Magic Marker

Airmar B260 Wide Beam transducer, Raymarine SmartPilot autopilot, Icom's M72 handheld VHF


Get Heard
Small-boat anglers will appreciate Icom's M72 handheld VHF. With a large-capacity Lithium-ion battery, the M72 has a whopping six watts of transmit power—the highest on the market. The unit will also survive a 30-minute dunking and is equipped with Aquaquake, a setting that emits low-frequency waves to shed water from the speaker. The wide-angle LCD has adjustable backlighting and contrast, and the flexible antenna is 30 percent shorter than those of other handhelds, causing less hassle when the VHF is worn on an angler's belt. The M72 has a suggested retail price of $349. Icom America; (425) 454-8155;

Magic Marker

Airmar built its B260 Wide Beam transducer ($1,600) to have nearly 25 degrees of beamwidth—about four times that of other transducers—so anglers can see more of what's around the boat. Thanks to multiple-element 200 kHz and 50 kHz arrays, the unit shows 16.5 times the area of a typical transducer at a given depth. The typical 86 square-foot coverage at 100 feet deep becomes 1,419 square feet for marking bait and gamefish, targets that would have otherwise passed unnoticed. Usable with fishfinders from Raymarine, Furuno, Simrad and others, the B260 Wide Beam has a bronze housing and a high-performance fairing that keeps the transducer in clean water and helps deliver clear screen images at up to 30 knots. Airmar Technology Corp.; (603) 673-9570;

Outboard Input

Boaters with Mercury Verado outboards can now have all the benefits of Raymarine's SmartPilot autopilot on their single- and twin-engine systems. This version offers the same intelligent software to control steering and has NMEA or SeaTalk input for GPS waypoint navigation. Fast output of compass headings supports radar and chart plotter overlay on multifunction displays. Steering software holds a precise course and makes smooth turns—great for trolling. Available with optional wireless controls, the SmartPilot comes with a control head, course computer, a hydraulic pump and more and sells for $4,490. Raymarine; (800) 539-5539;