10 Essential Boating Items Every Fisherman Needs

By: Joseph Simonds on May 29, 2019
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things boaters need to fish

When you’re out on the water, you can’t run back home real quick if you forgot something…

That’s why it’s important to bring everything you’ll need with you.

So the question is…

Do you know exactly what you need, and what you don’t?

We’ve brought back Salt Strong fishing coach Capt. Mark “Hollywood” Johnson of Florida Keys Fun Fishing to give us the breakdown of what he and his captains bring on the water with them.

And not to date Capt. Mark, but he’s spent literally decades on the water, so he knows a thing or two about what you need to bring.

Watch the video below to see the 10 must-have boating items for fisherman.

Enjoy!

(P.S. want to catch more fish while you’re out on the water? Check out our Insider Club here.)

10 Must Have Boating Items For Fishermen [VIDEO]

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See some of Capt. Mark’s other videos below:

1. Communication Device

Communication is obviously important for safety in case of an emergency.

Most people have their cellphones with them at all times, and out on the water should be no different.

If you’re fishing offshore, or in areas where there is no cell phone service, a satellite phone is a great tool to have.

As Capt. Mark says, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”

Also, be sure to have a way to charge your phones in case the battery dies (more on this later).

2. Knife

knife for fishing

Have at least one knife on board with you, whether that be a filet knife, bait knife, work knife, or a pocket knife.

This could come in handy in many scenarios, including running over a crab trap line and needing to cut it out of your prop.

Pro tip: have a knife with a serrated edge to easily cut through rope.

3. Scissors

scissors for fishing

Scissors are typically the best tool to cut through braided line, and since you’re likely using braided line, scissors are a very useful tool for you to keep on board.

Pliers and knives can do the trick as well, but nothing cuts through braided line as quickly and easily as a good pair of scissors.

4. Pliers

danco pliers review

A good pair of pliers are great for removing hooks, or even as a tool fixing or tightening things on the boat.

Check out this pliers review for more info on choosing a pair of pliers.

5. Dehooker

fish dehooker

Even though you’re looking for that over slot redfish, the occasional catfish will come out to play.

In that case, it’s good to have a dehooking device so you can avoid getting spined.

Dehookers are also great for sharks, mackerel, and barracuda.

Get one on Amazon here.

6. Measuring Device

tape measure for fishing

Whatever fish you’re targeting, there are regulations on what size you can keep.

It’s important to have an accurate measuring device, as well as being current on your state’s regulations.

Also, you want to know how big that fish actually was for bragging rights.

7. Fish Grip

bogagrip

A good fish grip is great for grabbing fish to dehook or release, especially catfish and toothy fish like sharks or mackerel.

It’s also great for grabbing fish you don’t plan to keep.

You can grab them by the lip, remove the hook and release the fish without ever having to take them out of the water.

Capt. Mark uses a BogaGrip, which is also a scale to weigh your fish.

You can get the BogaGrip on Amazon here.

Note: even though they are on the pricey side, they are good quality.

Capt. Mark has had his for 12 years, and in those 12 years, he’s fished more than most of us ever will in our lifetime.

8. Polarized Sunglasses

polarized sunglasses for boating and fishing

Polarized sunglasses are important for protecting your eyes, as well as allowing you to see past the sun’s glare on the water.

Along with the sunglasses, it’s important to have lens cleaner or a lightweight cloth to clean them.

9. Sunblock

sunblock

Being out on the water in the sun all day can be tough on your skin, so it’s imperative to have sunblock.

And don’t forget your lips!

Lip balm to protect your lips from getting sunburned is important, too.

A buff works well also, since it can protect your neck and scalp (or you can try one of these lightweight performance hoodies!).

10. Water

stainless steel water bottle for boating

It should go without saying that staying hydrated is of the utmost importance when out on the water

Stainless steel water bottles are great for keeping water cold, and are resuable.

Bonus Items

In addition to the 10 items listed above, Capt. Mark also keeps some of these extra items below on his boat:

Bonus #1: Lightweight  Gloves

Good for keeping your hands safe from the sun, and for grabbing leader line, Capt. Mark usually has a pair of lightweight gloves on board.

They’re also great for poling.

Bonus #2: Lithium Battery

A lithium battery is great for charging your cell or satellite phone and comes with a set of jumper cables so you can restart your boat if the battery dies.

If you don’t have a lithium battery with jumper cables, it’s a good idea to grab a pair just in case.

Bonus #3: Ice

A cooler full of ice will help keep your fish fresh for dinner, and in the case of bumps or bruises, it can decrease the swelling.

It will also keep your food and drinks cold!

Bonus #4: First Aid Kit

If someone gets injured, you’ll definitely want a first aid kit on board.

You can get one on Amazon here.

Pro Tip: Always Know Where You Are

In case there is an emergency and you need to call 911, you always need to know where you are in relation to known landmarks.

For example, calling 911 and telling the operator, “I’m on the Manatee River!” will likely be little help to the operator, as the Manatee River is 36 miles long.

On the other hand, telling the operator, “I’m on the Manatee River looking at the I-75 bridge!” pinpoints the area where you are and allows to operator to send help your way.

