Kayak fishing is a popular outdoor activity. It’s also a peaceful way to spend a day on the water. This article will share the best kayak rod holders to help you get the most out of your fishing trip.
A kayak rod holder comes in handy when you are paddling to your favorite fishing hole or trying to make your way back through a school of fish. A rod holder is also a tremendous help when you have multiple fishing poles on board.
In this guide, we will share many different kayak rod holders so you can choose the best one for your setup. After the reviews, we will walk through mounting options and how rod holders provide value.
If you are in the market for a rod holder for your kayak, stay tuned.
In a hurry? Here are the top picks:
- 1 Best kayak rod holders
- 2 RAILBLAZA Rod Holder R with MiniPort Track Mount
- 3 YakAttack Omega Rod Holder
- 4 HITORHIKE Fishing Rod Holder
- 5 PLUSINNO Fishing Boat Rods Holder
- 6 YakAttack Omega Pro Rod Holder
- 7 Scotty #229-BK Power Lock Rod Holder
- 8 Scotty Baitcaster/Spinning Rod Holder
- 9 RAILBLAZA Rod Holder II and Starport HD Base
- 10 How to choose a kayak rod holder
- 11 Mount type
- 12 Tips for installing a kayak rod holder
- 13 FAQ’s
- 14 Conclusion
Best kayak rod holders
Which rod holder is best for your next kayak fishing adventure? This article points out the features and benefits of each model and will answer common questions to help you choose. Factors such as how you will mount the rod holder and where it should be located on your boat play a significant role.
We have tried to choose a variety of rod holders that give you different attachment options. So, with that said, let’s get to it!
RAILBLAZA Rod Holder R with MiniPort Track Mount
- RAILBLAZA Rod Holder R for spinning reels, bait casting reels or fly reels
- Lightweight but strong with fiberglass reinforced plastic
- The possible rotation of 360 degrees
- The MiniPort has a compact design & completely tool-less operation
- Compatible with all a kayak tracks
- Kayak track compatible
- Adjustable angle
- Best for: Spinning, baitcasting, and fly reels
A personal favorite, the RAILBLAZA rod holder comes with a MiniPort track mount to fit most kayak gear tracks, making it very versatile. The RAILBLAZA Rod Holder R works with spinning, baitcasting, and fly reels.
The rod holder is best for fresh water and close to shore fishing. This is not recommended when you are trolling for large fish.
The strap on the top of the rod holder does a great job at keeping your fishing pole secure, but we recommend you tether your pole to your boat just in case. The strap is good, but the best practice is to keep the rod secured. Don’t just rely on the rubber strap to protect your rod from going overboard.
The included mount has a star-shaped (teeth) configuration and is designed to fit other RAILBLAZA products. Because the mount and the rod holder have star-shaped teeth, they fit snug together. You can easily adjust the position of the rod holder for 360-degree rotation.
This is nice because you can have your pole pointed in different directions based on how you are floating, or if you need to quickly paddle. The mount also has a locking mechanism to keep the rod holder locked in place.
You can easily adjust the angle of the rod holder up and down with the knob on the side.
Adjustable clockwise up to 360 degrees
Adjustable up and down
Fits most kayak tracks
Strap to hold your rod in place
Easy to remove for transport or storage
Has to be used on a track system
If you don’t have a track, you will have to install one
The RAILBLAZA Rod Holder R is an inexpensive rod holder that is a great addition to your kayak. The only issue is if you don’t already have a track on your kayak, you will need to install one. This model is lightweight, adjustable, and durable, making it one of the best kayak rod holders.
YakAttack Omega Rod Holder
- Track Ready
- Made in the USA
- Fits most factory kayak tracks
- Rotating collar
- Best for: Spinning, baitcasting and fly reels
The Omega Rod Holder from YakAttack has the LockNLoad mounting system. It attaches easily to YakAttack tracks and most factory tracks. The rod holder is easy to install and stays locked in place. Once you slide the mounting base onto the track, the rod holder snaps on top of the base.
