Kayaking is one of the most fun activities around, but do you know what’s better? Making your fun profitable! It might not seem so at the outset, but fishing rod holders are one of the best fishing accessories ever to have been invented. Imagine this – you’re out on the lake, enjoying the wind in your hair and guzzling a cold one, all while your fishing rod trolls for a catch. The best hardshell and inflatable kayak fishing rod holders, such as the Lifetime holder, help you fish hands-free while allowing you to rest your arms for a bit. What’s more, they allow you to take a break to grab a bite or a cold one, or maybe even take pictures.
Basically, fishing rod holders minimize and even altogether prevent fidgeting and allow for smooth fishing while you’re out on the water. However, there are a whole lot of choices out there, which can be daunting especially for first-time anglers. So, we’ve conjured a list of the best ones in the market and even drawn up a handy guide to buying them. To that end, here are the 13 best kayak fishing rod holders for hardshell and inflatable kayaks both.
How To Choose The Best Kayak Fishing Rod Holders?
Kayaking is an activity that takes you out on the water, far from the shore sometimes. This is why kayak accessories such as the Best Kayak Drysuits that keep you warm or the Best Kayak Deck Bags that keep your gear dry need to be chosen with such care. The same foes for kayak fishing rod holders, which features are a lot of considerations before you go about buying one, and which are listed below.
Meanwhile, you might also want to check out other accessories that make kayak fishing a breeze and a rewarding experience such as the Best Kayak Fish Finders and the Best Kayak Anchors for staying in one place.
- Deck Mount: This rod holder allows you to mount the rod on a flat section of the kayak.
- Track Mount: One of the most popular mounting mechanisms, this one attaches the rod to the track. It’s versatile and ranges from heavy-duty to light ones.
- Flush Mount: These are what change non-fishing kayaks into fishing kayaks, and back, of course. This kind of rod holder is mounted beneath the surface of sit-on-top kayaks, giving it a clutter-free look.
- Adjustable Mount: Such fishing rod holders have rectangular or round attachment plates that need to be drilled into the kayak.
- Crate-compatible Mount: These are ideal for fishing enthusiasts since they come mounted in a crate. Generally, they come as a single piece with space for three rods.
- Clamp: Finally, if you don’t want any permanent changes to your kayak, then clamp mount rod holders are ideal since they can be mounted anywhere. An inflatable kayak fishing rod holder is generally one with a clamp mount.
A majority of the rod holders you’ll see on the market have the capacity of holding only single rods. Such single rod holders are perfect for anglers who want to adjust them individually and mount as many as they want. That said, some rod holders that mount to crates even come with three rod slots. Thus, if you’re considering going for the kayak crate, then consider multiple rod holders.
While fishing rod holders are usually sold individually, they also come in pairs sometimes. Since on any given day in the water most anglers use more than one rod, there’s no point going for two different rod holders. Rather, go for great-value package deals where rod holders are typically sold together for a price cheaper than their individual prices.
Finally, we come to kayak fishing crates, which are rather amazing since they offer both storage and rod mounting capabilities in one neat little inexpensive package. You can either go for a package deal or you have the option to customize your own crate. A package generally comes with the crate, attachment pieces, multiple rod holders, and additional goodies such as fish removing tools and pliers sometimes.
Where should a kayak rod holder be placed?
A fishing rod holder is supposed to make your life easier, not difficult. So it’s very important to know where exactly you need to place and position the rod holder. For that, you need to sit down in the kayak in a comfortable position, and then make sure you can reach the rod. At the same time, make sure that you don’t hit it with your paddle. Most flush-mounted rod holders, which are usually what most kayak anglers go for, are positioned on the port or starboard side, but behind the paddler. Furthermore, you can make extensions to change the height from the deck and the angle of the rod in order to ease reaching it.
YakAttack Omega Rod Holder
We start this list of best kayak fishing rod holders with the YakAttack Omega Rod Holder, which costs all of $30. The rod holder features not one, but three operational modes, namely the locking, the adjustments, and the removal. Together, these various modes allow anglers to easily stage the rods quickly and lock them for maximum safety. Moreover, all of them are hinged on the 360-degree rotating collar that secures the rod quickly by capturing the reel. Plus, it swivels and adjusts to whichever angle that you want to use it at.
