Aloha! If you’re on the hunt for the best fishing watches, you’ve come to the right place!
Fishing watches have to be able to stand up to constant saltwater soaking and rough knocks against the side of boats. More importantly, whether on the brightest days or the blackest nights, the display should still be clear. Water resistance, a long battery life, and a wide range of useful displays are a must too. Taking all these into account, and combining my 20 years of fishing experience with four days of my team’s research, these are the five best fishing watches on the market.
In case you’re pressed for time, our overall best fishing watch is the Casio Pro Trek PRW3500T. Not only is it durable, but it also resists water to 660 feet, has a battery life of 7 months, and contains all the essential features for fishing.
Having said that, not everyone is going to like the price of the Casio Pro Trek. We totally understand, which is why there are four other watches for you to choose from.
Let’s get started.
The 5 Best Fishing Watches
Before we begin, there are a couple of things to take note of.
The battery life we’ve listed for each watch is measured with the watch running at full capacity. This means all functions like the GPS are turned on.
For watches with rechargeable batteries, we exposed them to sunlight in the day and left them in complete darkness at night.
We didn’t include basic features like the countdown timer.
Finally, all the watches on this list are water-resistant except the Garmin Fenix 5, which is waterproof.
With that out of the way, let’s jump right into it!
- Water Resistance Depth: 660 ft
- Battery Life: 7 Months
- Indicators: Digital Compass, Sunrise & Sunset Times, Barometer, Altimeter, Thermometer, Battery Level
Kicking things off is our best overall pick – the Casio Pro Trek PTW3500T. It’s tough, visible in any light condition, able to resist extremely deep waters, long-lived with 7 months of runtime, and comes with a variety of useful data displays for fishing. Few, if any watches out there offer what this one does at this price.
Featuring a titanium strap, mineral glass, and a stainless steel bezel, this fishing watch is remarkably rugged. Titanium provides superior corrosion resistance. It’s also as strong as steel but 45% lighter, and twice as strong as aluminum while being only 60% heavier. The mineral glass is heat-hardened, and thus much harder than normal glass. The stainless steel bezel resists corrosion well and doesn’t break easily. Combining these three, the result is an exceptionally tough fishing watch. You can drop it or bump it against your boat and it still won’t sustain even a scratch.
Next, with its LED backlight, I found this watch face to have excellent visibility in both day and night. I like that the LED backlight illuminates evenly across the face. You can also set the afterglow to last 1 or 3 seconds.
Moving on to water resistance, I doubt you’ll be fishing at a depth of 700 ft, so 660 ft should be enough. 7 months of operation is also more than satisfactory, especially given that this watch isn’t too pricey.
Now for the most important part – the indicators. I shan’t list them all out since you can see for yourself above. This watch contains most of the crucial data you’ll need for fishing. It is lacking a GPS system and moon data, but GPS isn’t a necessity and you can always Google moon phase data. The only function that is compromised is the thermometer. The watch warms to your body so you’ll need to take it off for about 5 minutes for accurate readings. The other functions are spot on, although some calibration is required for the digital compass, altimeter, and sunrise and sunset times.
As if that wasn’t enough though, this watch also has a cool atomic timekeeping feature and is solar powered. Atomic watches are consistently calibrated by receiving radio signals from radio clocks. This makes them the most accurate watches available.
I was also impressed with the auto-calendar. The auto-calendar will show the right dates up till 2099, much longer than your average watch.
All in all, the Casio Pro Trek is a top-notch fishing watch that provides everything you need for fishing, and then some. The alarm is admittedly quite soft, and more often than not, you won’t hear it. Other than that though, I couldn’t find anything to criticise about this watch. And notwithstanding that, it’s still very much a first-rate fishing watch that fulfills all your angling needs.
P.S. Remember to register the watch online with Casio for one more year of warranty.
- Water Resistance Depth: 330 ft
- Battery Life: 14 days
- Indicators: GPS, Digital Compass, Sunrise & Sunset Times, Moon Phase, Barometer, Altimeter, Thermometer, Speed, Distance, Steps, Calories Burned
Up next, the Suunto Traverse Alpha is the absolute sturdiest and most full-featured fishing watch in the world.
Here’s what makes it so unbreakable.
For starters, the stainless steel bezel and textile fabric strap are well-known durable materials. But what really places this fishing watch at the pinnacle of fishing watches is its sapphire crystal glass.
Sapphire crystal glass is the most expensive of all watch crystals. On the Mohs’ scale, a scale of hardness used for classifying materials, sapphire is rated 9 – just behind diamond.
Needless to say, this watch is virtually indestructible. You can throw it down a cliff or even jump on it if you’d like. You couldn’t make a dent even if you tried.