If you need to adjust the placement of the rod holder while you are on the water, it is easy to operate on the fly. Use the lever on the side of the rod holder to rotate the rod holder clockwise/counterclockwise as you need.
Use the knob on the side of the rod holder to adjust it up and down.
It’s nice to adjust the position of the rod holder, depending on how you are floating, or in case you need to quickly paddle back through a school of fish. The collar on top of the holder keeps your fishing pole in place.
You can easily remove the rod holder for storage or transport without removing the mount.
Easy to install
It fits YakAttack and most factory tracks
Durable, well-made rod holder
More expensive than other models
You need a track installed on your kayak
The YakAttack Omega rod holder is well-constructed, easy to use, and will last a long time. The simple, lightweight design makes this a great rod holder for your kayak.
HITORHIKE Fishing Rod Holder
- ✅ UNIVERSAL FIT: Fit spinning reels, fly reels, boat reels, baitcaster reels. It...
- ✅ HIGH IMPACT RESISTANT CONSTRUCTION & ECO-FRIENDLY MATERIAL & ANTI-CORROSION &...
- ✅ PROFESSIONAL BOAT ROD HOLDER SERIES: We have a series of fishing rod holders and...
- ✅ INSIDE PACK: Fishing Rod Holder x1, Basic Mount x1, Screw x2, Screw Cap x2,...
- ✅ RISK-FREE PURCHASE: We offer a 120-day money back guarantee with a 3-year...
- Easy to use
What makes the HITORHIKE Fishing Rod Holder different from others is the variety of available configurations. For most kayaks, you can install the mount directly to the deck of the kayak. If you have a canoe or boat, there are mounts made to fit 7/8″ to 1″ tubing.
There are a lot of options available depending on what your needs are. For kayaks, there are a couple of different base mounts that are easy to install.
The only problem with the basic mount setup is the screws are a bit too long. This can be a problem if you install the mount on the deck of the sit-inside kayak. Watch those knees!
You can rotate the rod holder 360 degrees around, as well as vertically, up and down to suit your needs. The adjustable collar will keep your fishing rod in place. It’s always a good idea to tether your rod to your kayak so your pole doesn’t end up in the water.
The downside to this rod holder is that you may have to drill some holes in your kayak to install it. Once installed, though, the base has a locking mechanism to keep the rod holder firmly in place.
Many different configurations available depending on your needs
Great for spinning, fly and bait casters
Lightweight and durable design
The base locks the rod holder in place
Requires some DIY skills
The rail mounts don’t fit square tubing
This highly rated kayak rod holder comes with everything you need for installation. You can be up and fishing in no time.
PLUSINNO Fishing Boat Rods Holder
- 🎣【Clamp Max. Opening 1.97 Inch. 2Pack】- Include 2 Pcs Fishing Pole Boat...
- 🎣【Eco-friendly Material & Anti-Corrosion】- This fishing boat rod holder is...
- 🎣【Universal Fit】- Accommodates Spinning, Casting and Spincast rod handles,360...
- 🎣【High Impact Resistant Construction】- The construction is very easy to hold...
- 🎣【Best Gifts Choice】: It's the best gift to send father, son, husband,...
- Fits a variety of kayaks
- Stainless steel hardware
The clamp style mount PLUSINNO rod holder gives you flexibility when it comes to placement. Because it clamps onto your kayak, you can put the rod holder where you want it.
I will warn you that not all clamp-style fishing rod holders will work with your particular kayak. This model works best with a sit-inside kayak that has coaming to clamp to.
The biggest benefit to this rod holder is that you don’t have to drill holes in your kayak to install it. You can also use it on a different kayak since it is easy to remove and replace. The rod holder is adjustable 360 degrees, as well as vertically.
Another cool feature is you can attach the rod holder to other object, like if you are fishing from a dock you clamp it to the railing. You can also attach the rod holder to a sturdy object when you are kayak camping and fishing from shore.
