A great fishing watch is one of the best gadgets you can have with you out on the water. With GPS navigation systems, weather monitoring functions, barometers, altimeters, and heart rate trackers, you can feel more confident out on the water.
Whether you’re on a week-long camping trip or a relaxing day at the lake, you’ll be able to read the water, master your surroundings, and keep track of time. You can even load up your music on some smart fishing watches for a chilled-out atmosphere while you fish!
If you’re not sure what to look for in a fishing watch, read on to find out the must-have features and our reviews of the best fishing watches around!
Best Fishing Watch in 2020
In our opinion these are the best fishing watches available today:
- Garmin Fenix 5
— best overall fishing watch
- Garmin Instinct
— best fishing watch for the money
- SUUNTO Transverse Alpha
— specially designed for hunting and fishing
- Casio Pathfinder
— best reliable features
- SUUNTO Core Military Outdoor
— one of the most rugged fishing watches
- Apple Watch
— if you want all of the features possible
Best Fishing Watch Reviews
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Review
The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Smartwatch has a lot of cool features which make this one of the best fishing watches around. The excellent navigation system includes a gyroscope barometric pressure altimeter and compass as well as access to GLONASS Galileo and GPS satellite systems so you should never get lost with this handy little gadget.
Enjoy fishing while listening to your favorite soundtrack – this smartwatch holds up to 500 songs and connects to your Bluetooth speakers.
The long battery life and durable construction make the Garmin Fenix 5 ideal for outdoorsy pursuits like hiking and fishing, and you can track your fitness, performance, and heart rate too. 
- Can measure your heart rate
- Allows you to find the best paths using color TOPO maps
- High Contrast display makes it easy to read which just a quick glance
- You can listen to your music right from your watch
- Long battery life
- It can be glitchy when connecting to an iPhone
- A little bulky and heavy to wear
- Monochrome display – some people say it seems a little grainy
Garmin Instinct Review
This rugged outdoor sport watch was built to military standards and so it should have no problem standing up to anything you put it through on your next fishing trip! It’s scratch resistant, thermal, water, and shock resistant, so it should last you a long time.
Although this watch doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that some other smartwatches offer, the pared-back screen in black and white and the simple features make this a great fishing watch.
If you’re not interested in keeping up with social media notifications and emails, this might be the watch for you. It will do the job and you won’t get overwhelmed by hundreds of unnecessary functions.
With the Garmin Instinct, you can track your GPS easily without having to get your phone out and hold it in your hand. You’ll always know where you are thanks to the 3-axis compass and GPS, Galileo, and GLONASS technologies. You can even track your heart rate with this fishing watch!
- Strong, durable watch that you can use in any conditions
- Comfortable and lightweight to wear
- The handy TracBack feature allows you to return to your starting point by following the same route – useful in remote, bushy locations
- Great battery life: In smartwatch mode, you get 14 days, and GPS mode lasts up to 16 hours.
- Water resistant, so you won’t need to worry about it getting wet while fishing
- You can’t store music on this watch
- It’s easy to unlock the buttons by accident
SUUNTO Traverse Alpha Foliage Watch
This little beauty has been specially designed for anglers and hunters, and you’ll appreciate the difference when you take a look at the advanced features on this watch!
Not only can you keep track of where you are with the GLONASS/GPS navigation system – SUUNTO has taken the special features to the next level with this model.
The Traverse Alpha fishing watch includes a weather trend and storm alarm, moonrise and moonset times, moon phases, sunrise and sunset times, red backlight, altitude tracking, and much more.
If you want to keep track of your steps and calories burned, the SUUNTO makes it really easy, giving you daily, weekly, and even annual totals. You can even share this info directly to Facebook or Instagram if you like!
- Simple and easy to use
- Water resistant to 100m – perfect for fishing
- Connectivity with web, apps, and phone is seamless
- Durable and built to last
- > The screen can be hard to read as it’s very shiny and reflective
- The strap is less durable than the watch itself, so you may want to change it or replace it over time
- The watch is on the large size
Casio Pathfinder Review
The Casio Pathfinder is a triple sensor ABC watch (altimeter, barometer, compass) which provides all the features you need in a fishing watch. Even better, it’s solar powered, so you won’t need to worry about the battery dying on you during a long fishing trip!
