The Best Kayak Fishing Rod Holders On the Market 2021 (Hands-Free Hands Down )


Imagine if we had as many arms as spiders have legs.

Our productivity would be off the charts!

And you’d be able to paddle and reel in catches when you’re kayak fishing, all while sinking a cold one at the same time!

Alas, evolution hasn’t been that generous to us (yet), but we can make up for it by introducing “hands free” technology that helps make life a little easier.

The best kayak fishing rod holders do just that, and will offer you a place to conveniently park your rod and reel, while you relax, set up a new rig, or paddle to a better spot.

Let’s take a look at what’s out there.

Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.

The 7 Best Kayak Fishing Rod Holders 2021

Anndason 2 Pcs Kayak Deck Rod Holders

First up, is this extremely popular two-piece flush mounted kayak fishing holder from Anndason. Made from a tough and durable material, both holders come with all the hardware you need to easily install on the side of your kayak.

Featuring three fishing points for versatile adjustment, the head is angled at 30-degrees to allow easy in and out for your rods when you need them.

The holders can be covered over with their protective lids when not in use – which can stop them filling up with water and potentially getting damaged.

Finally, a gasket is located under the mounting head, which results in a flush, snug fit and stronger connection on your yak.

Pros

  • Great price point.
  • Easy to install.
  • Very highly rated.
  • Pack of two included.
  • Made from strong, durable materials.

Cons

  • Might be a little short for some rods.
  • The screws aren’t the best – consider replacing.

Takeaway

Altogether a top-quality option if you’re looking to add flush-mounted fishing rod holders to a regular kayak, or if you just want more options on your existing setup. Simple, effective, and no-nonsense. If only everything in life was the same.

YakAttack Omega Rod Holder

YakAttack happens to be one of the best kayak fishing brands around (follow that link for more) with an emphasis on pimping out your ride with accessories and extras.

It’s no surprise then that they offer one of the best kayak fishing rod holders on the market. The Omega model is highly versatile, and capable of being used for spinning, baitcasting, and fly, with the popular 360-degree rotating collar to help keep your rod secure.

A choice of mounting tracks is available, so you can choose the right length that’s suitable for your kayak.

Designed to eliminate the need for any other version, the Omega could well be the “last rod holder you’ll ever need,” and is suitable for multiple rod sizes, so you can have a selection of rigs ready to go when you need them.

Pros

  • Accessory name to trust.
  • Very highly rated.
  • Versatile use.
  • Durable construction.
  • Rotating collar lock.
  • Easy tracking mount system.
  • Universal compatibility.

Cons

  • Might be a little on the large side for some – double-check your rod sizes.

Takeaway

YakAttack continues to impress the kayak fishing community with their quality products, and the Omega is no exception. Pick up one of these, and they’re sure to have another faithful customer who will love the gear they’re putting out.

Scotty 0476 Rocket Launcher

When it comes to kayak fishing accessories – especially rod holders and mounts – the name of Scotty is well-known and revered in the community.

In fact, they’re probably the number-one brand when it comes to this kind of gear, and their rocket launcher rod holder is a good example of why that is.

Capable of accommodating all types of rods, they can be mounted on the top or on the side of the gunwale – depending on what works best for you and your fishing style.

Fully adjustable, the nine-inches of composite construction is built to last, and can swivel fully through 360-degrees, with the ability to tilt up and down.

Easy-to-install, this is a tough and practical rod holder for all conditions and scenarios, and it won’t let you down.

Pros

  • Market-leading brand.
  • Versatile mounting options.
  • Solid, durable construction.
  • Accommodates all rod types.
  • Upright position for traveling.
  • Fewer missed strikes.

Cons

  • The profile might be a little on the large side.

Takeaway

Another top-quality accessory from the kayak rod holder experts, who can boast a seriously impressive range of rod holders that could all fit into this review.

For more from Scotty – among many others – check out this article on the best kayak fishing accessories on the market. Go ahead – treat yourself.

Sea-Lect Designs Triple Threat Rod Holder

The Triple Threat surface mounted rod holder from Sea-Lect is exactly that – designed to hold spinning, baitcasting and fly-fishing rods in its robust and durable frame.

It’s a popular choice for anyone who wants to have just one rod holder, but that’s versatile enough to be used with different setups.

Easy-to-adjust, the quarter-turn knob allows you to position the holder at the angle you need it, or rotate to the perfect position on the gunwale or deck.

On the base, there’s a handy leash attachment point, so you can secure your rod in case of rough weather.

The holder is also capable of a vertical position, which is ideal when you’re on the move, and you want to keep your gear out of the way.

