Well over 40 percent of Canadians went boating in 2013, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. If you’re eagerly awaiting the spring thaw to get back on the open ocean or Canadian waterways, pick up some fun new fishing gadgets to make this year’s boating safe and fun, and download some apps to help increase your chance of reeling in the big one.
Boating Gadget Essentials
- Wind and weather meter: A handheld wind meter can make the difference between a pleasant sail and a day of suffering. You can find a combined handheld wind and weather meter that spot checks the weather and the wind for around $80.
- Marine radio: A marine radio provides weather advisories and small craft warnings. Many come preprogrammed with Canadian, U.S. and international channels, and support all NOAA weather alerts. Look for a marine radio with a backlit LED display if you plan to fish at dawn or dusk. This will help you pay attention to the weather alerts, as Canada’s safe boating laws require you to do. Marine radio warnings will be covered in a boat licensing exam or a Canadian boating license course.
- Draft beer dispenser: Instead of popping open a can of beer on your boat, why not pour yourself a fresh draft from this refillable mini keg? Systems retail for around $400 and support select brands of mini keg beers. Unfortunately, the beer cost is not included.
- GoPro: A favorite camera among adventurists, the versatile, mountable GoPro can take your fishing trip pics to the next level. Because the camera is shockproof, waterproof and wearable, you’ll never have to worry about snapping the perfect shot while you’re wrestling that huge catch. GoPro retails for $200 to $450 (depending on the model). Mounts sold separately for $14 and up.
Believe it or not, there are several apps you can use to bide away your time in between bites on the line. Informative fishing apps include:
- Animated fishing knot: View detailed instructions and usage suggestions for tying 31 knots—including the blood knot and the slim beauty knot—then practice your knot-ical skills while you wait. At $0.99, this app is extremely useful.
- Navionics: This app offers route-planning, electronic maps and up-to-date tidal, weather and wind information. With Navionics, you can ditch the paper nav chart and find your way around the lake, stream, river or open ocean. The basic app is free, and you pay to purchase global charts.
- Fugawi iMap: Offering both topographic maps and satellite views, Fugawi iMap is ideal if your fishing expeditions include overland treks through uncharted terrain. The app costs $4.99 and will prove its worth the next time you’re bushwhacking.
- North American Fishing Guide: This $0.99 app covers more than 100 common freshwater fish found in Canadian waterways. Identify your catch using its clear illustrations.
- Fishin’ Buddy Lite: Keep a field diary with this free app. Tracking the date, weather, time of catch, catch species, lure used and other information may help you have better luck on future fishing trips.