How to Make the Most of Your Rod Holders and Racks

How to Guides

Rod holders can be fitted almost anywhere on a boat. But with such versatility, how can you determine which spots will make your fishing adventures the easiest and most efficient? Weld-on, bolt-on, adjustable, fixed, rail-mount, wall-mount – what it comes down to is personal preference and a healthy dose of experimentation.

Rod holders for bait fishing

When bait fishing at anchor I will typically have multiple rods; NSW permits the simultaneous use of four per person while in saltwater, and two in freshwater. To some this may seem a lot, but having a few different options enables me to run and test different types of outfits, which in turn increases the odds of reeling in a fish.

For example, I was out with my son-in-law chasing trevally and bream while at anchor, only to see a school of tailor and kingfish start attacking a bait school within casting distance. Rather than reel in and re-cast the lines that we already had set out with bait, we both picked up pre-rigged outfits which were stored in the Horizontal Mount Fishing Rod Racks above the rod locker

Both rods sporting small metal lures, we cast into the feeding school and after a few quick turns of the reel we were both hooked up.

While multiple rod holders enable the storage of back-up or emergency outfits, it also allows for a greater level of experimentation when you’re out on the water. If I’m targeting bream and trevally while anchored, I will typically have four different rods rigged with four different baits. Even though I have a reasonable idea of which sort of bait to use, having the four options out and ready will help me to establish which bait has the greatest strike rate on that particular day.

Rod holders for trolling

When trolling for salmon, kingfish, tailor, bonito, tuna or queenfish I usually troll with three outfits – all of which will be quite different to the ones I use when bait fishing; simply for the fact that I don’t need to cast with them. 

However, rod holder placement, running depth of the lures and the distance back from the stern is particularly important when trolling. Having three outfits will give you a variety of positions at which to set the lures, while also helping to avoid tangled lines.

On each side of the boat I will place an outfit with hard-bodied lures into a Weld-On 30° Angled Cast Aluminium Head Rod Holder. These lures will run at different depths to avoid tangles when turning the boat about (lure depth at maybe 2 and 4-metres). They will also be set at different distances from the stern of the boat (4 and 5-metres).

The middle one will have a skirted lure and will be set back about 5m further than the others, running on the surface of the water. This allows me to turn in a slow circle while the lures either pass under or over each other. It also offers a much better spread of lures to troll in clean water wide of the propeller wash.

On the other hand, you could shorten up the centre lure so that it is positioned where the propeller wash comes up to the surface. The bubbles and noise of the motor has a tendency to attract fish.

Many anglers who troll will attach a snap-on lanyard linking their fishing outfit to their boat so that, in the excitement of a catch, the rod won’t be lost if it goes overboard.

Whether on your boat or at home, horizontal rod holders will have your outfits ready and out of the way.

Trial and error

It would be fair to assume that the overriding majority of boats purchased these days come with a rod holder configuration already installed. But are they really where you want (or need) them?

When I bought my boat a few years back it came with Weld-On 30° Angled Cast Aluminium Head Rod Holders and two more at the stern of the boat. In order to work out whether I needed any more, I took it out a few times and played around while bait fishing, trolling and casting lures. Any gaps in your set-up will quickly become apparent, and you’ll know soon enough whether you need to move any, add some more or even take a few away.

Since then, I’ve installed two more Side Mount Aluminium Rod Holder in front of the motor for trolling. I can also use these rod holders to position my drop-in bait board. The one I use is very similar to the Bait Board - Deluxe with 2 Rod Holder.

Whether trolling or bait fishing, I now have a perfect set-up for my style of fishing. I have also installed a rod locker with Fishing Rod Storage Racks where I can store four more outfits when not in use.

Having the rods stored at the rear of the boat and in front of the side console allowed us to freely fish from the front of the boat when chasing fish with lures.

How to store your fishing rods

So, what do you do with your fishing rods once you’ve finished for the day? Hopefully they don’t end up slung to the corner of your shed or garage, as many often do.

Proper storage and disassembly of your rods is just as important as day-to-day care. In my garage I have a number of rods stored on the walls in vertical and horizontal rod racks.

As for the rods with the reels left on, I have them stored horizontally on the ceiling in racks similar to the 5 Rod Rack Horizontal Mount. The only difference is that mine are held in by a plastic ‘C’ shaped clip that when turned around will lock them into place.

I’m a firm believer that rod holders are an undervalued asset among both commercial and recreational anglers. They can save you space, rigging time, damage and money. With a bit of planning and experimentation, you can easily build the ultimate fishing set-up that will see a real improvement in your fishing adventures.

Don’t forget to check out the big selection of rod holders and bait boards online at Boat Accessories Australia.

About Gary Brown

Gary has always loved being outdoors. Whether fishing or boating, each day poses a new and welcome challenge - the greatest of which, he finds, is the primal battle between man and fish.

With a career spanning over 40 years, Gary is a regular writer and photographer for a host of established magazines, websites and publishers. Having taught and held demonstrations at tackle stores and fishing clubs around the country, he's always keen to help others get the very best out of their fishing trips so that they too can experience the same enjoyment and passion that he has come to love.

You can follow Gary on Instagram here.

Category: Fishing, How to Guides

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