Pros

  • Versatile design.
  • Rugged, durable construction.
  • Easy to install and adjust.
  • Rotating locking collar.
  • Affordable price point.

Cons

  • None to speak of.

Takeaway

You’re getting a lot of bang for your buck with the Triple-Threat, which is one of the best fly rod holders for kayaks out there – thanks to its universal design.

And speaking of, check out this review on the best fly-fishing rods for beginners if you’re looking to get started in the art form.

Plusinno Fishing Boat Rods Holder

Here we have a great example of a clamp fishing rod holder, which is ideal if you don’t want to go drilling holes in your kayak, or if you’re renting a recreational craft while on vacation.

There are two designs available, one with an opening of 1.97-inches, and the other at 4.75-inches. You should check to make sure which option will fit best on your kayak, but they should be versatile enough for most boats out there.

Made from durable, anti-corrosion materials, they can accommodate spinning, baitcasting, and fly rods, with a 360-degree rotation to suit your needs.

And while we’re mentioning rods, Plusinno also offers some excellent telescopic fishing poles, which are perfect for travel and kayak fishing. Check them out and lots more at that link.

Pros

  • Great price point.
  • Available in packs of two.
  • Durable stainless steel hardware.
  • Rotating locking collar.
  • Very highly rated.
  • Easy to install and remove.
  • No drilling required.

Cons

  • There’s still a slim chance they’ll come loose – especially with a tough fish.

Takeaway

The perfect solution if you need a rod holder, and you’re concerned about turning your kayak into Swiss cheese with a drill.

It couldn’t be easier to install, and then you can take it with you when you’re all done, add it to another yak in your fleet, or pack one for when you’re kayaking on vacation. Everyone’s a winner.

RAM ROD HD Fishing Rod Holder

RAM ROD HD Fishing Rod Holder

Much like Scotty, you can’t have a kayak fishing rod holder article without mentioning RAM.

Made from a high-strength composite material, this solid spinning and baitcasting rod holder has been designed to take a beating.

Ideal for more challenging environments and conditions, it offers exceptional durability, while being fully compatible with most track mounting systems, with a rotating locking collar to keep your rod secure.

Capable of being converted into a tube rod holder, you can also add an extension arm (sold separately) to help keep the rod out of the way.

The dual-track base ensures that you can attach the holder to just about any kayak, right out of the box, and a rear locking arm can hold rods in place for when you’re on the move.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Premium-quality design and build.
  • Action-camera compatible.
  • Anti-corrosion materials.
  • Ideal for saltwater and tough conditions.

Cons

  • On the more expensive side.

Takeaway

It might set you back a bit more, but this is one of the most durable and long-lasting kayak fishing rod holders on the market. This is the kind of stuff the pros use, perfect for challenging environments, large rods, and big fish.

Berkley Tube Rod Rack

Berkley requires little introduction when it comes to being one of the best fishing brands in the world, manufacturing some world-class angling accessories to help you get the most out of your day on the water.

This tube rod rack is highly versatile and can be mounted anywhere there’s a suitable space for it – and you can get truly inventive with its location.

Ideal for use with a kayak fishing crate, the durable, corrosion-proof construction will last a long time in tough conditions, capable of storing up to three rods, nets, or other compatible tackle and gear.

Easy to install, this is a no-nonsense option to help keep your fishing rods safe and out of the way for when you need them.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Tough, durable construction.
  • Versatile use – fix it anywhere you like.
  • Great for kayak milk crates.
  • Affordable price point.

Cons

  • No cut out section for reels.

Takeaway

If you’re thinking of building your own fishing kayak crate, then this is the perfect accessory to add for stowing rods.

And to get yourself properly kitted out with the gear to fill all three holders, take a look at these articles on some quality rods and reel combos.

How to Choose the Best Fishing Rod Holder for Your Kayak

Below, you’ll find a handy guide on everything to do with kayak fishing rod holders, to help you make an informed decision before adding to cart.

fisherman in sit-on-top kayak with multiple fishing rods

Do You Need a Kayak Rod Holder?

If you’re going kayak fishing, then you need a kayak rod holder – it’s as simple as that.

Even if you’re using one of these awesome pedal fishing kayaks, you still need to keep your hands free from time to time, and you don’t always want to be holding your rod.

A rod holder is one of the first features or accessories you should consider when in the market for a new craft, and at the most basic level they turn an ordinary recreational play boat into a legitimate fishing kayak.

I’ve tried fishing from a holder-less kayak (usually when I don’t have my own craft with me) and it can be something of a challenge when juggling rods and paddles.

