I’ve now been using the Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart for a full season of guiding and personal surf fishing sessions - and here’s my honest review of this popular two-wheeled fishing cart with balloon tires.
By the way, I paid full retail price for the cart and accessories - this is not a paid-for or PR-led review!
Also in this Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart review, I’ll talk about the blue liner accessory and Fish N Mate Bicycle Hitch (Bicycle Caddy), the latter a recent addition to the beach cart setup.
Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart Review Index
Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart Overview
After testing the larger Four Wheel Beach Cart for Western Outdoor News for a few months last season, I knew that a more compact two-wheeled cart was a more usable and practical option for regular use in my guiding business and personal fishing.
So, early in the 2023 season, the single-axle Fish N Mate Senior Beach with balloon tires was ordered after carefully considering all similar products.
After some basic assembly involving clamping the axle to the body and mounting the bright orange balloon wheels, it was ready to go. This preparation took less than 20 minutes and required no special tools or skills. The aluminum components all fitted together well and nothing was missing or broken.
The first thing you notice when the cart is rolling is how easy it is to pull or push under load. The reduced rolling resistance from the two balloon wheels compared to four is noticeable, despite the basic chassis being the same. It’s remarkably effortless. If you get the load balanced just right over the axle, it can be pulled with one hand over smooth or hard sand even when loaded with a cooler, chairs, rods and tackle. Choppier walked-on sand requires a bit more effort to cut through, but out of all the different styles of beach caddies and carts we’ve tried and owned, this size and format is the easiest to use in the widest range of terrain. The puncture-proof tires - rated to 5mph - are tough enough to handle any sharp objects, and the 100% aluminum construction means it won’t rust or corrode. After a season of hard use, and with only basic washing with a freshwater hose shower, it’s showing little signs of wear or tear, aside from a few scuffs, and all the welds are still rock solid.
Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart Overview - Pros
Rod holders - The eight rod holder tubes - aka rocket launchers - are regularly all occupied. Having this number of rods with me on guided sessions or tournaments means I can have a wide variety of setups and spares to cover any eventuality. It’s great for fishing with families when a wide range of combos are needed to cover all the bases. The rubberized lip to the rod holders is a nice touch, too.
Liner essential - We also spec'd the cart with the recommended blue liner, which has been great for making sure no small items get lost. I can throw beach trash in the bottom and clean it out later, and store smaller objects like gloves that would otherwise fall through the gaps in the frame.
Tower handy - the Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart comes with a tower that holds a bait basket and cutting board to waist level. This is a brilliant idea with the basket ideal for holding sand crabs (sand fleas) or small items like pliers, whilst the chopping board is the perfect platform for cutting up bait. It also has handy holes on the side of the board to clip on de-hookers, knives etc. The tower sits in one of the rod tubes and is removable.
The only issue we can identify is that, whilst the balloon tires are great for pulling on sand or tarmac, they’re prone to flats-spotting or becoming misshapen if not cared for, according to prior experience with this style of wheel and other beach cart user anecdotes. By keeping our cart upright stored on its end so there’s no pressure on the tires, we’ve kept the tires in good shape, but this is something to be aware of.
Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart - Best Real-World Uses
Living a few blocks from the beach, the Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart has been a regular mule for fishing and family beach trips, involving walking straight out the front door and pushing the cart to the beach, fully-loaded.
The round trip is about a mile and I don’t ever feel like it’s tiresome to push the cart this far over mixed terrain, including tarmac, curbs and sand.
It’s also been an MVP on guided group and family trips when a lot of equipment is needed. Chairs, big cooler filled with ice, tackle backpack, a full complement of eight rods, baits and sinkers weigh a lot, but this cart takes it all in the place of three or four people carrying gear, or avoids multiple trips back to the car. Just load the cart up from the trunk of the car and go.
Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart Bicycle Hitch Review
After man-hauling the cart for most of the season, I installed the Bicycle Hitch bracket on a spare beach cruiser bike and soon had it attached to the hitch arm. The arm comes with a multi-directional connection to the bracket so the bicycle can move and twist independently to the cart without anything getting broken.
As with the cart, the hitch is made entirely of aluminum and is well constructed and durable.
With the hitch installed, and even with a basic single-speed cruiser bicycle, the cart rode well with no discernible wobble or crabbing-type issues. We even summited a mild hill carrying a pile of beach chairs.
The next evolution of this setup will see the cart and hitch arm attached to an electric bike, being careful to stay within the 5mph speed limit on the tires, of course!
Overall, the Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart Bicycle Hitch was super easy to set up and install, requiring about ten minutes and a couple of simple bicycle tools. One part clamps onto the bike seat stem, with the arm clipping into place over the rear wheel.
You can leave the clamp on the seat stem in situ and use the back as usual. The arm goes into the same slot as the T-shaped pulling arm.
Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart Blue Liner Review
The Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart’s Blue Liner feels like an essential part of the cart and I recommend buying it with the cart for maximum usability. Without it, I can see a lot of items falling through the chassis frame.
My advice is to buy the liner with the cart - I can't imagine using one without the other.
Further Thoughts on the Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart
The Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart chassis fits nicely in the back of a mid-size SUV, hatchback, truck or wagon, which is a top requirement for myself and many others.
It offers a great platform for some serious multi-rod surf or pier fishing, or a family day on the beach. We’re regularly taking enough chairs, food and equipment for four, five and six adults to the beach using this cart.
I’ve also used this cart for tournament fishing extensively. I can carry seven rods with the bait basket tower in place and cooler in the main load area - this allows me to carry spare combos and many different set ups.
I use the cooler, sat in the cart, with a fish measure (ruler) taped to the lid as an easy base to photograph and record catches. The whole setup can be quickly moved down the beach without breaking down rods and carrying a cooler by hand. Adding this efficiency and versatility to my tournament fishing has been a real help.
The overall construction is impressively tough and, despite it being hauled over all sorts of rough ground and rocky beaches, the frame barely has a few scratches and nicks to show for a season’s use. I expect to be fishing with this cart for many seasons to come.
Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart Review - The Verdict
Having tried a few different beach carts and caddies over the years, the Fish N Mate Senior Beach Cart is the best beach cart you can get right now without paying significantly more (think four figures) or going the custom route.
For a fishing and outdoor family beach cart, it’s the perfect blend of price, size, portability and carrying capacity. A solid five stars from me with a strong recommendation for anyone looking to buy a great sub-$500 beach cart with balloon tires for fishing or any sort of beach activity.