The design of this rod holder also makes it possible for you to dismount it without necessarily having to remove the track-mounted spaces that you loaded so painstakingly. Hence, it allows for smooth storage and portability from the vehicle to the kayak and back. Finally, its swivel pivot setup is easy, helping you quickly push off from the shore.
- Multiple modes.
- Allows sipping reels to stow naturally downward.
- 360-degree rotating collar.
- The LockNLoad track is not included.
YakAttack Omega Pro Kayak Rod Holder
YakAttack deserves a round of applause for making such universal solutions, which is why it’s no surprise that another of the brand’s product makes an appearance on this list. The YakAttack Omega Pro Kayak Rod Holder is perfect for everything from fly rods to spinning and casting rods and large conventional reels. The Omega Pro features a 360-degree rotating collar that allows you to secure the rod quickly by capturing the reel. Also, it allows the spinning reel to be stowed in a downward position naturally, rather than oddly hung on the side. You also get access to three different modes that allow you to stage rods quickly and lock them in as well.
This YakAttack model also features an extension arm that helps get your reel higher off the water as well as accommodate and fit longer rod butts. The rod holder can even be clipped easily to the kayak thanks to the LockNLoad mounting system. What’s more, it doesn’t slip or rotate accidentally either, as the LockNLoad base is attached with a single bolt.
- Universal size.
- Extension arm houses longer butts.
- 360-degree rotating collar.
- Slightly bulky.
Berkley Tube Rod Rack
The rod holders from Berkley are considered some of the simplest best kayak fishing rod holders, and it’s easy to see why. Take the Berkley Tube Rod Rack, for instance, which is available in both white and black colors. It’s the perfect solution for mounting the rod to the side of a kayak crate. Made from heavy-duty plastic, the contraption is easy to install, lightweight, and very robust. What’s more, while the mounting hardware is included in the set, you can even attach it with just simple zip ties.
Since its width is almost the same as the width of the standard kayak crate, it fits snugly like a glove. The tubes are 2 inches in diameter and 9 inches long, making them ideal for any sized rods, as well as flagpoles and nets. There’s no reel slot here, unlike other crate rod holders. So basically, the rods are slightly elevated since they’ll slide down till the reel tests against the tube’s top, making them easy to grab as well.
- Fits snugly since the width is the same as kayak crate.
- No reel slot in rod holders, so the rods are easy to grab.
- Mounting hardware is included.
- Durable and tough plastic.
- None, really.
Scotty #265 Fly Rod Holder w/ Side Deck Mount
Just like the other rod holders from this brand, the Scotty #265 Fly Rod Holder with Side Deck Mount is a wonderfully well-made fly rod holder that’s as tough as nails. It’s not only perfect for freeing your hands up for when you’re fly fishing, but it’s ideal for trolling from a kayak too. One of the major differences between your usual od holders and this one is that this one uses a rubber strap to secure your fly rod. If that wasn’t there, then your rod will have ended up in the drink!
There’s a lot more to like about this inflatable kayak fishing rod holder. For starters, the mounting bracket that’s included can either be mounted to the deck or the side. So, it offers versatile mounting options which you can employ keeping your preferences in mind. That said, all you need to remember that this holder doesn’t come with the mounting hardware included.
- Durable and well-made.
- The mounting bracket can be deck or side-mounted.
- Ideal for storing fly rods or trolling.
- Doesn’t come with mounting hardware.
PLUSINNO Fishing Boat Rods Holder with Large Clamp
If you can’t or don’t want to drill a hole into your kayak, then the Plusinno Fishing Boat Rods Holder With Large Clamp is one of the best kayak fishing rod holders you can get your hands on. An excellent inflatable kayak fishing rod holder, this one features clamp mounts are the perfect portable, tough, and lightweight solution for your boat. The clamp itself is very easy to deploy and strong, and you can even change the location where it attaches to the rod holder. So, you can clamp the contraption down in a variety of tight spots.
