Rod holders are essential for kayak fishing. Although most fishing kayaks are factory equipped with rod holders, many recreational kayaks lack them. Even fishing kayaks sometimes benefit from the addition of extra rod holders. In either case, aftermarket rod holders are available in a variety of configurations.
When choosing rod holders for kayaks, anglers must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each model. Also important when selecting rod holders is knowing what type of fishing will be done. Depending on angler preference, fishing techniques, and other factors, rod holders may be used simply for storing rods while underway, or used while drifting, trolling, or casting.
Some applications require adjustable mounts while other situations may require only simple fixed mount rod holders. Other key factors for kayak rod holders are weight and modularity. Due to the nature of kayaking, complex or heavy mounting systems are not practical for most applications.
Types of Kayak Rod Holders
Kayak crates are a common type of add-on rod holder. They are modular by design and offer considerable versatility at a reasonable cost. Kayak crates are available pre-rigged or can be assembled from components. Most kayak crates consist of a crate, rod-tool rack, and attachment system. Some anglers choose to equip their crate with a special cover. The cover fits over the plastic frame and usually includes some means of attaching rod holders or an opening for crate-mounted rod holders to fit through. Crate covers typically have storage compartments and other features built-in. Similar to basic kayak crates, these units are modular and suitable for a wide range of applications.
Recessed rod holders are permanently mounted in the hull of a kayak. They protrude very little on the exterior, which makes them less prone to obstructing. This is by far the most popular option for fishing kayaks. Most recessed rod holders have a hollow base and allow the intrusion of water into the cockpit. Some models offer caps which seal them when not in use. Recessed rod holders may also be fitted with drain tubes to collect water and direct it elsewhere. Recessed rod holders are typically mounted so that they face rearward at an angle. Recessed rod holders are inexpensive and easy to install.
Adjustable rod holders are another option for fishing kayaks. Most adjustable rod holders mount on a vertical or horizontal surface and have mechanisms that allow their position to be adjusted. Adjustable rod holders provide the greatest amount of flexibility for fishing. Because they add precious weight and take up valuable space, they may not be suitable for general use kayaks.
For serious anglers, multiple rod holders are sometimes warranted. These usually consist of a bar or other device which accepts 2 or more adjustable rod holders. These high end setups are useful for fishing situations were multiple rods are fished at once.
Custom rod holder mounts are the ultimate in fishing kayak accessories. Custom mounts usually combine several rod holders in a single unit. Each unit is designed to suit the specific needs of an angler and is usually permanently mounted to a full blown fishing kayak.
For some anglers, a less expensive custom mount can be achieved by mounting adjustable rod holders to a portable base. These special mounts can be strapped in place when required for a fishing trip and easily removed after use.
For rod storage while underway, horizontal rod mounts may be an option. These units consist of a ring at the butt end and a hook shaped mount forward. Some units have a small bungee which is used to secure the rod in place. These mounts allow rods to be stowed along each gunwale so they are accessible in an instant.