Best Fishing Rod Holders Reviewed

Having your hands free when fishing is really important. Keeping your rod secure while you are busy doing other things is equally important.

The best fishing rod holders will not only secure your rods, but, they can also help you catch fish.

Some rod holders just keep your rod out of the way, while others can pivot and swivel. You can use some of these holders to troll at just the right angle. With the rocking of a boat or kayak and the help of a rod holder, you can even use them to jig for bottom fishing.

Our Top 3 Picks

Wise Twin Rod Holder
  • Wise Twin Rod Holder
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 360 degree swivel
  • Price: See Here
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Cannon Rod Holder
  • Cannon Rod Holder
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Spring loaded knob
  • Price: See Here
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Eagle Claw Rod Holder
  • Eagle Claw Rod Holder
  • 4.2 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Easy to lock
  • Price: See Here
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What Kind of Rod Holders are There?

For freshwater

Rold holder made out of fiberglass or nylon are usually good enough when fishing in freshwater. They’re good for those on a budget as they are usually low cost options. They don’t corrode but also aren’t as sturdy as metal rod holders. That’s usually alright on freshwater.

For saltwater

Aluminum, stainless steel, chrome plated brass or zinc are all strong materials for fishing in saltwater. Stainless steel and chrome plated brass are ideal since they are less likely to corrode than the other metal materials that are often used in rod holders.

Flush, Swivel/Pivot and Clamp-on Mounts

Flush mount holders that keep rods vertical or at a fixed angle of 30 degrees typically are inserted in existing holes. You can also drill holes into your boat or kayak to fit the rod holders wherever you like them.

If you go after big game fish, I recommend rod holders with a pivoting or swivel base because they allow the rod to rotate under side-pressure, minimizing the risk of frayed fishing line or sheared-off pins. Obviously, these are used just for boats and not kayaks or pontoon boats.

Clamp on rod holders are the most versatile and the best if you aren’t sure where you want to mount your rod holder. You can clamp it on where you think you will like it and if it doesn’t work out then it can be moved.

Mounting a rod holder on a kayak

Having a limited amount of space on a kayak makes it all the more important to have a few rod holders strategically placed.

Drilling a hole into your kayak can be daunting. Putting a hole into something that is supposed to float with you on it might seem like a bad idea. It’s pretty easy in actuality.

For flush mounted rod holders you can drill a circle that the rod holder drops into. It’s sealed with marine silicone and then drilled into place. When done properly there should be no leaks.

Deck mounted rod holders are the easiest to mount as you only need to drill a couple of holes where you wish to put your rod holder. They are also the most popular because you get a wide range of different types of rod holders.

Not all rod holders for kayaks need to be mounted. There are others that can be installed right into your chair or even on a milk crate. Those are not only economical, but easy to use.

Before you mount any rod holders it is a good idea to go out and do a trial run. Bring a rod with you and pretend to fish and paddle. That way you can see where the rod holder will be in easy reach or if it might end up in the way.

Mounting a rod holder on a pontoon boat

It’s very easy to mount a rod holder onto a pontoon boat. There are rod holders that are easily clamped onto a rail that are perfectly suited for use on a pontoon.

The great thing about a clamped rod holder is that it can be moved around very easily. You don’t need to commit to one spot. Since the pontoon has a rail all around the perimeter of the boat, you can put your rod holder wherever you like.

Best Fishing Rod Holders Reviews

Here below you will find in-depth reviews of the 10 best fishing rod holders for 2016, all picked by our team.

1. Fvstar Fishing Rod Holder

best fishing rod holders

This is one of the best rod holders out there since it is so versatile. It rotates 360 degrees so getting it in just the right spot is not a problem.

Take it anywhere

Versatility is key when you are fishing. That’s why I love this rod holder. It is easy to mount on a boat, kayak, pontoon and even a bridge or pier. Yes, you can mount it on the rails of a bridge or pier.

I’ve had my rod dragged across a pier and almost lost to the depths of the sea more than once. With the Fvstar rod holder, I can attach it to the pier railing and secure my rod.

Mounting this to a pontoon works the same way. If you don’t have much room on deck or just like having options, then you can put this anywhere on the railing of your pontoon.

You can mount this flush on your boat deck, or, in the cockpit of your kayak with just a couple of small drill holes.

The best part is that it can be removed. The mounting stays put, but, the holder itself comes out and can be remounted wherever you want.

Good for flyfishing

If you like to use spinning outfits and conventional and fly fishing, but don’t want a different rod holder for each different type of rod, then you are in luck. You don’t have to swap out your rod holder since this one can be used with any of those. And it’s easy to lock any of those types of rods in place.