The PLUSINNO fishing rod holder is very versatile and can be used on different watercraft. Just make sure it will fit your kayak correctly.
No drilling required
Fits a variety of watercraft
Sturdy, durable rod holder
You can clamp it where you want it
It might not fit every kayak
The PLUSINNO rod holder is an excellent option for folks who don’t want to drill into their kayak. This is a well-constructed, clamp-style fishing rod holder that will work on a variety of watercraft.
YakAttack Omega Pro Rod Holder
- Works flawlessly with spinning, casting, larger conventional reels (even fly rods of...
- Allows spinning reels to be stowed in the natural downward position, not hung off the...
- A 360-degree rotating collar offers the ability to quickly secure the rod by...
- Multiple modes allow anglers to easily stage rods for quick access or lock them in...
- GearTrac/Rod not included
- Fits most tracks
- Works with spinning, casting, and fly reels
The Omega Pro uses an existing track with the LockNLoad mounting system. It is simple to install and fits most factory tracks. You can install the rod holder on flat or side-facing tracks.
The Omega Pro has a leg up on the Omega in that it elevates your reel a bit higher off the water and works well for long rod butts.
The rod holder rotates 360 degrees by squeezing the lever on the base. Press the lever to rotate the rod holder and release the lever to lock it in place.
The Omega Pro also comes equipped with a spot to attach a rod leash. It’s always a good idea to have your fishing rod tethered just in case.
Two adjustable pivot arms make it easy to adjust the height and angle of the rod holder. You can set it exactly where you want it.
Easy to install and adjust
Two pivot points
Durable, robust rod holder
Easy to access your fishing rod
Needs to be installed on a track
More expensive than other models
Honestly, the locking mechanism on the YakAttack Omega Pro is impressive. If you are looking for a secure, easy-to-use, sturdy rod holder, you need to check this model out.
Scotty #229-BK Power Lock Rod Holder
- Scotty's most popular value-priced, positive-locking, open style rod holder
- Universal cradle holds almost any reel type and has a front locking ring to prevent...
- Fibre reinforced engineering grade nylon provides strength, resilience and...
- Mount sold separately
- Color: Black
- Universal cradle
- Open style
- Adjustable up and down
One of the top names in the industry, Scotty rod holders provide a lot of value. This rod holder is adjustable up and down by turning the knob on the side of the unit. There are many rod angles to fit your needs.
The Power Lock rod holder is a solid and robust unit that will fit various rod styles. On the front of the rod holder is a locking ring to keep your pole in place. It is a good idea to tether your fishing pole to your kayak, just in case.
The rod holder does not come with a mount, but you can purchase a mount separately that works best for your kayak. If you need a clamp mount or deck mount, you have options to fit your setup.
Overall, this is a sturdy, functional rod holder that won’t break the bank.
Adjustable up and down
Open style rod holder
Robust and reliable
Does not come with a mount
Not as many features as other models
Scotty fishing rod holders are well-made, sleek, and offer great value for the money. If you are in the market for the best kayak rod holder, this is a great option.
Scotty Baitcaster/Spinning Rod Holder
- Holds a baitcaster reel in a cushioned cradle and a slot at the front also allows for...
- Fully adjustable up and down and with 360 degrees of horizontal rotation
- Manufactured with fiber reinforced engineering grade nylon offering strength,...
- Includes Scotty 244 Flush Deck Mount which has a sealed base for watertight...
- Sport type: Fishing
- Flush mount
- Latching strap
- Cushioned cradle
The Scotty Baitcaster is different from the other rod holders listed in that it’s a flush-mounted rod holder. The kit comes with a flush mount and rod holder.
You have to install the mount, so you need some DIY skills, i.e., you have to drill a hole (or holes) in your kayak. If you are not comfortable with that, you may want to choose a different model.
