Recently, while chasing bonefish in Biscayne Bay with Captain Rob Fordyce, we learned the benefits of carrying an infrared thermometer, such as the Fluke 62 Mini ($100), on a flats skiff. Point the device at the surface to get the water temperature of the flat. The unit detects infrared radiation and gives a quick, accurate reading-even at speed-in large easy-to-read digits. Designed for industrial use, the rugged Fluke 62 Mini reads from ¿20 to 932 degrees Fahrenheit and is sensitive enough to show the temperature difference of outboard cylinder heads, telling which one isn¿¿t firing when the engine is running rough. Fluke Corporation; (888) 308-5277; www.fluke.com
Humminbird has gotten back into the radio game with the VHF55s Plus, a submersible handheld that is simple to operate. The unit has a backlit LCD display, a rechargeable NiMH battery and a convenient alkaline battery compartment for backup power. With selectable one- or five-watt output, the VHF55s Plus has all U.S., international and Canadian channels and ten weather bands. The unit can monitor traffic on multiple channels so anglers can hear when the bite is on. The VHF55s Plus comes with a charger and sells for $120. Humminbird; (800) 633-1468; www.humminbird.com
Helm at Home?
| NavPlanner from Navionics allows anglers to chart a route to the fishing grounds on a home or office computer and then load the itinerary onto the boat¿¿s plotter. Compatible with Navionics Silver, Gold+ and Platinum marine cartography, the PC-based chart lets the user mark the route, then save it to a data card with the included Multi Card Reader connected to the computer. Plug the card into the helm chart plotter and the route appears on the Navionics chart. It works the other way, too: mark fish strikes on the plotter, then save them to the computer chart. The hot spots will help you devise the next outing. The NavPlanner sells for $129. Navionics; (800) 848-5896; www.navionics.com