The Casio Pathfinder is shock-proof and water-resistant, important features that every angler should look for in a fishing watch. It also has a world clock feature, so it’s great if you travel to different time zones or locations around the world and want to keep on top of what time it is automatically.
The initial set-up can take some time, but then you’re all set to use it. As the Casio Pathfinder is made mainly of plastic, it’s not as hard-wearing as some of the other options on the market. You’ll want to use it with care to prevent scratches and marks.
- World clock is a great feature if you travel frequently and fish in different time zones
- Easy to read with large numbers on the display
- Waterproof – ideal for fishing without worrying about damaging your watch
- The light isn’t very bright – not great for night fishing
- You need to calibrate the compass first if you want an accurate reading
- You can scratch this watch if you’re not careful
- Bulky watch – not great for smaller people
- The leather strap is quite stiff and can seem a little uncomfortable at first
SUUNTO Core All Black Military Outdoor Watch
SUUNTO is one of the most well-known brands for rugged outdoor watches, and they’ve done it again with the SUUNTO Core Military Outdoor Watch. Not only does the SUUNTO Core look amazing, but it kits you out so that you can get even more out of your fishing trips. It’s flexible, comfortable, and adjustable, so you’re sure to get a perfect fit.
You can monitor and track where you are with the altimeter, barometer, and compass, and the storm alarm will help you stay safe and be aware of dangerous changes in conditions.
The SUUNTO Core also has a digital thermometer and can tell you the exact timings for sunrise and sunset in many different locations. This information comes in very handy when planning your timings, keeping safe, and even choosing which flies to use.
There’s even a depth meter which can accurately tell you how deep the water around you is. This is an amazing feature which can prevent accidents and give you an idea of the river or lake conditions.
- Cool, modern design
- The sunrise and sunset feature helps you plan your fishing trips to get the most out of your time on the water
- The storm alarm feature measures drop in air pressure and will inform you of any approaching storms
- Very hard-wearing and solid without being cumbersome
- For an accurate thermometer reading, you’ll need to take your watch off first
- The strap may become damaged, crack, or rip after heavy use – but you can replace it yourself
- No GPS features
Apple Watch Review
If you’re into the latest hot gadgets and like to keep track of your fitness, the Apple Watch might be the right choice for you.
Not only does it have superior activity, pace, and heart rate tracking functions, but the connectivity is second to none. You will have access to a whole host of features like the ability to take calls, play music, listen to podcasts, or get online. But that isn’t for everyone, of course.
The Apple Series 4 comes complete with GLONASS and Galileo navigation systems, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter. Before heading out, make sure you download the awesome Topo Maps+ app from the Apple Store. This great app allows you to find the best spots to fish or camp. You’ll be able to track your location and progess easily, and even download maps so you’ll never get lost, no matter how remote you are.
But some anglers just prefer a simpler watch. If you don’t need a watch that can do everything, or you tend to get overwhelmed by all the settings on offer, the Apple Series 4 might not be for you. It doesn’t come cheap at $479, but it is an amazing watch with a sleek, comfortable design that you can use every day – not just on your fishing trips
- Beautifully sleek, non-bulky design
- Water resistant to 50m
- The Apple 4 has both electrical and optical heart sensors to help you keep track of your heart rate and fitness
- Automatically detects and keeps track of your activity, pace, distance, etc – and makes it easy to share on social media
- Allows you to take phone calls, listen to music, answer messages, and more, right from your watch
- Uses a traditional lacing An expensive investment at around $479! system
- Not specifically designed for fishing
- May have too many features for some who prefer a simpler watch
- Shorter battery life than some fishing watches – up to 18 hours before you need to charge it
How To Choose A Fishing Watch
There are a few vital features to look for in the best watches for fishing, like waterproofing and durability.
You’ll also need to consider your personal preferences too before you purchase. Do you want a watch with all the bells and whistles? Or, would you rather have a simpler watch that won’t overwhelm you with too many features and buttons?
Of course, this is one of the most important factors for fishermen when buying a new watch. Make sure you check whether the model you’re looking at is waterproof or just water-resistant, and to what depths.
Some models may say they are water-resistant, when in reality it can only stand up to light splashes. You’re really looking for a watch that can be fully submerged with no worries on your part.