Furthermore, the rod holder is 360-degree adjustable and can accommodate spin-cast rod handles, casting, and spinning rod handles. Since it’s available in one-pack, two-pack and more solutions, you can easily find something that fits your needs. Finally, it even works really well for pier or dock fishing.
- Works well for pier and dock fishing too.
- Rod holder position can be moved on the clamp.
- Versatile, well-made, lightweight, and 360-degree adjustable.
- Not suitable for trolling.
Scotty #479 Rocket Launcher Bottom Pivot Rod Holder
The Scotty #479 Rocket Launcher Bottom Pivot Rod Holder is a simple yet highly effective product. This 360-degree swivel and fully adjustable rod holder is designed ‘rocket launcher’ style. Basically, it means that it’s an open tube that can accommodate almost any type and kind of rod. The mount and the tube construction are well-designed and of high quality and work well for trolling. With a length of 9 inches and an inner diameter of 1.7 inches, the reinforced nylon composite tube is both versatile and tough. Moreover, it also works well as a net holder or and flag pole when it’s set up vertically.
While it doesn’t come with an included mount, the brand makes many amazing deck and flush mounts for the same. What’s amazing about this is that you can install mounts on more than one kayak or watercraft and easily swap out the rod holder between them.
- The tube works well as a fishing net holder and a flagpole too.
- Can accommodate all types of rods.
- Simple but effective.
- The mount isn’t included.
Yak Gear Flush Mount Rod Holder Kit
The Yak Gear Flush Mount Rod Holder Kit is one of the best traditional kayak fishing rod holders. To begin with, the flush mount kit features and holds everything that you possibly need for mounting the contraption. These include the installation instructions, the hardware, as well as the drilling template. Furthermore, the rod holder’s design even features an integrated pad eye that allows for easily adding a leash to your fishing pole. What’s more, it’s entirely and completely sealed, thus preventing water from leaking from the bottom into the hull of your kayak.
If you have a larger inflatable kayak such as a Lifetime fishing kayak, then this rod holder works perfectly for you as it requires a flat space of 4 x 4 inches plus internal clearance. Finally, installation can be done easily using the included screws/bolts, or rivets in case you don’t have access to the interior of the hull.
- Five-inch internal length pairs perfectly with most rods.
- The sealed bottom is water-leakproof.
- Integrated pad eye ensures easy rod leash attachment.
- The kit includes everything you need to mount.
- Virtually none.
CANNON Downrigger Rod Holder
Durability is the highlight of the Cannon Downrigger Rod Holder, which is a rock-solid product designed and built like a tank. Since it’s crafted from heavy ABS plastic, it’s more than tough enough for handling all kinds and levels of trolling behind your kayak. What’s more, the well-designed rod holder can accommodate both spinning and baitcasting rods of different lengths.
Installing the rod holder is a breeze too, as all you need to do is lock it into the mounting bracket with a simple and functional locking bar. While it’s slightly difficult to remove the rod holder from the base in the first try, the mechanism loosens up and becomes easier to handle over time. Furthermore, thanks to the spring-loaded tension bar, the rod holder can be adjusted in any direction. Finally, they can be mounted both horizontally or vertically, making them useful and versatile for a variety of applications.
- The mounting bracket attachment is sturdy and solid.
- Works well with spinning, baitcasting, and trolling reel steups.
- Well-made, tough hardware.
- The 360-degree base can either be mounted on the side or to.
- Doesn’t come with mounting hardware.
Brocraft Power Lock Fully Adjustable Rod Holder
The Brocraft Power Lock Fully Adjustable Rod Holder is amongst the best kayak fishing rod holders for more than one reason. To begin with, the model features a 360-degree swivel collar with adjustable rotation. So, you can not only turn but also lock the holder in any angle, making it super flexible. To top that, you’ll be able to adjust the rod holder to different positions, both horizontal and vertical, making it a very versatile model. The product even features a power lock via which you can “lock” the holder using the hardware and the base tightly with the kayak. This ensures maximum grip and stability even if you go after the biggest fish.
