Best Kayak Rod Holders: What You Should Consider

Whether you like spending time on water, being by yourself and enjoying the silence, or just the pure activity of fishing, kayaking is an excellent activity that will give you a decent workout while also providing peace in the middle of nature.

Kayaking is often associated with fishing too, be it on a camping trip or just for a barbecue once you’re done. But to do so, you need the right kayak. And apart from buying one that is already upgraded for fishing purposes, you can also enhance your current kayak with a few extras.

Kayak rod holders are quite varied and give you the opportunity to relax while waiting for fish. They don’t cost a fortune and they’re usually universal, meaning they’re versatile and can match most kayaks out there.

Which one is the best? It’s up to you to assess your needs, but overall, there are a few kayak rod holders that dominate the market with their high quality standards and durability.

With these thoughts in mind, here’s everything you need to know about purchasing the right equipment, from descriptions and benefits to what to be aware of and disadvantages.

Why is it important to have kayak rod holders?

Kayak rod holders come in more shapes and sizes. Furthermore, each type has its own particularities, whether you go for flush mount holders or rail mount holders, just to name a few. No matter what you pick, they’re mandatory for a good fishing experience, and here’s why.

Hands-free fishing sessions

No matter how much you love fishing, chances are you’d hate the idea of holding rods for hours in the same position until your body goes numb. You’re not supposed to move too much and you need to pay attention when you catch fish.

Even if you weren’t on a kayak, you’d still try to improvise some sort of support to ensure you can do it hands-free. That’s the main reason wherefore people invest in kayak rod holders. It allows you to fish without having to hold your rod.

You can paddle around if you feel like it, steer, eat, enjoy the silence, or read a book while your line is in the water. Obviously, paddling is not really recommended, as it may chase fish away, but you get the point. Even if you’re not really doing anything, hands-free fishing is all about comfort.

The necessity of kayak rod holders is even more obvious if you’re fishing in rough waters, where you’ll need to hold the paddles most of the time.

Better accuracy

Unsurprisingly, kayak rod holders will also add to your accuracy when fishing. After all, there’s not much movement involved. You just hold the rod securely and you can cast your line with excellent precision. There won’t be any mistakes, plus, the line will stay where you cast it.

To a lot of people, it won’t make much of a difference. But if you end up fishing in a tight space, you’ll appreciate the extra accuracy. After all, there aren’t too many options in such waters and you certainly don’t want lines tangled around bushes.

Extra safety

Last, but not least, kayak rod holders will add to your safety standards. Holding the rod in place means you can focus on your balance. You’re less likely to accidentally drop it in the water. You can also ensure you paddle in the right direction too.

High safety standards are imperative when paddling in rough waters or against currents. Keeping your rod in the same position is the last thing you want to worry about in such cases.

Types of kayak rod holders

There are more types of kayak rod holders and each of them has its own particularities, pros, and cons.

Adjustable kayak rod holders

Adjustable kayak rod holders are slightly elevated and allow a high degree of customization. They’re ideal for any type of function or placement. You can adjust the position and direction of the rod, which is quite important when navigating between spots.

These holders are designed to keep reels far from the water, but also as close as possible to you. It’s usually the neck that allows adjustability. As for the base, it can be installed pretty much anywhere on the kayak.

Most of these holders come with a base that attaches to tracks, meaning you can change its location if you feel like it. The problem is not all kayaks have tracks. Therefore, you’d have to drill your kayak in this case or even better, purchase a separate track and install it.

Adjustable kayak rod holders are both horizontal and vertical, whatever suits you, mainly because they can be angled in all directions. They have all sorts of shapes and sizes, from light and small holders to angled and heavy duty alternatives.

The adjustability, multiple installation options, and the fact that you can elevate rods away from waters can be considered the main benefits of this type. On a more negative note, connections are not as strong as in other types of holders.

Railblaza Rod Holder R, for example, offers an impressive level of customization regarding positions, which ensures your rods will stay in the desired positions for as much as you need.

Railblaza Rod Holder R

Best Adjustable Rod Holders

  • Effortlessly install with no extra tools needed.
  • Quickly adjust and secure with a simple hand turn.
  • Compatible with popular kayak brands like Wilderness Systems, Native Watercraft, and Jackson Kayak.

Flush mount kayak rod holders

Flush mount kayak rod holders are the most popular choices out there. They’re extremely common and you’ll notice that many top brands provide them in different configurations. They represent a strong, reliable, and solid option.

The rod tube normally goes under the deck, but it also has a collar by the reel. This way, it won’t be in your way if you need to paddle away. The installation is quite permanent, meaning you’ll need to drill a big hole in the deck. Besides, there’s not much adjustability regarding the position.

