It is official; my mindset has switched from ice fishing to open water fishing. Almost like clockwork, I attend one sports show and drool over new boats, open water tackle, fishing boat accessories, and a wide range of campers now on the market. Upon leaving the venue and entering into the remaining months of winter’s cold, cruel grip, my first thought is always “I should bring the boat out of storage.”
It’s inevitable that these thoughts quickly bring the reminder that it is still winter with numerous days of snowfall and cold still in long term weather models. Kind of like when you finally wash your vehicle and it rains the very next day, that’s my experience with bringing home my sparkly baby.
In the meantime, I have time to research some changes that need to be made to the new boat, namely, the mounts for graphs. There has only been one mount that I wasn’t happy with, which I will discuss later in this article. What I have noticed, especially in recent years, is the crossover of bass fishing technology into the multispecies world. When bass boats are screaming across the lake at 70 MPH, the graphs need to be as stable as a statue.
We’re going to dive into the available products that I feel are the better options for today’s electronics as well as some other boat accessories for fishing you may want to look into.
BOAT ACCESSORIES FOR FISHING
Cisco Fishing Systems
Not only does the Cisco Fishing make some of the best rod holders on the market, but their graph mounts also are not to be ignored. With 25 hole locations, almost any gimbal bracket will fit. By adding a mounting plate to the dash or bow of your boat, you’re able to remove the graph and mount it if need be. If you already run the cisco tracks, the base of these mounts will also fit.
Available in three different options, the Sure-Lok has been my favorite. Its spring-loaded base allows you to put the final tweak on the position of your graph by being able to rotate in the desired direction. The Tilt-Lok (short and tall version) removes the rotational ability, allowing the user to sneak big electronics into small spaces. The best part about this mount might be the fact that it comes in anodized blue.
One of the most important boat accessories for fishing is the right graph setup. Take your time in this step and plan wisely.
A staple for many NWT Anglers and Guides through the walleye belt, Stabil Mounts have held up to the test of time. Made in the good ole US of A, these bad boys will keep your electronics snug to your boat.
It might make you feel a little more impressed knowing that Bill Shimota, a seasoned NWT angler, recently purchased Stabil Mounts. Functionally, they’re very similar to the Cisco mounts. The main differences are how you secure it to your boat and how you cinch it down once you have your electronics sitting the way you want.
All but one base is brand-specific so be sure to confirm which one you’re ordering. If you’re like me and dislike flush-mounted graphs in the bow of your boat, check out the “Shorty.”
I have yet to see these bad boys in action but the look and design of them seem to be spot on. There aren’t a lot of things the Godfather of Bass Fishing will put his name on that are not quality items.
One of the cooler functions of these mounts is that the mounting plate rotates, rather than the base. Along with the rotating plate, you have two points of height adjustment to suit any driver. Now, the only problem I see with this is the price point. Coming in between $200-$400 will leave many an angler with some sticker shock.
These mounts have been a bit of a bugaboo for me. They function as they should but they eventually break down and begin to have trouble stabilizing electronics.
For that reason, I won’t install them for the purpose of holding electronics on my boat. However, a couple of their other products are worth a look, especially their trolling motor stabilizer. If you have front rails on your boat, do yourself a favor and protect the brains of your trolling motor by installing one of these.
If you get into rough water or on some bumpy roads, the head of your trolling motor can get damaged making for a poor day on the water and less money in your bank account.
Boat Accessory Mounts
As I mentioned with Ram mounts, trolling motor stabilizers are fairly new to the scene, but remain a necessity to protect the internal parts of today’s advanced bow mounts. Cisco also makes a stabilizer but is unique in that it doesn’t require you to add any extra parts to the shaft of your trolling motor. Simply pull up on the stabilizing arm and rotate it to secure the shaft.
Losing anything over the side of the boat is one of my biggest concerns while on the water. The price tag attached to today’s cell phones either had me keeping it in a pocket or throwing it into the cubby, causing me to miss a lot of calls.
What I found to remedy the situation is a simple suction cup attachment extends to a cell phone cradle. This allowed me to have a secure spot for my phone as well as providing a helping hand when taking pictures with that day’s catch. This is one of the simple but effective boat accessories for fishing.
BOAT ACCESSORIES FOR PROTECTING YOUR BABY
Moving away from electronic mounts, the next move I need to make is to get a quality receiver-mounted mud flap system. With my previous boat, I ended up building my own out of a length of angle iron and some mud flaps from the local RDO dealership. I can’t say they haven’t worked, but I do get some rocks in the boat, meaning the mudflaps are kicking them up instead of down.
As far as adjustability goes, the winner would have to be Rock Tamers. As long as you select the correct receiver size, you can adjust for width and height. The heavy-duty rubber flaps knock down rocks without moving.
Four tiers of options, vehicle-specific exhaust cutouts, and an easy ordering system; sign me up. If you want a receiver-mounted system, these are the cats’ pajamas. There are options for mud flaps, brushes or a combination of both. You also have the option of going with an aluminum frame to help reduce weight.
The only downfall is the exhaust on the skirt. Over time, it tends to melt from the heat. I’ve seen this a lot in these.
The two aforementioned systems are a mainstay in the trailer/boat protection game. However, do yourself a favor and take a look at the Kwik PFYT system. Constructed of steel and aluminum, these might be the best looking of all the mud flap systems.
The aluminum sheets, designed to hold the brushes down, make for the perfect canvas to add your company’s logo, sponsor logos or something of your own design.
Trailer-Mounted Protection Systems – Boating Accessory
The one drawback, in my eyes anyway, to the trailer-mounted guards, is the loss of protection to the trailer itself. I think pairing one of these up with a receiver-mounted system is the only way to go. This is an important accessory for any fishing boat.
These might be one of the original bow protectors to hit the market. They’re now offered in two different sizes and a multitude of colors to match your boat or make a statement. You can add rigid support bars to help stabilize the structure or stick with the bungee cords.
Bred out of necessity for the unpaved roads of the Canadian wilderness, RockGARD’s have been a staple for boat owners north of the border, as well as our friends in Montana that like to fish Fort Peck.
Doubling up their protection, they now offer a mud flap system to help knock down any unwanted rocks before they get to the bow protector. Do yourself a favor and check out their belly guard.
Hitting the market with the wheels spinning is a relative newcomer to the scene. If you haven’t heard about these products, you need to look into them a bit more.
sI was able to run these products last summer and was impressed with the user-friendly features of both the bow protector and the windshield protector. Its best feature, besides the obvious protection, is that it’s the only bow protector that rolls into a spool. This makes maintaining and washing your boat that much easier. Their windshield protector is unique in its ability to separate via a zipper where your walk-through windshield opens. No more unclipping straps and tying off loose ends.
All in all, if I was rigging a boat from scratch, I would have Cisco Mounts, a kwikPFYT brush system and FlackJaket bow and windshield protectors. These would be my top boat accessories for fishing for sure. Now, I know I’ve missed some products that are offered in each section. Feel free to add them in the comments below so other readers are able to check out some other options.