The mounting kit comes with a sealed base, so it is watertight. It also has a splash cover to keep water from going down the hole when the rod holder is not attached.
The rod holder itself is solid and has a cushioned cradle. You can rotate the rod holder 360 degrees as well as up and down. You can easily take the rod holder out of the mount when you are transporting or storing your kayak.
Comes with a mount and rod holder
Strap to keep your rod in place
Sturdy and well built
You have to install the flush mount base
Requires drilling holes in your kayak
The Scotty Baitcaster rod holder is a great performer and comes with the flush mount kit. It’s easy to use; it’s sturdy and handy to have on your kayak.
RAILBLAZA Rod Holder II and Starport HD Base
- Kit comes with Rod Holder II and Starport HD
- Rear gimble lock reduces rod rotation for compatible rods
- Fully adjustable 360 degrees around, over 90 degrees vertical
- Starport HD allows users to fit and swap out the full range of Railblaza accessories
- Stainless steel mounting hardware included
- Includes Starport HD base
- Mounting hardware included
- Easy to use
The RAILBLAZA Rod Holder II is easy to use and not so hard to install. We will get into installation in a minute. First, let’s talk about the rod holder.
The rod holder is easily adjustable, both up and down, and it rotates 360 degrees. You can put the rod holder and your rod in just the right spot. There is also an attachment point for a rod leash. It’s always a good idea to secure your rod to the kayak, just in case.
The rear gimbal lock will prevent your rod from rotating in the cradle. There is a collar to help keep your fishing pole in place on the top of the rod holder.
The Starport HD mount is easy to install, and it’s very versatile. You can use other RAILBLAZA accessories with this base. I installed a Starport base on my kayak, and I couldn’t be happier.
The base has a lock on it to keep the rod holder secure. The rod holder is easy to adjust up and down with the knob on the side of the unit.
Comes with a versatile Starport HD base
Rod leash attachment point
Sturdy, well-designed rod holder
You need to drill holes to install the base
More expensive than other models
The RAILBLAZA Rod Holder II is sturdy and easy to use, making it one of the best kayak rod holders. The Starport HD base is versatile and can be used with other accessories.
How to choose a kayak rod holder
A fishing rod holder is a fantastic accessory for your kayak. If your kayak doesn’t come equipped with a rod holder, you can install one yourself. A rod holder frees your hands so you can paddle through a school of fish or take a little break when you on the water.
There are some things to consider when you choose a kayak rod holder. Let’s discuss these next.
Kayak fishing rod capacity
One thing to consider is if the kayak rod holder will support not only your fishing pole setup. A fishing pole and reel don’t necessarily weigh a lot, but depending on the type of fishing you are doing, it can add up.
The biggest thing you need to watch out for is when (not if) that big fish strikes. Can your rod holder handle the strike? You don’t want a fish to take your pole and rod holder in the water with it.
Another thing to consider is if your bait or lure gets snagged while you are trolling or drifting. Will your rod holder be able to withstand the pressure?
Is it adjustable?
Many kayak rod holders are fully adjustable, meaning they can swivel 360 degrees and move up and down (vertically). This is important so you can keep your rod tip up and also be able to move the fishing pole quickly if you need to paddle.
There are quite a few different types of kayak rod holder mounts. Which one you choose will depend on your kayak. Many kayaks come with some kind of rod holder already installed, but if not, you can always add one after the fact. Or, if your kayak doesn’t have enough rod holders, you can add more.
Let’s walk through the different types of mounts available so you can be prepared to choose what works best.
A flush mount kayak rod holder is flush with the deck of the boat. These are often installed behind the seat of a sit-inside kayak. The butt of the rod fits down into the rod holder tube.
Flush mount rod holders behind the seat are a great way to keep your fishing pole out of your way when you are paddling. You can install a flush mount yourself if your kayak doesn’t come with one.
Installing a flush mount rod holder requires you to drill a big hole in your boat. If you don’t have the stomach for that, there are other options available.
