Inside Elite Boats: Josh Douglas

As the season shifted to the Northern Swing, a lot of eyes turned to Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Josh Douglas to make a move up the AOY standings. In his rookie season, Douglas has relied on a Phoenix 21 PHX powered by a 250 horsepower Mercury outboard.
The bow of the boat is home to a Lowrance Ghost Trolling Motor.
Like many other Elites, Douglas’ trolling motor is covered with Lowrance transducers.
Douglas’ Ghost trolling motor is home to two Lowrance ActiveTarget transducers that are pointed in two different directions. This allows him to have a view of what is directly in front of him as well as directly behind the boat.
Three Lowrance HDS 12 Live Units are mounted at the bow of the boat. Two of the units are dedicated to ActiveTarget, with the third unit being utilized for 2D sonar and mapping.
Even with three graphs at the bow, it’s still a clean look with plenty of space.
An overhead view of the layout of Douglas’ Phoenix 21 PHX.
This tour was prior to the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River, so Douglas was able to condense his tackle selection compared to other events on the schedule.
The rod locker is loaded down with G. Loomis Rods and Shimano Reels.
Douglas tends to carry 15 to 20 rods during tournament days, but he takes the tube slots out of the rod locker to make room for even more rods. The Minnesota pro travels a lot, so it’s nice to be able to fit many rods in the boat while traveling.
Since Douglas spends a lot of time on Lake Mille Lacs and other big bodies of water, he tries to keep the deck of the boat as light as possible. The main compartment is filled mostly with terminal tackle and hard baits while the back is filled with heavy soft plastics.
One of the first things Douglas mentioned was how much he hates rust, and to help eliminate it, he keeps as much of his tackle in the packaging as possible.
Each pack of Owner Hooks is placed into a deep 3700 box, still in the original packaging.
One of the boxes that Douglas is most proud of is a box full of Outkast Tackle Perfect Ned Heads – a bait that he helped design.
“When the Ned rig started getting popular, we wanted to be able to power fish with a heavier size,” he said. “The key to this bait is that when it falls, the plastic comes back into their face. With other heads on the market, the heavier size will tend to make the bait lay flat on the bottom, but this head design will keep the bait standing upright.”
Another head that Douglas is partial to is the Outkast Tackle Goldeneye Swimbait jighead – another bait that he helped design.
He keeps a variety of different colors and sizes in the boat at all times.
As mentioned previously, Douglas hates rust. He hates it so much that he keeps a smaller 3600 size box handy to store the hooks and tackle that he has used recently. This avoids having to put the wet tackle back in the same packaging as the new tackle.
Douglas makes a modification to his Bass Mafia Blade Coffin, and he uses it to store bulk spools of line for easy access on the water.
The starboard side locker is home to Douglas’ Simms rain gear.
Along with the rain gear, Douglas also stores his Lowrance ActiveTarget box and Aqua-Vu underwater camera.
An Angler Aid box is also at the ready in the driver’s side locker.
This side locker has more than enough room for multiple items.
The day box is filled with baits and scent for easy access during the day.
The day box is also removable, so Douglas stores his scale as well as some other light tackle in the compartment.
Douglas tends to keep a healthy amount of water and snacks in the boat. At the time, Douglas had a few Mountain Dews in the boat, but not to drink. The Mountain Dews were for fish care purposes.
The two smaller boxes are home to a few miscellaneous items.
Amongst the items is a good luck charm. Douglas found the old cankbait washed up on the shores of Lake Norman, and he put it in the boat before eventually qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series during that event. Since then, he has kept the bait in his boat for good fortune.
The co-angler rod locker is where Douglas stores spare lifejackets.
The console between the seats is home to a variety of items, but one of Douglas’ top items is T-H Marine G Juice livewell treatment.
He also keeps a bottle of Wave Away handy to clean his graph screens.
Douglas also keeps a stock of fizz needles when fishing for northern smallmouth.
At the console, Douglas runs two Lowrance HDS 12 Live units mounted on a BoatLogix dual mount. One unit is used for mapping, and the other is running down scan or side scan.
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Douglas also has a mount that keeps his phone to the side of the driver’s console.
Carl Jocumsen’s Fear My Heart sticker as well as a Brandon Palaniuk sticker have a place on the console as Douglas admires what both anglers have done in their career.
A look into the Phoenix 21 PHX livewells.
As he mentioned early on, weight distribution of his Phoenix is extremely important, so the back two compartments are filled with bulk soft plastics that would weigh down the front of the boat.
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Douglas mentioned that he tries to keep mostly finesse plastics in one compartment, and power fishing plastics like craws and creature baits are stored in the other.
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Douglas slides the tackelbox back in place.
The battery well is home to five X2 Lithium batteries. Three for his trolling motor and two batteries are used for cranking/accessories.
A spare prop also has a home in the battery well.
Douglas mentioned that he has been blown away by the reliability and performance of his 250 horsepower, 4-stroke Mercury Pro Xs Outboard.
Two 8-foot Power-Pole Blades are used as shallow water anchors. Douglas mentioned that having Power-Poles is a must for fishing shallow in the South.
A hydraulic T-H Marine Atlas Jack Plate gets the Mercury Outboard to the most efficient position with ease.
Thanks for the tour, Josh!