For clarity, with the red backlight, you’ll be able to see clearly both at night and in daytime. In particular, this watch allows you to view its display with night vision, thanks to the red light.
This watch is also water-resistant to 330 ft, so you can even take it snorkelling if you’d like.
As for the indicators, as a glance at its features would tell you, this watch is unmatched. On top of all the data you could ever need for fishing, this watch offers data on speed, distance, steps, and calories burned. Finding a watch with every single indicator for fishing present is already no mean feat. Now imagine how hard it is to find one that also has data for sports and working out. You can even toggle between hiking, hunting, and fishing mode, making it perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
The best part of this phenomenal fishing watch is that every function works. Even the advanced breadcrumb navigation works with impeccable precision. For every four kilometres, the system is off by only a few metres.
That said, there is a caveat. With the wealth of data that this watch displays, it needs lots of power to run. As such, the battery life is a mere 14 days assuming the watch runs at full capacity all the way.
Even so, it’s a small issue and still a decent battery life. It’s definitely not a deal-breaker. This fishing watch is still unbeatable in durability and range of data and excels in all other areas. If you’re looking for the best of the best and have the money to spare, look no further.
Best For Active Anglers
- Waterproofing Depth: 330 ft
- Battery Life: 1 Day
- Indicators: GPS, Digital Compass, Barometer, Altimeter, Heart Rate, Speed, Distance, Steps, Calories Burned, Sleep Time
Next on the list is the Garmin Fenix 5. Designed for active anglers, this watch displays all the data you’d expect from a sports watch – along with fishing data.
For durability, you’ve got a stainless steel bezel, silicon strap, and mineral glass. These are all robust materials, so you can expect a long lifespan for your Garmin Fenix 5.
For visibility, the transflective technology reflects and transmits light at the same time. This makes the watch face even more readable under intense sunlight. At night, the LED backlighting helps you see what’s on the screen.
What’s more, this sports watch resists water to 330 ft and can run a whole day at full blast. Under normal usage, you’ll get 14 days of runtime out of it.
For the display, you’ve got a variety of fishing and fitness data, something that you won’t see on most fishing watches. Only sport fishing watches ever have such a wide range of data. But despite being created with fitness and fishing in mind, the Garmin Fenix 5 still lacks certain features that the Traverse Alpha has.
This should come as no surprise though, with the huge difference in price. Also, note that the thermometer has the same problem as the Casio Pro Trek and the altimeter has to be calibrated quite often.
In short, the Garmin Fenix 5 is a great sports watch for those who fish. Granted, it does show less data than the Traverse Alpha and is a lot less sturdy, but it’s also less than half its price. Anglers looking for a fishing watch to wear on their workouts, this is the fishing watch for you.
- Water Resistance Depth: 660 ft
- Battery Life: 2 Years
- Indicators: Tide Graph, Moon Phase
Cheap but functional, the Casio G7900-1 G-Shock is the best wallet-friendly fishing watch out there.
Toughness-wise, you’ve got mineral glass and a resin strap and bezel. The resin strap may not sound like much, but Casio’s resin bands are the best in the business. Some of my G-Shock watches have been with me for five years and their bands are still in perfect condition with no wear and tear at all. The shock-resistant construction probably helped too. For those wondering, shock-resistant just means a watch withstands bumps better.
Visibility-wise, this watch is armed with an Auto EL (electroluminescent) backlight. This means that the light turns on automatically whenever you tilt your wrist and bring the watch into viewing position.
As for the other aspects, I shan’t elaborate anymore since they’re all listed above.
It’s worth noting that I was impressed by this watch’s water resistance. I often bathe with it and it’s never let a single drop of water in. I was also dubious about the rubber “wings” at first, but they actually make the watch really comfortable to wear.
For less than 70 bucks, you’re getting some serious toughness, an automatic backlight, and tide and moon data. I’d say it’s a pretty good deal. For those on a budget, this might just be the fishing watch you’re looking for.
Best G7900-1 G-Shock Alternative
- Water Resistance Depth: 660 ft
- Battery Life: 2 Years
- Indicators: Moon Phase, Barometer, Altimeter, Thermometer
Finishing things off is the Casio AQW101-1AV. This is in essence, a cheaper but lower-quality G7900-1 G-Shock.
Both watches have resin straps and mineral glass. They differ in the bezel as this watch uses a stainless steel one, but it won’t make much of a difference.
This watch is also armed with an EL backlight, but it isn’t automatic.
Everything else is the same, from the water resistance to the battery life.
Here’s where they start to differ. The Casio G-Shock has a tide graph that this watch doesn’t. This watch however, has a barometer, altimeter, and thermometer.