Most outdoor watches are designed to be hard-wearing and durable, but they do vary. Plastic watches are more likely to get scratched over time, whereas rugged stainless steel may hold up longer. Also, check what the watch straps are made from and how strong they seem. Will it fray, crack, or tear over time?
Easy To Read
You want a clock face that is clear and easy to read, so you don’t have to waste extra seconds each time you glance at your wrist. An anti-glare display and a high contrast are both useful in bright sunlight.
Having the option of a backlight or a low light comes in very handy when you’re fishing at night or in the early morning. You’ll be able to check the time without scaring the fish away with a fishing lantern or torch.
The navigation features of a fishing watch make hiking to that remote spot much easier. Many fishing watches come with multiple satellite systems for extra reliability. You’ll want GPS as a minimum, but some offer GLONASS and Galileo too.
Having GPS on your watch makes finding your way much more streamlined than using your phone. A watch is quick and easy to glance whereas you’ll have to keep your phone in your hand at all times, find somewhere to strap it on securely, or keep taking it out of your pocket.
You might want to rely on a compass, barometer, and altimeter too. Some fishing watches even come with pre-installed maps, or the option to download them from the manufacturer’s website.
High-tech fishing smartwatches can monitor the weather and even warn you of incoming storms. We all know how quickly weather conditions can change out on the water, so you’ll stay safer this way. A built-in digital thermometer is also a useful feature that you’ll find many fishing watches have.
Fishing Specific Info
Whilst there’s a wide variety of smartwatches on the market, not all of them are equally suited to taking on a fishing trip.
But there are some amazing models that are specially designed for anglers and hunters, with extra functions like tidal info, sunrise and sunset timings, moon phases, and more. Top fishing watches can even effectively estimate water depth, so you can work out the best spots to cast to.
Having one of these fishing-specific watches can take your fishing experience to the next level.
Heart Rate/Fitness Tracking
If you tend to hike a lot while fishing or you just want to keep track of your steps, look for a watch that can track your fitness and activity.
Many fishing watches will measure your heart rate and let you know how many calories you burned during your outing. You can track how your distance, pace, and your fitness over a week, day, month, or year and pick out overall trends.
Is having a watch that can connect up to your phone and social media important to you? Do you want to be able to sync with fitness apps and keep track of your activity? If so, you want a watch that offers seamless connectivity.
On the other hand, if you’re not into social media and you want to escape from the rat race when you’re out fishing, receiving emails on the lake may be your worst nightmare. In that case, just look for a more basic fishing watch and take the opportunity to disconnect for a while.
Some anglers are looking for a highly specialized fishing watch which they will only wear out on the water. However, you might want something a little more versatile – a watch that will double up as your everyday watch and your fishing watch, too.
The most versatile watches tend to have a cool design, be less bulky, and have useful features like being able to connect to your phone to take calls and receive messages.
Some watches have so many buttons and functions that you’ll need to spend a good chunk of time sitting down with the instruction manual and working out which button to press!
But don’t worry! There are simple, easy-to-use watches that you can get set up in seconds and you’ll be ready to go. The learning curve is something to consider when choosing your watch. If you want a range of features, you need to be willing to spend some time working out your new watch.
If you like to slip on your headphones and listen to music while you fish, look for a watch that can store and play music for you. Some can even connect by Bluetooth to your wireless headphones for a better listening experience.
Size, comfort, and design should not be overlooked when picking out your ideal fishing watch. Are you comfortable with a bigger watch which may be a bit bulky? If you’re of a smaller build, you don’t want something too heavy and cumbersome or that will get in the way.
It’s important to have a watch that will look good as well as having great features, especially if you’re going to be wearing it frequently. Choose a watch that you love the design of, so you’ll be happy wearing it for years to come.
The Wrap Up
So there you have our buying guide for the best fishing watches around. Whether you’re into trout or bass fishing, on the river or lake, it’s amazing how much this one little gadget can impact your fishing trips!
A good fishing watch doesn’t just allow you to keep track of time: it can help you navigate, find the best spots, keep track of your fitness, and more.
If you’re not sure where to start looking, check out our reviews first. These tried-and-tested models are waterproof, durable, and have the top features any angler could need from a fishing watch.
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