condition.

Features and Capabilities

It has swappable keypads so that you can change what functions are available on the keypad, with up to 3 customizable keys. It has both an HDMI output with digital audio, and analog audio outputs. Networking can be accomplished through RayNet Ethernet ports or NMEA2000. For navigation, it’s compatible with Navionics and Lighthouse charts as well as with Raymarine ClearCruise, FLIR, and radar units. There are two micro-SD slots on the front of the unit. The Raymarine mobile app allows you to control the unit from your smartphone or tablet.

The RVM 100 transom-mount transducer provides CHIRP DownVision, CHIRP SideVision, high-frequency CHIRP (600 watts), and RealVision 3D imagery. Note that other transducers are available for this unit. According to Jim McGowan at Raymarine, “The main difference between the old transducer and the new RV 100 transducer is that the new model has a larger ceramic element to support the high CHIRP sonar channel.

Improved Fish Detection

The larger size makes it more sensitive, offers better beam shaping, and also allows it to be hit with much more power. In this case the new transducer broadcasts with 600 watts of power output on the high CHIRP channel, where the prior model was down around 25 watts. Fish targets should look brighter and more distinct on the new transducer in high CHIRP mode. Another thing that has changed is the ping rate of the sonar hardware. The DownVision, SideVision and 3D channels update anywhere from 10- to 50% faster depending on the range-scale that is selected. The faster update rate produces more pings-per-second and creates a more highly detailed image on those channels.”

best fishing boats

Sea Eagle FishSkiff 16

We used this boat in multiple settings on both small and large lakes, and in saltwater bays, some protected and some exposed. We really liked its performance. It’s easy to set up and break down, comfortably fishes two or three people, and has been redesigned to be lighter and stronger. We noticed several improvements to the design and function of the new version, most notably the addition of an external inflatable keel. After running the boat in 1- to 3-foot chop for a full day, we were very impressed with how well the new FishSkiff 16 handled. The addition of the keel also improved the way the boat tracks, making it easier to fish while running the tiller.

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Burnewiin RH6650 Clamshell Rod Holder

Electric reels; big halibut; shortraker rockfish; blackgill rockfish, black cod—if these things are on your mind, the Burnewiin RH6650 should be as well. Electric reels and modern braided lines have opened up a new frontier of deepwater bottomfishing. However, most rod holders on the market are not designed for the extreme loads deepwater bottomfishing can put on them. The absolute best solution we have found for deepwater bottomfish, oversized fish, and/or electric reels is the Burnewiin RH6650. This thing is a BEAST! It can handle the load any fish in Alaska can produce, without breaking or failing. Put the halibut rod with the Tanacom 1000 in it, hit the button, and watch while the rod holder supports the rod and reel as it hauls up 40 pounds of black cod, 4 pounds of lead, and 1,500 feet of line; or that 100-plus-pound halibut.

Even when fishing shallower waters for species like halibut, people with less strength can put the rod in the RH6650 and simply crank away with the rod in the holder. This rod holder adjusts vertically from flat to 45 degrees, and horizontally in 22.5-degree increments. Rest assured, there is no Alaska halibut that is going to break this rod holder. To mount this rod holder to your boat, you’ll need to use a Burnewiin mount. There are several different mounts available.

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Fish Fighter Products Rod Tender

The Rod Tender is essentially a mechanism to store your rod when traveling to a new spot, and it also provides a place to put cannonball leads from 5- to 24 ounces. It is bolted between the rod-holder mount and the gunnel slider. It can also be directly bolted to a gunnel. The rod holder holds the rod in a vertical orientation. Rod Tenders are made of marine-grade aluminum and King Starboard marine plastic. If you have an open sled, you could put one of these at each rod station to make it easier and faster to secure rods before moving to a new spot.

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BOTE Rackham Aero 12’4” Bug Slinger Silver King Paddle Board and APEX Pedal Drive + Rudder System

The first thing we have to say is that this paddle board is awesome! It’s highly versatile, easy to use, sturdy, breaks down into a compact carrying case, and is a ton of fun. The package includes the paddle board, a 3-piece adjustable SUP paddle, a Rackham Aero paddle seat, APEX Pedal Drive + Rudder System, hand pump, repair kit, and travel bag. The APEX Pedal Drive + Rudder System is easy to assemble and goes on and off the boat quickly. The faster the pedals turn, the faster the propeller spins and the boat travels.

The system connects to a rudder-and-hand control, which provides steering. We found it easy to cover distance quickly, steer, and hold yourself in position while casting. We used it in lakes and also in calm saltwater bays in this configuration. We also stripped off the APEX Pedal Drive + Rudder System, and used the craft as a traditional paddle board. We are looking forward to more trips with the board and plan to take it to some warm-water destinations.

Best Fishing Boat

Fish Fighter Products Guide Series Hinged Boat Seat Storage Box

The Guide Series Hinged Boat Seat Storage Box is made of black powder-coated, marine-grade aluminum and measures 22.75” x 18” x 12.5” not counting the external side tray. Features include: nonslip rubber drainage matting, ventilation on the back side, stainless-steel hinges, adjustable mounting bracket, pre-drilled seat base mounting holes, integrated external storage tray (3.75” x 17.75”), integrated lanyards to keep the seat-box lid from falling over when opened, and integrated locking latch. Editor George Krumm replaced one of the seat boxes in his sled with this one, and another with the Guide Series Boat Seat Box with Slide Out Drawer and is pleased with the increased, organized storage capacity they provide. These seat boxes are larger and more functional than the ones that came on his boat from the factory.

