What to Look for in a Rod Holder

Updated on November 22, 2022 by
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A high-quality rod holder can be the difference between landing a trophy fish and watching your rod sink into the ocean. There are dozens of different styles available depending on how you mount it and how the rod is secured. You need to understand your own requirements when selecting the correct model. You will also likely need different rod holders if you are fishing from a boat or want a portable option for surf fishing.

We have also put together a brief guide to help you make your selection and some of the key factors that need to be considered. There are also some great guides on the internet to give you some more detailed information.

Stand Height

The height of the stand is important. For a beach rod holder, you have to put 1-2 feet or more into the soft stand to be stable enough so your surf rod doesn’t get pulled into the waves when that big fish strikes. Keep in mind the height that you want the reel to be located.

This is important for a boat or kayak as well – high-quality rod holders often have extension accessories available so that you can get your reel position into exactly the right spot. Don’t settle on second best.

7 Different Types of Fish Finders
7 Different Types of Fish Finders

Mounting Brackets

The mounting bracket needs to suit your boat, kayak, dock, tree branch, or whatever. Some rod holders have multiple mounting brackets available so that you can get it installed first time.

Don’t get the cheapest option if it will involve multiple trips to the hardware store to force it to fit.

There are a number of common mounting designs that you should become familiar with:

  • Clamp On – this is a versatile design with a spring-loaded style so you can move your rod holder from boat to kayak or even from one side of your boat to the other.
  • Threaded – this design is more secure than a clamp and is better suited for game fishing but is less versatile.
  • Rail Mounted – this is a combination of the two above, where the rod holder can be easily moved along its rail, but it cannot be used anywhere a rail is not present.
  • Flush Mount – hit is a permanently installed design that sits flush with your boat and is secured with bolts or welded.
  • Bank Fishing – generally bank fishing either sits on the ground under its own balance or penetrates into the ground itself.

Each of these designs has their own strengths and weaknesses and you should pick depending on your own personal requirements. You can also get rod holders attached to a fishing cart.

Fishing Rod Holders

Rod Diameter

Most rod holders are designed to hold a wide range of fishing rods, which means that they can be much too large if you use smaller rods. Boat rod holders, in particular, are often designed for big game fishing rods. Check the diameter of your rods and the opening of the rod holders and make sure your rod won’t fall out when a fish strikes.

On the other side, check that your big game fishing rod will fit into a small rod holder. If you have a wide range of rod sizes then you might have to install several different rod holders.

Number of Rods

Most rod holders fit a single rod, and if you want to keep additional rods then you need to purchase additional rod holders. However there are some styles (either bank fishing or game fishing) that will put a series of rocket launder designs in a row so you can put multiple rods out at a time.

Rod holder number of rods


The construction material plays a big role in the durability, corrosion resistance, and weight of the holder. The last thing you want to do for a lightweight kayak is to clamp two big heavy steel rod holders to the size.

For corrosion resistance materials, aluminum, stainless steel, or plastic are the best options. Of course, the aluminum and stainless steel are much heavier than plastic but will last a lot longer. The plastic rod holders risk breaking if you apply too much pressure.

If you are chasing large saltwater species, then I would certainly recommend avoiding plastic rod holders. Especially if they will be spending a lot of time in the sun – UV rays can often degrade the integrity of the plastic.


You want to be spending your budget on rods and reels. Accessories like rod holders shouldn’t blow the bank. Keep an eye on the price range. Of course, once you have outfitted your kayak or boat you don’t want to be replacing cheap rod holders regularly.

While selecting a rod holder might not seem like a big deal, it is an important decision so you don’t waste your hard-earned money on replacements. You want to get a durable rod holder so you can put more money to work on your rod and reel combos.

Photo of author

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.