A 12-volt, 10 amp-hour battery is sufficient for most fish finders with extra power to charge cell phone and run LED lights. Sealed, lead-acid batteries are less expensive, but heavy.

A similar lithium-ion battery cuts the weight in half. To do it all, house the battery in a waterproof case with USB and 12-volt connections.

Gadgets and Electronics

A full complement of electronic gadgets make fishing safer, more comfortable and fishier.

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The magic of engineering has produced powerful accessories in a pint-sized package. You can listen to tunes, talk with buddies, even signal for rescue, all from the palm of your hand.

Audio and Accessories

Pass the hours between bites, or shorten a long paddle, by listening to your favorite tunes. A small, rechargeable, Bluetooth, waterproof speaker is better than ear buds because you can still hear ambient noise, like boats approaching or fish jumping. Throw the wireless speaker in the crate or a cup holder and keep the smartphone in a drybag. Some speakers even allow you to take calls.

Communication Devices

A handheld, very-high-frequency (VHF) radio is a safety essential on any kayak. Unlike CB or two-way communicators, VHF signals carry farther and work better over water. Keep a VHF radio on your life jacket. Just push a button to communicate with rescuers, monitor weather conditions and share updates with your friends. Waterproof, indestructible and reliable, a VHF beats a cell phone in an emergency. The best models float.

Add another level of safety with a personal locator beacon (PLB). In an emergency, trigger the PLB and your GPS location is transmitted to rescue services. Clip the PLB to your PFD and rest assured, help is on the way. Best models include a strobe light.

Light it up. A Lithium-Ion battery in a waterproof case supplies power for fish finder and other accessories. | Photo: Courtesy YakGear
Light it up. A Lithium-Ion battery in a waterproof case supplies power for fish finder and other accessories. | Photo: Courtesy YakGear

Navigation Devices

A handheld global positioning system (GPS) is a powerful tool for safety, paddling and fishing. Monitoring speed and staying on course makes it easier to cover miles between fishing holes.

Hit “man overboard” when you get a bite, then return to the same spot. Strap the unit to the cockpit console or use an adjustable base to keep the GPS close enough to reach and read. Cut down devices with a fish finder-GPS combo.

Photo and Video

Capture your trophy catch on digital video and it lasts forever. Small, light, powerful and tough, action cameras produce high-quality images and video in any environment.

Gear tracks are great for mounting camera bases and booms. Slide the camera on the track to capture the perfect angle then quickly remove at the end of the day. To film the fishing and the fishermen, mount one camera on a boom in the tankwell and another on the fore deck. Be sure to use a solid mount and keep the camera out of the way, most action cameras don’t float.

Be seen even in low light conditions. | Photo: Dustin Doskocil

Visibility and Lighting

The U.S. Coast Guard requires paddlers to carry a white light after dark. Most night anglers mount a white navigation light to a three-foot pole and attach it to the tankwell or gear crate. Safety lights are bright enough to be seen for miles without flooding the kayak with light and reducing night vision. A motorized kayak needs red and green directional lights along with the white navigation light. Always carry a rescue beacon in your life jacket.

LED lamps and light strips are easy to install anywhere on a kayak. To attach the light strip, use two-sided tape, lock-nuts or self-tapping screws. Drill a hole and run the wire through the hull to the battery. Seal all holes with marine sealant.

Headlamps are ubiquitous with outdoors activities. Even if you fish during the day, don’t leave the launch without it. After dark, a headlamp has one hundred uses, be sure it is high-quality, waterproof, light and easy to control. Best models have a low-power mode to save battery life. A red lamp does not affect night vision and a flashing strobe is an international distress signal. LEDs draw less power and produce bright, white light. With so much riding on the headlamp, it’s a good idea to carry a spare.

Light it up. A Lithium-Ion battery in a waterproof case supplies power for fish finder and other accessories. | Photo: Courtesy YakGear


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