Flush mount kayak rod holders are excellent for bait fishing, but also for trolling. Given their sturdiness, they’re great for big fish as well. When putting a rod in, make sure you angle the holder correctly, so the tip of the rod goes as far as possible from the boat.

The installation won’t raise too many question marks. Most anglers install these holders behind seats, but the front side of the cockpit is also a good idea. The installation takes a few measurements to ensure everything fits correctly.

The low profile is considered an advantage, but more importantly, you’ll have a strong connection with no wobbling at all. Like everything else, they’re not perfect. To some anglers, the permanent installation that involves cutting a hole in the kayak might be an issue.

Anndason Flush Rod Holders offers both permanent installation modes, which would be a plus if you’re undecided.

Anndason Permanent Rod Holders

Best Flush Rod Holder

  • Crafted from high-quality PC+ABC material, ensuring strength and durability for long-lasting performance.
  • Easy installation and ready-to-use design.
  • Features a 30-degree angled head for improved functionality.

Horizontal kayak rod holders

Horizontal rod holders are mainly recommended for those fishing around thick vegetation and bushes. They’re ideal if there are trees around or you like fishing in secluded areas, hoping to find hidden fishing holes.

The idea is to secure the rod parallel to the deck. Instead of going up, it goes in a straight horizontal line. Why? Simple, it won’t snag in trees and bushes. Obviously, you may still experience issues with tangling, but that’s if you use more rods in the same position. One or two will do.

The installation depends on the rod holder you purchase. Overall, it’s fairly simple and doesn’t require any sophisticated tools. The holder needs an open deck, of course, which is common for most kayaks.

When it comes to potential disadvantages, you’ll notice horizontal rod holders and this type of installation will take a bit of space. Besides, if you want more rods on the same kayak, lines may tangle, so be careful.

Vertical kayak rod holders

Vertical kayak rod holders allow more rods on the kayak, as well as better organization. You can easily have around five rods behind the seat, in a very neat organization. However, this setup is mainly recommended for transportation.

Leaving the rod in a vertical holder while fishing could actually cause some problems. For instance, a larger fish could pull the road in the water, not to mention breaking the holder. You can, however, maintain the setup for waters with small fish.

Generally speaking, these rods are good to carry rods, keep them out of the path, and organize them. The bad news is such holders can’t be adjusted. They’re not angled either. On a more positive note, you can find highly adjustable kayak rod holders that can be installed both horizontally and vertically.

Things to consider when choosing kayak rod holders

There are quite a few considerations to keep in mind when looking for kayak rod holders.

Mounting mechanism

Many kayaks come with tracks, so track mount holders represent a common choice. Not all kayaks have tracks though, so you need to consider yours first. You can either invest in a separate track or just find a kayak rod holder that doesn’t have such a mechanism.

For most people, getting a track is a better choice because it allows room for all kinds of extras and attachments.

A little versatility won’t hurt. HiUmi Twin Pack Rod Holder is one of the most advanced units from this point of view.

HiUmi Twin Pack Rod Holder

  • Includes 2 Side Mounts and 2 Bottom Mounts for versatile installation.
  • Rugged, durable, and corrosion-resistant construction ensures long-lasting performance.
  • Its open design accommodates all types of rods and reel systems with ease.

Rod holding capacity

Generally speaking, many kayak rod holders can take most rods out there. After all, poles and reels don’t really weigh too much. But then, if you have a special rod that weighs a lot, you may need to consider the capacity.

The bad news is many holders don’t include this specification because they’re solid, well put together, and can take heavy rods too. The fish weight is just as important in the process. If you go for large fish, you may need a larger and more potent holder.

Although the capacity is not always mentioned, you can tell holders like YakAttack Omega Fishing Rod Holder can take a good beating and may even support heavy old fashioned rods.

YakAttack Omega Fishing Rod Holder

Top Rod Holder for Maximum Capacity

  • Works flawlessly with various reel types, including spinning, casting, and larger conventional reels, offering versatility for all anglers.
  • Ensures spinning reels are stored naturally in a downward position, enhancing convenience and protection.
  • With a 360-degree rotating collar, it swiftly secures rods by capturing the reel, providing easy access or maximum security as needed.


Kayak rod holders are normally inexpensive, but you can still find holders that cost two or three times more than others. Normally, anything in the $25 range will give you a decent option. More is usually better, at least in terms of capacity. Don’t spend a fortune though.

Some holders, like Hitorhike Fishing Rod Holder, come in packs of two, offering excellent value for money.