Once again though, the thermometer isn’t insulated against body heat and so isn’t accurate. I was also put off by how the day and date are blocked when any of the watch hands are at the 9 o’ clock position. The compass markings are also purely for show and don’t do anything.
All things considered, both Casio watches have some displays that the other doesn’t. We ranked the G7900-1 G-Shock higher because it’s more reliable, convenient, and comfortable. However, if you still found the Casio G-Shock too costly, this Casio watch is a great alternative.
Buyer’s Guide For Getting The Best Fishing Watch
For those who want to dive deeper into what makes a good fishing watch, here are all the factors that you’ll need to consider.
From being slammed into the side of your boat to being soaked in saltwater, your fishing watch will be subjected to plenty of abuse, so it’s imperative that it can take a beating.
For the glass, the best material out there is sapphire crystal glass. However, as it is rather pricey, most anglers will opt for mineral glass. Mineral glass is of course less rugged, but it’s also much more affordable and still able to stand up to the rigours of fishing for the most part.
For the strap or band, there are too many durable materials for me to list them all. As you may have noticed from this list, almost every watch has a different material. I suggest doing a Google search for any materials that you’re not familiar with. Otherwise, for most of the materials like titanium and silicon, it’s usually quite obvious whether or not they’ll be long-lasting.
For the bezel, most watches for fishing use stainless steel, which is enough to get the job done. Resin is a slightly less durable but still acceptable material.
As mentioned above, your watch is likely to be soaked in saltwater or at least freshwater frequently. As such, it goes without saying that you’ll want water-resistant watches.
Some brands take it up a notch and waterproof their watches. But your watch probably won’t be underwater for any more than a minute at a time, so you shouldn’t need waterproofing.
The only exception is if you intend to take your watch diving or for underwater sports on top of fishing. In that case, you’ll want to get sport fishing watches, and waterproofing will be a necessity.
Easy To Clean Materials
Unlike normal watches, fishing watch straps will be constantly exposed to water and salt. You definitely don’t want something like leather or nylon. They look good on normal watches, but aren’t practical for fishing.
Instead, look out for materials like rubber, silicone, resin, and metal. These are easy to clean and won’t soak up water like leather and nylon.
In the day, your watch will inevitably reflect sunlight. This makes seeing the display much harder. Though not a must, transflective technology makes seeing in bright sunlight a ton easier.
At night, you’ll need some kind of illumination to see what’s on your watch. This is a no-brainer, so any fishing watch will have that down. What sets the top fishing watches apart is automatic capabilities. Once again, though not essential, an automatic light that turns on when you tilt your wrist is great to have.
Tidal Charts And Moon Phase Indicators
Anyone who fishes in water with tides will know their impact on fish.
A tide graph or chart lets you know the tide levels at each time of the day. The same goes for a moon phase calendar that provides information on the moon’s phases, which in turn affects the tides.
Knowing all these will help you decide on the lures to use and timings to fish by knowing the behaviour of your target fish at different times of the day.
A barometer measures barometric pressure, aka atmospheric pressure. This matters because atmospheric pressure is an indicator of weather.
Low pressure usually signals stormy weather while high pressure is a sign of clear blue skies.
As with tidal levels, you can use weather predictions to find the best times to fish and the right lures to use.
Your phone already has a GPS, and if you have a fish finder, it might have one too. So you might be wondering why your fishing watch needs a GPS function.
The answer is simple.
Would you rather lift up your wrist to find your way or hold up your phone?
For the majority of anglers, the answer would be the former. Fishing watches also have longer battery lives.
Higher-end fishing watches like the Suunto Traverse Alpha also offer breadcrumb navigation. This basically means they keep track of the route you’ve travelled and help you find your way back when you get lost.
Same as the GPS, it’s way more convenient to lift your wrist to find your way than with your phone.
The compass systems on fishing watches also tend to be more accurate than phones’.
I’d say pretty much every fishing watch out there can last at least a day. Those with shorter battery lives of only a couple weeks or even days will require frequent charging. If that’s something you’d rather not have to deal with, then go for a watch with a much longer battery life.
Do note though that the more features your watch has, the faster its battery will be used. It’s practically impossible to find long battery lives with watches like the Suunto Traverse Alpha that have a myriad of features.
There are many things to look out for when choosing a watch to accompany you on your fishing trips. Lucky for you, we’ve done the brainwork and compiled the best fishing watches for you here.
If you’re still on the fence about which one to go for though, here’s my recommendation. If you have lots of money, get the Suunto Traverse Alpha. Otherwise, the Casio Pro Trek PRW3500T offers the best balance of quality and price.
I’m assuming you already have fishing gear since you’re looking to buy a fishing watch. In the event that you need any fishing gear at all though, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive fishing gear guides.