Some folks like to use a crate on their kayak, typically in the rear storage area, to keep fishing gear. There are rod holders designed to fit on a crate or a cooler. You often see multiple rod holders attached to a crate.
Using multiple rods means you can have different poles set up with different lures or bait. If you like to take multiple fishing rods on your kayak, a crate-mounted rod holder is a great way to go.
If you don’t want to drill holes in your precious kayak, a clamp mount might be a good option. Clamp mount rod holders are versatile; you can put them where it fits best on your boat. You can easily remove and re-clamp at your convenience.
The most significant benefit to using a clamp-mounted rod holder is no drilling. Keep that in mind if you are not great at DIY stuff or don’t want extra holes in your kayak.
Track mount rod holders are popular, and most fishing kayaks come with a track. Many popular brands like Scotty, RAILBLAZA, YakAttack, etc., have rod holders that will fit kayak factory tracks.
The rod holder manufacturers sell their own tracks, so if your kayak doesn’t have a track, you can easily install one.
Tracks are great because you can easily install a rod holder and adjust the positioning. You can also add other accessories to tracks, making them very versatile.
A deck mount is just like sounds, a base attached to the deck of your kayak. This is a permanent solution, so proceed with caution. A deck mount kayak rod holder is an excellent option if you have the space for it, and you are okay drilling some holes in your kayak.
If you install a deck mount rod holder, it’s always good to test the placement before installing it. You want the rod holder to be accessible but not in your way when you are paddling.
Tips for installing a kayak rod holder
Mounting a fishing rod holder on your kayak can be a scary proposition, depending on the type you buy. Here are some tips on mounting your rod holder.
Don’t assume you have to drill
There are other options to drilling holes in your kayak, like a clamp mount or a crate-mounted rod holder. If you are not comfortable drilling holes in your kayak, you might want to check out these types of kayak rod holders.
It’s okay to be off-center
Choose a spot to install your rod holder where you can easily access your fishing pole and where the rod holder is not in the way of your stroke when paddling. The rod holder doesn’t have to dead center on your boat. You can install it wherever works best for you.
If you drill, there is no going back
If you need to drill holes to install the rod holder, there is no going back. Use a template if the rod holder comes with one. You can also mark the drill holes with a pencil before you get started. You don’t want to drill unnecessary holes in your boat for many reasons.
How many fishing rod holders do I need?
Many kayaks come with rod holders. Some recreational kayaks have a flush mount rod holder (or two) behind the seat. You will need to figure out how many rod holders you want or need. I have two behind my seat, and I added a deck mount to the front of my kayak.
Where should a kayak rod holder be placed?
You want to install the rod holder so you can easily access the fishing pole but still have room to paddle. You don’t want the rod holder in the way of your stroke. Try a dry run to find a good spot to install the rod holder.
Can I drill into my kayak?
Some rod holder installations require you to drill into your kayak. This can be scary if you have not done it before. Be careful though, you might want to check with the kayak manufacturer to see if this affects your warranty.
We discussed the common types of mounts earlier, so you can decide which type works best for your kayak. If you don’t want to drill into your kayak, you can try a clamp mount kayak rod holder.
What about an inflatable kayak?
You can install a rod holder on an inflatable, but you have to have the right components. For instance, Scotty makes a glue-on pad that will adhere to an inflatable kayak. But you need to buy the right kind of glue depending on what material your inflatable is made of.
The Scotty pad works with all different kinds of glue, but the pad itself doesn’t come with glue because you need glue that is compatible with your inflatable kayak. Once the pad is installed, you can use a Scotty mount and rod holder.
There are a lot of kayak rod holders available. We have selected some of the best models based on how easy they are to install, use, and durability. If you have a track mount, the Omega Pro or RAILBLAZA Rod Holder R are excellent choices.
For a standalone deck mount rod holder, the RAILBLAZA Rod Holder II with the included Starport HD base is a great option.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. Happy paddling!