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These jump starters include a set of “Smarty Clamps” with a new pinch-point jaw design engineered to get a better grip on all sizes of battery terminals.

Portable emergency power for your boat

If you have never turned your boat or tow vehicle’s ignition key only to have it do absolutely nothing, you should be both wary and happy.

Be wary because it happens to almost everyone sooner or later, and be happy because you still have time to prepare for it.

December 21, 2016 at 4:00am
The skipper of this boat probably can’t use his soaked cell phone or his marine radio — hopefully he had an EPIRB or similar device.

Emergency electronics get faster

When Murphy’s Law suddenly sinks or disables your boat, your Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is your no-nonsense, last-ditch rescue resource.

November 18, 2016 at 6:00am
When looking for wiring problems, you might find trouble on the inside where you see trouble on the outside. Note the broken clamp and wire ties that used to secure this covered wire bundle to the bulkhead.

Getting wired - Proper wiring for your boat

Wires are the blood vessels of your boat’s electrical system. If they aren’t right, everything that runs on amps and volts is at risk.

We’re talking about boats here, so when we address wire we’re talking about marine-grade wire you can get from your local marine dealer or online at places like West Marine, Boaters World, Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops.

October 21, 2016 at 11:00am
Cable steering has always been the first choice where quick and positive maneuvering is required and the new Ultrex has power cable steering.

The next step in trolling motor evolution

My first real bass boat was a new 1973 Raycraft Pro built in St. Augustine, Texas, right between Lake Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend Reservoir.

Tri-hulls designed with a larger center hull and two smaller side sponsons were cutting-edge for bass boat hulls back then, and every company had its own version.

September 23, 2016 at 2:58pm
This Helix Motor Drive pod is designed as a drop-in electric propulsion unit for Wilderness System’s Flex Pod OS-compatible kayaks. It fits in a specially designed scupper built into the boat.

Electric propulsion motors gaining popularity

Today’s electric propulsion systems can replace everything from kayak paddles to outboard motors, and fishermen are finding them more proficient than ever.

August 26, 2016 at 9:00am
This screen shot shows Furuno’s Target Analyzer engaged and indicating two red targets approaching. The Echo Trail feature shows the shadowy paths of the moving objects to help avoid the vessels.

Furuno’s new small-boat radar

Ask three fishermen what they like most about their radar units and you might well get three different answers.

The most-experienced user might tell you it ties with sonar as his most valuable fishing tool.

July 26, 2016 at 9:00am
This is a daylight shot of a work barge moored about 200 yards from the Binox unit.

Digital binoculars for night or day

Binoculars have always had a place in my outdoor life. I keep a pair handy in a storage compartment in my boat, in my truck’s console and in my hunting pack.

June 24, 2016 at 3:30pm
CHIRP technology lets a unit show baitfish clouds in an unmistakable manner and easily separate fish from submerged trees.

Marine-grade software updates on your electronics

There was a time when updating your electronics meant buying new units.

We gadget-minded fishermen understood that keeping up with technological evolution meant replacing our fishfinders and navigation units every eight to 10 months.

May 26, 2016 at 9:00am
The iBall camera has a strong magnet built into its base for quick and secure mounting wherever you need it.

Put your hitch ball on TV

When hooking up to your boat trailer, how many times do you have to get out of your tow vehicle and walk back to check on the stormy relationship between its hitch ball and the trailer’s coupler?

April 22, 2016 at 4:00pm
ProNav Angler adds electronic super powers to a “dumb” trolling motor with electric steering and then lets you manually or automatically navigate and position your boat as you fish.

Phone-in boat control

There seems to be no end to the number of ways smartphones and tablets can help us. Just about the time I thought I couldn’t be surprised by another smart-electronics revelation, I discovered that they can now operate a bow-mounted trolling motor.

March 26, 2016 at 9:00am
The screen on this Furuno Navnet unit shows that the boat is right on its course line as the heading and course over ground numbers match.

Understanding Navspeak

Looking through an owner’s manual for a new GPS navigation unit, I was surprised at how much the manual assumed I already knew. Some of the terminology was so poorly explained I don’t know how a newcomer to GPS navigation would figure it all out.

February 26, 2016 at 9:00am
Garmin’s new echoMAP 4 series units have 4-inch screens with 482 vertical pixel resolution.

Garmin's GPS/sonar combo units create custom maps

Garmin bills its new echoMAP CHIRP models as a series of “entry-level” combination sonar/GPS units with built-in CHIRP sonar technology, but I think the term “affordable” fits better.

We covered CHIRP here a while back, but let’s take another look at it and review why it’s important to our boating and fishing.

January 26, 2016 at 9:00am
Big-screen combo units provide great visibility and allow different elements to be displayed for greater fishing flexibility.

Sometimes bigger and better are separate improvements - Big-screen GPS units allow for greater fishing flexibility

Back when big-screen LCD fish finders started appearing on professional tournament anglers’ boats I discussed them with walleye pros Scott and Marty Glorvigen.

December 26, 2015 at 9:00am
Marine grade electrical components cost more but are specifically designed to handle the marine environment.

‘Marine-grade’ means more than you might think

Owning a boat long enough to pay it off has a dark side. I usually own a fishing boat about 15 years — long enough to get it set up just right for me and, unfortunately, long enough to see electrical problems develop.

November 24, 2015 at 9:10am