A Bob Marley tune sets a nice mood on the trolling grounds. But getting a call from your buddy that the bite is going off nearby sets a great mood, too.
Lowrance’s LVR-880 fixed-mount VHF ($190) lets you do both. The first fixed-mount with FM radio tuner, the DSC-equipped 880 keeps you rocking while maintaining contact with other anglers through a buddy-tracking feature compatible with Lowrance GPS chart plotters. Additional perks include an intercom connection, large display with backlighting and a distress feature. Lowrance; (800) 324-1356; www.lowrance.com
You’re running across the flats alone on your skiff. You lose your balance, fall overboard and watch your boat zip off toward the horizon. It’s a scary prospect, but one that’s totally avoidable thanks to the Autotether ($295). Traditional lanyard kill switches require them to be connected to the helmsman, but the Autotether system allows you to move freely around the boat. You wear a sensor clip that transmits a signal to a receiver at the kill switch. Should you end up in the drink, the system shuts the engine down automatically. Additional sensors for passengers sound an alarm if they fall overboard. Autotether; (888) 593-4181; www.autotether.com
Worrying that you can be seen on the water by other anglers is one thing, but making sure barges, tugs and tankers know you and your 20-footer are there is another. With the AI50 Class B AIS ($1,500) from Simrad, your presence will always be known. The AI50 transmits boat name, MMSI, type of boat, heading, rate of turn and closest point of approach to all vessels in the area capable of receiving AIS transmission. The waterproof unit also features alarm settings that warn you of impending danger from approaching vessels. A large LCD screen and built-in coastline maps come standard. Simrad; (425) 778-8821; www.simradyachtingusa.com