A good kayak fishing rod holder is an affordable solution, and essential if you’re serious about the sport.

man kayak fishing in river

Types of Kayak Rod Holders

You’ll find there are several types of fishing rod holders to choose from, and the type you choose will depend on your set-up, preferences, and fishing style.

All rod holders are basically derivatives of these designs.

Flush Mounted Rod Holders

Flush mounted rod holders are pockets that sit within the hull of the kayak – as the name suggests.

When it comes to choosing the best fishing kayaks, like these budget-friendly models – it’s usually the flush mounted holder that is already built-in.

Commonly found to the rear of your seat or along the gunwale of the kayak, flush rod holders have a low profile, and as such their main advantage is they won’t ever get in the way when you’re doing anything else.

However, they are permanent, and a lot of kayak anglers are reluctant to start drilling holes in their yaks to mount a new one – so you have to be sure and confident with your DIY.

Articulated/Adjustable Rod Holders

Articulated rod holders usually sit on the gunwale and can be mounted in a number of different ways (more on that below).

Ideal for trolling and hands-free angling, they come in all shapes and sizes, depending on if you’re baitcasting, spinning, or fly-fishing – and the size of your rods and reels.

Arguably the most popular of all the rod holders, they can be mounted just about anywhere, fixed on a moveable track or static, and they’re designed to elevate the rod away from the water.

They have a couple of downsides (depending on the quality of the product) with the most obvious being a significantly raised profile, which might get in the way of paddling if it’s poorly located.

They’re also not as solid as a flush-mounted option, with a weaker connection that makes them susceptible to damage or malfunction if struck with force.

Tube Rod Holders

Tube rod holders are designed in such a way that the butt of your rod sits all the way in and rests on the bottom.

Longer than other rod holders, tubes have the advantage of not requiring a locking mechanism or strap, which means you can get easy access to the rod in a hurry.

However, there is more of a chance that either you or a fish will knock or pull it out, which is no fun as you watch a potentially expensive piece of equipment disappear into the murky depths, or whisked off for a tour of the lake.

Vertical Rod Holders

Vertical rod holders are intended for when you need to transport your gear to and from the water, or you need somewhere to stash the pole while you set up the bait.

They are of no use when you’re actually out there fishing, save to keep spare rods safely out of the way.

Horizontal Rod Holders

Horizontal rod holders are usually a simple clip system that you attach to the side of your yak – similar to a paddle park.

They come into play when you need to stash your rod for negotiating hazards, such as trees and overhead obstructions, but they can tangle your line and lures easily if you’re not careful.

man stand up fishing on kayak

Quantity

How many rods are you rocking?

Most kayak anglers take around one to three poles with them, but the really serious sportsmen and women out there might bring along several more.

Especially if they want to benefit from a good selection of tackle setups and rigs without the need to fiddle around on the water – which is ideal in tournament conditions where time is of the essence.

Vertical rod holders are the best choice in this situation, and are capable of stashing multiple rods depending on how many you want to install.

They can even be used to store some of these practical kayak fishing nets, safely out of the way, but still close to hand when you need them.

The more rods you have, the more rod holders you need. Look for products that come in packs of two or more, which are handy for saving money while giving you plenty of mounting options for more gear.

Mounting and Location

Depending on the type of rod holder, they can pretty much be mounted anywhere you want them.

Flush-mounted rod holders will need enough space to sit in, and as such, are more commonly found to the rear of the cockpit.

This is where articulated rod holders come into their own, as they can be mounted on an accessory track system that runs perpendicular to your seating position along the kayak gunwale.

This ensures you can adjust to suit, so if you’re not happy with the initial setup it’s an easy fix.

Some rod holders are designed with mounting clamps that clip to the side of your cockpit – or anywhere there’s a suitable location to place them.

Top tip – a clamp kayak rod holder is ideal whenever you’re renting or borrowing a craft – as you can just clamp and go, and remove it when you’re all done, without the need to drill any holes or add extra hardware.

Couple them with one of these travel fishing rods, and you can be ready to kayak fish on holiday without actually taking a kayak.

However, of all the kayak rod holder mounting options, this is the least secure, and if they’re not properly tightened, you can easily lose them given the right circumstances.

man fishing on a sit-on-top kayak in the sea with clear water

Locking Mechanisms

Some rod holders come with a locking system or strap to prevent your rod from going walkabout when you’re out there on the water. There are a few different types.

Tube rod holders rarely come with such a feature, which is both an advantage and disadvantage, so bear that in mind if you’re thinking of purchasing this type.