Furthermore, the rod holder comes with a top and side deck mounting system and also comes in a universal size. Thus, you’ll find a lot of gears that fit the holder perfectly. However, what makes this product a must-have is its sturdy fibreglass-injected nylon build that is resistant to rust, durable, and long-lasting.
- Universal size.
- Features a top or side deck mounting system.
- Adjustable both vertically or horizontally.
- 360-degree adjustable rotation.
- None, really.
Scotty #230 Powerlock Rod Holder
Are you surprised to see another Scotty inflatable kayak fishing rod holder on this list? Because we sure aren’t! The Scotty #230 Powerlock Rod Holder is one of the most popular open-style fishing gear by the brand, and it’s easy to see why. Armed with an interior diameter of just 1.95 inches, this rod holder can be universally fitted to hold any kind of reel or rod. Moreover, it even boasts a front locking ring allowing you to lock the holder to the kayak, thus avoiding losing the rod when you’re on the move.
Going further, you also have the option to mount it on the deck or on the side, offering a whopping 241 different combinations for mounting! Plus, it’s been designed so that it suits any watercraft and can hold on to it tight even if it catches bigger and heavier fish. What you’ll really like is that the holder features a 360-degree rotation that allows you to adjust the gear both up and down. Just one tip – remember to check the measurements of the mount and the kayak before you buy this one.
- Fiber-reinforced engineering grade nylon.
- 241 combinations of deck and side mounts.
- 360-degree of horizontal rotation.
- Easy to install and adjust.
- Durable and strong.
- Screws don’t come included.
Wise 6039 Twin Pack Rod Holder with 2 Side Mounts
One of the best value offerings for kayak fishing rod holders comes in the form of the Wise 6039 Twin Pack Rod Holder with 2 Side Mounts. This pair of rod holders are available for just $30, making it one of the best value products on this list. The rod holders are compatible with casting reels as well as spinning reels and enable you to figure out and set multiple settings for excellent positioning. Moreover, you can even attach and remove the fishing rods quickly and easily with the help of the sliding lock ring.
The universal fit rod holder is made from an injection-molded and high-impact co-polymer plastic in black finish, also leaving it looking sleek at the same time. Since they’re also powder-coated, they’ll last you a long time and are very durable too.
- Very inexpensive.
- Universal fit.
- Accommodates all kinds of reels.
- Sliding lock ring for quick rod removal and attachment.
- Multiple settings for optimal positioning.
- Some users felt it was a bit flimsy.
Attwood 3005.0185 5009-4 Adjustable Rod Holder with Combo Mount
Attwood is a leader in the fishing world when it comes to practical and high-quality fishing accessories. Similarly, the Attwood 3005.0185 5009-04 Adjustable Rod Holder with Combo Mount is no exception. The rod holder boasts a new ergonomic design with an easy-to-use rapid-release latch mechanism. What’s more, the large and easy-grip lock-nut allows for easy and slick adjustment. What you’ll like about the rod holder is that it can be used with both casting rods and spinning rods thanks to the presence of the combo mount.
But, that’s not all that this rod holder does. It provides a vertical adjustment range of 180 degrees for ensuring a gamut of rod tip height settings. All this is available for a price of less than $20 – now, what more could you want?
- Vertical adjustment range of 180 degrees.
- Easy adjustment.
- None, really.
Suuonee Fishing Rod Holder
We finally come to the top of the list of best kayak fishing rod holders, a place that goes to the Suuonee Fishing Rod Holder. Made from high-quality, super-strong propene polymer, the rod holder features a robust G-Clamp mount that’s made from aluminum complete with steel pressure screws. Thus, this clamping mechanism can not only be installed easily over any kayak but also works well with many rail thicknesses. Thanks to the adjustable 360-degree rotation in both down and upward directions, it can be locked firmly and securely to prevent the rod from slipping down.
Costing just $21-22, the rod holder even comes with a 12-month warranty. All-in-all, this product is a great buy and relieves you of the tedious task of having to hold the rod when the fishes are slow to bite.
- 12-month warranty.
- Can be rotated 360 degrees.
- Easy to install.
- Durable and long-lasting.