Hitorhike Fishing Rod Holder

Top-Value Rod Holder

  • Compatible with spinning, fly, boat, and baitcasting reels, offering versatility for most kayaks with adjustable positioning.
  • Crafted from high-impact resistant DU PONT ABS material, it ensures longevity and eco-friendliness.
  • Backed by a 120-day money-back guarantee and a 3-year warranty against defects, ensuring a confident purchase.


The primary purpose of a kayak rod holder is to support your rod, nothing else. Therefore, apart from getting a sturdy unit, you also need one with a good grip for your rod. It has to stay in place, no matter what kind of fish you go for.


Make sure you go for a rod holder that offers great flexibility and adjustability. The rod holder should flex 90 degrees or more vertically, as well as 360 degrees horizontally.

This way, you’ll be able to install all kinds of rods, not to mention the possibility of adjusting them on the go.

Of course, the holder should also lock in place once you find the perfect position. You don’t want your rod to move around due to water movements.


Last, but not least, pay attention to the build as well. Kayak rod holders are normally small and compact. They should be able to hold most rods without showing any weaknesses.

However, apart from a hard plastic material that resists corrosion, you also want to pay attention to installation fixtures.

For example, flimsy screws won’t give you the best installation. Your rod will wobble with water movements. It’s not just annoying, but also problematic once you catch fish, as the unit may fall into the water.

Tips and tricks for an easy kayak rod holder installation

Installing kayak rod holders depends on more factors. For example, you need to consider the type of kayak and its construction, but also your rods. Then, think about where you’re fishing, what kinds of waters you prefer, and what size the fish are.

When installing holders, make sure they’re out of the way. Even if you decide to stop somewhere and fish without moving, rods should still be out of the way. You need to be able to paddle with no restrictions at all if any unexpected situations arise.

Holders shouldn’t be in the way when casting either.

Most anglers install holders themselves. Like for any other DIY project, if there’s drilling involved or other permanent changes, make sure you measure three times and drill once.

Such a mistake could ruin your kayak or force you to install the holder in the wrong place, only because there are no other options. Consider the type of rod holder you have, whether it would go and use tape for a flimsy installation first, just to see what it would feel like. Only then you can proceed with the drill.


Still unsure about the best kayak rod holders?

Can I attach kayak rod holders without drilling?

Most people are a bit hesitant when it comes to drilling their kayaks. Some clamp holders are handy in this case, but at the same time, they’re not super sturdy. Getting a separate track might be a better idea. Clamps are right for occasional fishing enthusiasts, but a dedicated fisherman will need sturdiness.

How many rod holders do I need for fishing?

It’s totally up to you. At least one holder will be required if you have one rod. For more rods, simply get more holders. Most fishing enthusiasts take out their whole range of rods when out on water. A basic setup includes a few rods behind the seat and one on the deck.

Where is the best place to put rod holders in a kayak?

Generally speaking, you can install rod holders on your kayak wherever you feel it’s more convenient, so feel free to experiment. Most people simply install them behind the seat, so they’re not in the way if they have to paddle or do something else. The front part of the cockpit is also a good idea.

What are the other uses for kayak rod holders?

Kayak rod holders offer support for other things as well. For example, you can also use them to secure a waterproof camera and film your trips, whether you go shipping or you just find a beautiful place on the water. As long as it fits and can be secured, anything can fit on a rod holder.

What are the best kayak rod holder brands out there?

There are many brands out there, some of them better known than others. Names like YakAttack, Shamrock Paddling, RAM Mounts, Scotty, HiUmi, Kemimoto, Railblaza, and Hitorhike are among the most popular ones.

But at the end of the day, kayak rod holders are not very sophisticated mechanisms, so any type of unit that’s sturdy and well put together will do a decent job.

Final words

You don’t necessarily have to be a professional angler to consider kayak rod holders. They’re suitable for anyone who likes fishing, whether you go out with friends every weekend or you’d like some fresh fish on a camping trip.

Kayak rod holders give you the freedom to do other things while fishing. It’s perfectly normal, no one wants to hold rods for hours without moving. They come with a series of benefits, but most importantly, they’ll add to your convenience while on the waters.

There are different types of rod holders out there. Some of them are easier to install than others. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages and what works for some people won’t work for everyone else.

That’s why it’s important to assess your personal needs first. Become familiar with the main types of kayak rod holders, and what they imply, and then you can make a more informed decision.

About the author

My name is Brock Browning. I’m the founder of I have a passion, for kayaking that runs through my veins. It has driven me to create a central hub where everything related to kayaking comes to life.

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