I have a firm belief that every fishboat should have at least one rod holder per foot of LOA. A mix of rocket launchers, gunwale-mounted rodholders, and vertical rod racks is the most common and best combination, but if you buy a stock boat, you’ll almost always have to mount some additional rodholders to meet this minimum requirement. Any of the aforementioned holders are good, but some others are less than idea. You need to add some rod holders to your boat? Just stay on the lookout for these:
PLASTIC rod holders of any type are verbotin! They grow weak with age after a year or two in direct sunlight, and are guarenteed to chip, split, and splinter. Note: plastic inserts that sit inside of the holder itself are usually okay, since they aren’t exposed to constant sunlight and don’t deteriorate nearly as quickly.
SLIDE-IN RECIEVER mounts are alright for freshwater or light-duty saltwater use. But if you plan on trolling with heavy weights or leaving rods with more than five pounds of drag in them, beware – the thin metal plate that slides into the reciever will bend, on most models. If that happens when a big fish strikes, kiss your rod goodbye.
WIRE ARM holders may be okay for fishing the fresh or for small saltwater game, but don’t depend on them when a lot of stress is likely if the wire arms are thin. Again, the problem is that these can bend. Some beefier versions will do the trick, but remember that if you fail to fit the rod in properly, you could hear a big, heart-breaking splash.
CLAMP-ON rail mounts get a low grade. It’s tempting to use these since they’re so easy to install, but virtually all of them will spin on the rail sooner or later. Especially beware of those with allen-key bolts which tighten the holder to the clamp from behind. They invariably vibrate loose and in order to tighten them back up you have to remove the entire affair – that time-saving installation eventually leads to time lost to maintenance.