Sionyx Nightwave Marine Navigational Camera

Nightwave is an ultra-low-light marine camera built around Sionyx’s patented Black Silicon BSI CMOS sensor. It allows all levels of mariners to easily spot obstacles and debris in moonless starlight without white light or expensive thermal cameras—navigating safely, avoiding collisions, and maximizing time on the water. It can be hard-wired to connect to your boat’s multi-function device (MFD) (works with major brand MFDs) or use the app to wirelessly connect to mobile devices or tablets. We rigged ours to use the wireless app.

The imaging was clear—like navigating in twilight—even when it was pitch black outside. Being able to see in the dark is quite helpful when launching at unfamiliar boat launches in the dark. The caveat—though it can see in the dark, it can’t see through fog. The best place to mount the device is obviously forward, and as high as possible. For those with hard-top boats, mount it to the roof. Our tester has an open sled. He used RAM Mounts DBL Ball Socket Arm Assembly to mount the camera to the bow of his boat to elevate it above the anchor system and bow-mounted electric trolling motor.

NOCO Genius GenPro 10×2

no.coBest Fishing Boat

This is a 2-Bank, 20-Amp onboard marine battery charger.It’s capable of independently charging 12V, 12V AGM, and 12V lithium batteries. It’s a “smart” charger, and it optimizes charging to ensure battery longevity and health. You can plug it in and forget about it—for months if necessary. It’s waterproof (IP68), and can be mounted in any orientation in your boat.

Editor George Krumm has been using NOCO chargers since 2014 and is very happy with NOCO performance. “I’ve never had a battery go bad using NOCO Gen-series onboard chargers. I got more than 5 years of use out of my last two AGM batteries which I used for a Minn Kota Riptide 80 trolling motor. The batteries were still good; I sold them when I bought my new LiFePO4 batteries. The GenPro 10×2 now charges these LiFePO4 batteries, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the GenPro 10×2 and these batteries last me 10 years or more. NOCO onboard chargers are outstanding.”

Fish Fighter Eco-Friendly Drift Boat Anchor FFP Variable Weight 10 to 30 Lb.

There are several things to like about this drift boat anchor. For one, it’s made from steel and not lead, so you won’t be leaving bits of lead in the water when you set anchor, like you would with a lead anchor. Secondly, it’s adjustable, which we find to be an ingenious feature. The 30-pound anchor can be made lighter by removing plates. If you’ve pulled anchor all day long you know that it can become tiring, and being able to lighten your anchor when fishing slower flows allows you to save some wear and tear on your body. In addition to anchoring our ClackaCraft 18-foot drift boat, we also used it to anchor some of our other boats like the Sea Eagle FishSkiff 16, where we lightened the anchor to 10 pounds. We are continually impressed with products and innovations brought forth by the Fish Fighter team.

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Bioenno Batteries BLF-1280AS

The BLF-1280AS is a marine, Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4), 12V, 80 Ah battery. LiFePO4 marine batteries are here to stay. Our Editor, George Krumm, replaced his old, heavy lead-acid batteries with Bioenno BLF-1280AS batteries and gained several advantages. First, the two 12V, 100 Ah AGM batteries weighed 70 pounds each. The new Bioenno batteries weigh 22.3 pounds each for a total weight savings of over 95 pounds. Second, nearly 100% of LiFePO4 battery power is available to use, compared to something like 70% of a typical AGM power supply, so there is more runtime out of the smaller, lighter 80 Ah lithiums. The power supplied to the trolling motor is more consistent, too; it does not wane or fluctuate as the battery slowly loses charge. Bioenno claims this battery should last for 2,000+ charging cycles. If you fish 50 days a year, that means these batteries could last you 40 years…George installed his in a compartment in the bow of his boat, along with a NOCO Genius GenPro 10×2 LiFePO4-compatible onboard charger and is very pleased with the system.

Fish Fighter Products Guide Series Boat Seat Box with Slide Out Drawer

Organizing equipment and tackle on a fishing boat is always challenging. Space is always at a premium. Boat seat boxes help, but one large open space isn’t always the most efficient way to store tackle. Fish Fighter Products strives to make a better mousetrap with all the products they develop. Enter the Guide Series Boat Seat Box with Slide Out Drawer. This powder-coated seat box has 6 adjustable dividers, magnets to hold the drawer open, integrated locking latch, adjustable mounting hardware for different gunnel designs, pre-drilled holes in the bottom to mount to the floor, stainless-steel drawer slides and hardware, and the box is made of marine-grade aluminum. It’s available in 4 color options. Change out your existing seat boxes to these and you’ll have the ultimate in increased, organized boat storage. Dimensions are approximately 20.5” x 20.25” x 12.5”; made in the USA.

best fishing boats

Fish Fighter Products (QRS) Quick Release Rod Risers

Rod risers elevate rod holders to make it easier to remove rods when a fish strikes, and they also serve to widen your trolling spread. We tested the 7” x 8” model in the mid-ship positions on our sled, and the 8” x 14” model in the bow positions. These rod risers are made of marine-grade, powder-coated aluminum. They are attached via Fish Fighter’s Quick Release Base which allows the risers to be slid forward or back on your gunnel, and to be easily removed if you need to. These made-in-the-USA rod risers are compatible with Folbe, Cannon, Cabela’s, Scotty, Fish-On, and Attwood rod holders. Though Fish Fighter wasn’t the first to design rod risers (Fish-Eng Products