The Definitive List of Tools and Supplies to Keep in Your Bass Boat

Whether you are a hard core tournament bass junkie or once a month fair weather fisherman, you are going to encounter issues on the water at some point.  What’s the boy scout motto again?  Problems can happen to you, your partner, or your bass boat.  Spare parts, tools to fix things that break, and emergency supplies take up some room but they can be packed neatly and are worth it.  Required safety equipment to have in your boat varies across the country so that’s not included here.  Suffice to say, the first thing to do would be to make sure you have all that included as well. This is a pretty extensive list and you may choose not to include some items. Saving some weight in your compartments is never a bad plan, but I’d rather leave that fifth bag of flukes home than the electrical tape.

Battery Jumper Cables: With the livewells on and your three HDS12’s pinging away, you can run down your batteries without even thinking about it. You probably have three or four batteries in your boat and it’s a lot easier to jump the motor than moving batteries or connections around.
First Aid Kit: First Aid Kits are just smart to have around in your truck and boat.
Anchor and Rope: I bet there’s a large portion of boats that don’t have one but it can come in handy if you’re stranded. One important note here is to place it in a back compartment either wedged in a corner or wrapped up somehow. You don’t want it bouncing around day after day.
Towels: Fall in the water? Everything is wet and you want it dry? Need to clean up a mess? Stow some junky bath towels behind your driver’s seat for easy access.
Extra Bilge Pump with 6 ft of hose attached: This isn’t essential but it’s not a bad idea especially if you fish on some of the lakes that are known for huge waves.
Flares: May or may not be required by law, but either way they are smart to have. If they are required by law, make sure they haven’t passed their expiration date or if you are checked it might not matter.
Gallon water jug or coffee can: This can be used for bailing water out of the boat or putting water in your livewells. Gallon milk jugs can be cut toward the top to open them up.  If you go with the coffee can, put some toilet paper in it to save some space.
Ratchet Set:  Some go with a 1/4″ set and some with a 3/8″ set.  You can probably get by with a decent crescent wrench too.
Screw Drivers:  I’d suggest a big flat screwdriver (doubles as a small pry bar) and one of those ones multi-bit screwdrivers that will have all the sizes you need.
Multitool: You don’t need one of the crazy high dollar ones, but the $4 chinese knock-offs probably aren’t your best insurance.
Allen Wrenches:  Graphs, trolling motors and other accessories on the boat sometimes need allen wrenches to get into.  They aren’t expensive or heavy so scout out your boat for the sizes you might want.
Spark Plug Wrench:  If you are at all mechanically inclined, this might be a good idea.  If you have no business taking your cowl off, then might as well save the weight.
Stainless steel assorted screws,bolts, lock nuts:  Look around your rig at things that can fail and get some spare hardware that will fit.  A good example is the lock nuts or nuts that hold your 12v battery connections down.
Zip Ties: So many uses when things break!
Super Glue:  Again, so many uses.
Electrical Connectors:  Get a good variety of butt splice connector and other crimping connectors.  Remember this won’t do much good without wire strippers so don’t forget those!
Fuses: Newer boats use breakers for a lot of things but you’ll still find fuses used.  Make sure you have a spare or two for all of them on your boat.  It’s an easy fix when it happens, just make sure you have the right sizes for your bass boat.
Long Handle Paddle:  As with the flares, this may or may not be required by your state.  With the outboard and electric motor as two forms of propulsion, I wouldn’t consider this a necessity but it doesn’t take up much room in a rod locker.
Trolling Motor Rope:  Such small things can ruin a day.  Either be very diligent about checking your rope often or carry a spare trolling motor rope and have the knowledge to replace it on the water.  It might be worth having one of the new cable “ropes” that has a lot less chance of breaking.
Outboard Motor Prop and Hub Kit:  The prop is obvious.  Hit something and if it loses a fin you aren’t going very far.  However your big bad stainless prop is pretty bulletproof and the inside hub is more likely to be the failure point.  Make sure you have a spare hub kit that fits.
Tools to change big motor prop: These include the appropriately sized ratchet or a prop puller and a block of wood is nice to stop the prop from spinning while you are wrenching.
On water numbers in Cell Phone and 12 volt Charger: Cell phones work in more places than ever these days.  Don’t let yours die at the wrong time.
Emergency Rain Poncho: Ever have a partner that forgot his rain jacket and then it rains all day?
Spare Trolling motor prop / shear pin / nut:  Get the right parts for your trolling motor and learn how to fix it.
Flash light and extra batteries: We can’t see in the dark or in behind three batteries and a powerpole pump at dawn!
Toilet Paper: Probably the number one must have.
Change of clothes including socks: After you’ve fallen in the water once, you will appreciate this more.
Electrical tape and Duct Tape:  Both have their uses on the water.
Extra scissors and needle nose fishing pliers:  Can’t have too many.
Side cutters: From electrical wires to embedded fish hooks, they’ll get used.
Wire strippers: It’s much easier to splice wires with these instead of trying to do it with scissors.
Wire:  Ten feet of some small stranded wire can fix a bad connection and get you through the day.
Rope for getting towed:  And for the guy that wants a tow and doesn’t have his own.
Extra sunblock:  For when your partner forgets his.
Ibuprofen and/or Aleve:  Obvious
Extra hat/cap: You’ll think it’s obvious when your hat blows out and sinks quickly on tournament morning.
Spare running light or bulbs:  It’ll save you when you go to turn your lights on before boat-check in the morning.
Spare Key for Truck and Boat:  There are plenty of places to hide keys in your bass boat. 

That’s it for now.  It’s up to you to cross off what you don’t think necessary.  Do you have some of your own additions?  Let’s hear them in the comments.

Here’s a printable checklist with all these things on it.

June 27, 2020 3:19 pm