The Angling Option

By Dan Armitage
Photos: Attwood Portable Rod Holders, Plano Bait Buckets, and EGO2 Slider Landing Nets

Even if angling isn't top of your list, chances are someone will want to wet a line from your boat

Photo of a Plano fishing gear toolbag

When you think about it, one of the joys of owning a trailerable boat is the hook-up-and-go option, the ability to visit different waters. Sometimes those boating destinations are famous for the quality of fishing opportunities they offer. Whether on vacation or on your home waters, with a few portable items, you can easily exercise the angling option and net some memorable fishing experiences — without permanently re-rigging the family boat.

Here are a few portable items that go a long way toward making any boat more fishing friendly. With these, you and your guests can enjoy the pleasures of fishing without permanently altering your pleasure boat.

Photo of a portable VHF radio

Portable VHF Radio

For everything from current weather reports and water conditions to listening in on local anglers to learn where the fishing action is taking place — plus being able to summon assistance in the event of an emergency — a VHF radio and spare batteries are essential.

Shown: Portable Standard Horizon VHF Radio available at West Marine.

Needle-Nosed Fishing Pliers

Photo of fishing pliers

These will help you remove hooks from fish and anglers alike, as well as help tighten knots, open snaps, and crimp on sinkers. If your trip is into saltwater, where some game fish have teeth and you may be using live or cut bait that fish tend to swallow, you'll need the extra reach offered by the slender jaws of these handy tools.The pliers' wire-cutting capability will be welcome when you have to twist wire leaders, cut heavy mono super-braids, or clip off a hook barb before removing it from your hide. Shown: Calcutta Needle Nose Pliers available at West Marine.

Portable Fishing Rod Holders

Photo of an Attwood fishing rod holder

There are several styles of portable rod holders with bases that clamp onto just about any surface. Most of them adapt to rails, such as those that serve as handrails or a bow railing. Roberts-style rod holders with a rail-clamp mount are popular choices for portable applications. Clamp-on versions from Attwood, Tempo, West Marine, and a host of other rod holder sources are inexpensive (most under $30 each) and easily attach to hand rails, oak locks, or even Bimini-top supports to offer all that is often needed to convert a strictly pleasure craft into a serviceable fishing machine. Most clamp-on models are portable and offer easy on/easy off installation. Other models offer a small, more permanent base that can be screwed into the gunwale of the boat. By adding rod holders, you can let out some line and tow ("troll" is the preferred term) a lure as you idle along. At anchor, you can drop bait over the side, knowing that your rod is safe in the grasp of a holder.

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