A rubberized strap that wraps around and attaches to a clipping point on the other side of the holder is an easy-access solution – but it’s not as secure as other options.

The rotating locking clip that you find on higher-end models seems to be the best choice, as your rod isn’t going anywhere when it’s activated.

However, it might be a bit tricky to unlock should you need your rod in a hurry.

As you can see, they all have their pros and cons, so it will just come down to your own personal preference and/or how much you value your rod.

Top tip – experienced kayak anglers will always recommend you take your less expensive rods when you’re kayak fishing, and save your best stuff for the banks and shores. Don’t learn this the hard way.

Head on over to this article if you’d like to take a look at the best kayak fishing rods currently on the market, that are just right for the sport.

Profile

How high a fishing rod holder sits up on your deck or gunwale needs to be taken into consideration, especially when kayaking.

You need something that’s not going to get in the way of paddling, or any other physical activity while you’re on board.

Flush-mounted rod holders have all but zero profile, but when choosing adjustable models, make sure to check their size.

Some options can be raised and lowered depending on your needs, while track-mounted holders can be moved out of the way when required, so their height might not necessarily be an issue.

Kayak Fishing Crates

There is another option when it comes to fishing rod holders, and that’s to use a kayak fishing crate set up.

They usually come with built-in holders on the sides, and can be particularly useful if you’re rocking multiple rods and rigs.

This option from Wilderness Systems (link to Amazon.com) is one of the best, but you can also make your own if you’re handy. And you’ll find the same product and much more in this article about the best tackle boxes for kayak fishing.

Check out the video below for more information on how to perfect a kayak fishing crate loadout.

Cost

Fishing rod holders for kayaks aren’t going to break the bank, but if you’ve plowed your dollars into other aspects of the hobby, you might need to tighten the belt a bit.

For the most part, you’ll get a quality rod holder for around $25. High-end models can be anywhere upwards of $30, and some premium versions might even reach 100 bucks.

Always buy the best you can afford, and relative to how much use you’re going to get out of it. The “buy once, cry once” mantra is quite applicable here.

FAQs

Can you put a rod holder on a kayak?

You most certainly can. If you weren’t able to, then I’ve got no idea what I’ve been doing writing this article for the last couple of hours.

The beauty of aftermarket accessories for kayaks is that they’re designed to fit the craft, so even if you purchase a cheap play boat like a Sun Dolphin or Perception Zip for example, you can easily pick up a good fishing rod holder to convert it to a fishing kayak.

Where should a kayak rod holder be placed?

That depends entirely on your own preference, how you sit in your cockpit, your overall loadout, and whether you’re right or left-handed.

Some anglers prefer their rods in a fixed position on the gunwale, others like to have the versatility of a track system, so it can move. Deck-mounted rod holders between the paddler’s legs are also popular.

You might have multiple rod holders – one of each type – which can be useful to switch between depending on the situation.

Wherever the rod holder is placed, you’ll want to make sure you have easy access to it, and that it’s not going to get in the way of anything else – especially paddling.

And if you’re thinking of adding one of these awesome kayak fish finders too, then space might be at a premium.

Don’t let it stress you out, though – a huge part of the fun of kayak fishing is organizing your loadout, so experiment to find out what is going to work best for you.

What is the best rod holder for a kayak?

Any of the rod holders in this review could be the answer to this question – but it depends on what is right for you. A flush mounted rod holder isn’t going to be the best if you’re looking for an articulated one, and vice-versa.

Any product that manages to fit your needs will be the best – there isn’t one “overall winner.”

How do you put a rod holder on a sit-on-top kayak?

Great question. Of course, it depends on what type of rod holder you’re installing, but for argument’s sake, let’s say that it’s a flush-mounted model.

Check out the video below for a useful how-to guide on adding one to just about any kayak – at least before you start drilling random holes in your craft.

Can you attach a rod holder to a kayak without drilling?

Many kayak owners are reluctant to start poking holes in their yaks – especially if the craft wasn’t designed that way in the first place, it’s on the expensive side, and/or they’re not DIY confident.

This is where clamp rod holders come in, and the Plusinno version in the review is a great example. Just make sure your yak has somewhere the holder can clamp to, and you’ll be good to go.

Summary

There are so many accessories out there for keen kayak anglers that can make your head spin like a reel.

But hopefully, this article has helped you narrow down your search for the best kayak fishing rod holder that’s right for you.

Let me know in the comments section which model you’ve gone for and why – or if you have any other kayak fishing tips and advice you’d like to share.

Tight lines, y’all – and happy fishing!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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