Choosing rod holders and adding them to the kayak is the first step in personalizing your ride. Before heading to the paddle shop, consider where and how you fish. For trolling, flush mount rod holders are strongest.
To fish in rivers and ponds with overhanging trees, look for horizontal rod holders. Vertical holders are best for carrying multiple rods. To keep the rods away from the water and in reach, attach an adjustable rod holder to a gear track or deck mount.
Rod holders behind the seat are mostly for transportation. Place holders ahead of the seat for fishing. Here are four options for kayak rod holders.
Adjustable rod holders
For the ultimate in utility, adjustable, elevated rod holders can be configured for the perfect placement and function. Mount the rod holder base directly to the kayak hull for the strongest connection. Attach the rod holder to a gear track for infinite adjustability.
Adjustable rod holders come in a variety of sizes and configurations. Long, short, angled, straight, heavy duty, light weight—there’s an adjustable rod holder for every need.
Pros Adjustable length and angle. Fixed or track mounting. Elevates rods away from the water.
Cons Weaker connection. Can impede casting, paddling or entering the kayak.
Flush mount rod holders
Flush mount rod holders provide the strongest connection. Since the rod holder is below the deck, it stays out of the way. On the down side, flush mounts require drilling a two-inch hole in the deck. And, they can’t be adjusted or removed. Flush mounts are best for trolling or bait fishing, especially when you’re expecting a big bite.
Pros Low profile. Stronger connection.
Cons Requires cutting a hole in the kayak. Permanent installation.
Vertical rod holders
Vertical rod holders are mostly used for carrying rods to the fishing grounds. Attach rod tubes to fishing crates or angle-adjustable rod holders out of paddling and casting range. Four to six vertical rod holders behind the seat keep rods organized and out of the way. Add rod leashes or bungees to secure the rods in the kayak.
Pros Best for transporting rods to the fishing grounds. Keeps rods out of the path of casts and paddle strokes.
Cons Not angled or adjustable.
Horizontal rod holders
To keep rods out of overhangs, angle an adjustable rod holder parallel with the deck or use bungees and clips to secure rods on the deck. To keep lines and lures from tangling, limit the number of fishing rods.
Pros Keeps rod tips out of overhangs and trees. Easy to install. Requires open deck.
Cons Takes up space. Lines and lures tangle.
Notes on the placement of rod holders
- Keep out of way of paddling and casting.
- Do not impede entry, especially after a wet exit.
- Measure twice, drill once.
Tips for installing rod holders
- Install a backing plate to provide additional support.
- If you can reach the inside of the hull, use stainless steel bolts and lock nuts.
- If you can’t reach the inside of the hull, use pop rivets. Self-tapping screws are less secure than rivets, but easier to install and remove.
- Close the bottom of a flush mount rod holder with a rubber bearing cap for a trailer hub.
- Fold adjustable rod holders flat for transport.
- Seal all holes with marine adhesive.
- Trace the base on paper or cardboard and cut out a template.