While you’re on the water, occasionally take the time to identify a known landmark that can identify your location, whether that be a restaurant, hotel, bridge, marina or pier.

Conclusion

Do you have each of these items on your boat?

Did we miss any necessary items?

Let us know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who needs to see these tips, TAG or SHARE this with them! Pa-POW!

(P.S. want to catch more fish while you’re out on the water? Check out our Insider Club here.)

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Virginia Lentz
Member

I always have a pair of wire cutters on board. Handy for cutting hooks if you are unlucky enough to catch yourself.

Gary Friedman
Member

Great video, when loading the boat I usually don’t think that much about some of these items.
But I will in the future.

William Collins
Member

I would add a hat to the top ten list

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Every boat should have a tool box with basic simple tools (screw drivers, adjustable wrench, various pliers, wrench’s, sockets, etc.).

Mike Wilson
Member

I might add bolt cutters. A Cape Coral Tarpon Hunters member had a 14/0 circle hook was pulled into his palm by a sawfish. Only bolt cutters can handle a hook that size.

Dave Frymier
Member

Agree about the first aid kit – mine is very simple – a roll of bandage tape, some Band-Aids, and a bottle of liquid bandage in a sandwich size Ziplock. I always seem to get these little cuts and punctures on my hands – they bleed all over the place, and regular Band-Aids just won’t stay on in the wet fishing environment. The liquid bandage (it may be SuperGlue for all I know) works great.

I have also found a collapsible golf umbrella useful.

S. Schiller
Guest
S. Schiller

PFD (personal floatation device), especially for kayakers

Benjamin Lee
Member

Towell(s)
Landing net & bait net
Lip sunscreen

James Bradford
Member

Great advice but I also carry a first aid kit, handheld gps map, and a vhf radio.

Robert Currie
Member

The best communication device within 20 miles of shore is a marine VHF/FM radio. The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 system can triangulate your position from a transmission anywhere on the US coast up to 20 miles from shore with as little as 1 watt of power. You can get a 5 watt handheld marine radio that is waterproof and floats for less than $100. Cell phones are of very limited use offshore.

William Woodhouse
Member

The video content, while addressing some vital areas, seems to focus more on the fishing side, assuming that the audience is composed of somewhat experienced boaters, although new to your area or novice fisherman likely to venture offshore for the first time. Kudos the addition of the first-aid kit, but many new boaters (and some not so new) could benefit from a walk-through of the Federal Boating Regulations, as well as state laws. A Coast Auxiliary Vessel Safety Check would be a convenient first step to be sure all the legal bases are covered. I think a SAT phone would be expensive overkill for most. Except for extreme offshore trips, most of us get along fine with a mobile phone and a VHF radio (preferably hard-wired [vs. hand-held]). Freshwater anglers often have little knowledge of the NAVRules or the ATON system. The Coast Guard Auxiliary also offers boating classes that cover these topics. Most flotillas have local websites with contact info and public education calendars.

Robert Sears
Member

In a first aid kit, have a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in case of a puncture wound (stingray, catfish, knife) especially if it happens in some of our polluted inshore waters. Net/gaff for larger game fish; rain gear. Depending on waters being fished (e.g., ten thousand islands), think about backup navigation system or have a plan B should electrical power be lost.

Jim
Guest
Jim

Water always take water

Pat Ogletree
Member

It’s not something you bring with you but you leave it behind. That’s a float plan. It can be as basic as where your launching and where you plan to fish along with expected time back. Leave it with someone trusted.

Robert Phillips
Member

I would 2nd the First Aid Kit. I carry a personal location device that does not require a subscription, along with portable marine band radio.

Bill Godwin
Member

I always have a Boo Boo Kit (IFAK) onboard, in vehicle, with me.

SAT phones/subscriptions are super expensive. I’ve been using InReach (now owned by Garmin) for 5 years for backcountry fishing, overlanding and dual sport motorcycle trips in US, Canada and Asia. Its a fantastic device for when things go wrong or to simply let family/friends know you’re OK. No, you can’t call momma, but you can text her.

Totally agree, if my 2017 Yamaha F60 fails to start, and all things check out, time to call a tow to shore; or grab my InReach and activate the SOS feature.

Jim Wright
Member

A device I consider essential having aboard is a weather-band radio receiver, especially during summer. It’s not always possible to see the horizon and squall lines move fast!

Erik Johansson
Member

First Aid Kit?

Kenneth Johnston
Member

Maybe you’ve done this but what would be great is a pre-trip check list that we can post near our boat. You guys are the experts, the best, I’ll bet you could put one together for our members so we don’t end up launching our skiffs or kayaks and finding we forgot life jackets, keys, rods (I know but I’m 73, cut me some slack).

This would be a great tool. I am always forgetting something and a reminder list from you would be a big help.

Steven Free
Member

Got em all the only thing I use the lithium batteries for though are my flashlight and my spotlight but yes I always come prepared there is one important item I was surprised you did not mention? A first aid kit because we all obviously use hooks and they catch fisherman just as easily as fish I keep a dufflebag in my consol with a spare trolling motor prop first aid kit sunscreen bug spray and all the stuff you just mentioned good info for guys and gals just starting out thanks😁