Rod Holders: Fishing Boat Accessories

rod holders

Rod holders mounted on the T-top are out of the way but handy enough for quick use.

My buddy Ed enters the garage and immediately sees the stack of fishing rods and reels leaning in a corner. “Hey, mind if I borrow a few of those for my RV?” he asks. “I want to doll it up for an upcoming RV show.”

Ed owns one of the more “beach-capable” RVs around and spends lots of time on the outer Cape Cod beaches during the summer. He also likes to show off his ride and instruct others how to customize a sand yacht, but I’m a little surprised he doesn’t have enough rods to fill up the rocket-launcher-type rod holders he has mounted on the front of his RV. Maybe his spares are still on his runabout.

He selects a couple of surf-casting rods and proceeds outside to check the fit. Rod holders are a fishing accessory that most every angler wants on every vehicle they own: truck, RV, and of course boat. There are a few different types:  bolt-ons for railings; the fixed tube flush-mount type that are usually installed in the gunwale of a boat; and the rocket launcher type that are great on a T-top or the front bumper of your truck. When I went looking for rod holders online, Cabelas outdoor outfitters had 149 different models ranging from $10 to a couple of hundred dollars in price. Bass Pro Shops lists over 200 models.

When it comes to rod holders on boats I break them down into two types, either active for fishing or used strictly for stowage. I’ve installed a few flush-mount sets that are active fishing platforms.  The key to installing them is to keep the rod protected. This means angled so the tip of the rod is outboard of the gunwale 3 to-6 inches.  This type of rod holder is great for a boat because it can do double duty. Manufacturers make other accessories designed to mount securely in the holder when the rod is not being used, such as a cutting board for cleaning fish or a grill to cook up that fresh catch.rod holder truck

When installing stowage-only type rod holders on your boat, envision where you want to stow your fishing rods and then test fit them.  Hold up your fishing pole in an intended stowed position on your boat before buying the mounting hardware. This will help you figure out the best mounting options for the space, so you can follow up with the right rod holder for the task.

Rod holders come in every size and shape to fit almost any application you can think of. From kayaks to inflatables, there are plenty of options that don’t require drilling a hole in your boat. Like my buddy Ed, eventually you’ll have all your vehicles outfitted with rod holders. Hopefully, the ones on your boat will see duty beyond show-boating.