Pros

  • 360 degree horizontal adjustment
  • Can be used for fly, spinning or conventional rods
  • 3 different mounts for rails, flush or deck
  • Stainless steel hardware
  • Easy slide lock mechanism
  • Easy grip lock for angle angle adjustment

Cons

  • Is a bit heavy

Decision Time

You could easily pay more for a rod holder and get less than what you get with the Fvstar rod holder.

Having so many options for use makes this a great tool to have. Lots of us fisherman can end up with too many tools since some of them are only good for one task. I love any product that can multi-task for me so I don’t need to spend so much on gear and have to carry too many things with me.

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2. Amarine-made Stainless Clamp on Fishing Rod Holder for Rails

best fishing rod holders

This is one solid rod holder! I love the chrome plating on the stainless steel. It looks great, but more importantly, you know it won’t be corroding anytime soon no matter where you fish.

Marine Grade Material

You won’t be spending a lot of money on this rod holder, but, that doesn’t mean that you don’t want it to last. You will get many seasons of use out of the Amarine rod holder. It’s made with marine grade chrome plating over marine grade stainless steel.  All the hardware is also made with the same material.

You can mount this on any rail either horizontally or vertically. In addition, there are 32 positions to choose from to get exactly the right angle. If you want your rod to be out over the water, then that is an option. Or it can stand straight up.

Lack of space is no longer an issue

Whatever sized boat you have, sometimes space can be limited. Luckily this rod holder can mount on the rail of your boat. If you have a guest on your boat and previously didn’t have enough rod holders, this solves that problem perfectly. Of course, it might not be a guest that needs the rod holder. If you are like many of us, you are always thinking you need “Just one more rod”!

The chrome finish makes it an ideal choice that fits in on any boat.

A nice feature to have especially when a rod holder is on a rail exposed to waves, is the hole at the bottom of the holder. Water won’t be getting trapped in the rod holder that could do damage to your rod.

Bring it with you

It may look like overkill to have a chrome plated rod holder with you at the pier or bridge. Since it is so easy to mount, it can be brought with you just about anywhere that has rails that it can attach to.

The only problem with dismounting and mounting is that you need to use an allen wrench. Make sure you don’t lose the wrench if you bring this rod holder somewhere else or if you want to move positions on your boat!

Pros

  • Made with marine grade stainless steel
  • Adjustable to 32 different position
  • Rubber insert protects your rod
  • Hole lets water out of rod holder
  • Nice looking chrome plating

Cons

  • No lock for rod
  • Use a rubber backing for tighter fit

Decision time

Form is not usually thought too much of when looking for a rod holder. Consider how this will complement the decor of just about any boat while still handling its duties. It looks great and also works great.

Little details that add up, like the rubber insert to prevent damage to your rod and the hole inside to let water out, really make this a great rod holder.  Not much thought goes into something as little as a rod holder. Getting one that makes your life easier is a bonus.

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3. Scotty Baitcaster/Spinning Rod Holder with Square Rail Mount

best fishing rod holders

Scotty is the leader in rod holders and for good reason. They cover all the bases with their designs. If you are looking for a great rod holder for your pontoon boat, look no further!

Square rail mount

Many pontoon boats have square rails. That makes it a bit difficult to mount a rod holder since so many of them have round rail mounts.

Pontoon boat owners can now have a superior rod holder mounted on their rail. This Scotty rod holder is great for either a conventional, baitcaster or spinning rod. Even pistol grip rod holders fit perfectly in this holder. This is one of the very few one size fits all type of rod holder. No matter what type of rod you have, it will be securely mounted on your boat.

Easy access with security

The feature I love best when it comes to Scotty rod holders is that it is so easy to get to your rod without too much fidgeting. The bottom of the holder is open so it is easy to get your rod in and out quickly.

Securing your rod is a snap. Literally. There is a soft latching strap that snaps on to secure your rod. Simply unsnap it and your rod is ready to go in a second. No more missed hook ups because it took too long to get at your rod.

Pros

  • Fits on square rails
  • For use with both conventional and spinning rods
  • Fits trigger grips
  • Rotates 360 degrees
  • Easy to open snap latch
  • Easy to install
  • Great for trolling

Cons

  • None

Decision Time

If you have a pontoon boat with square railings and want to be able to mount a rod, there is no reason to not get this Scotty rod holder.

Unless you are a fly fisherman, you are covered no matter what type of outfit you are fishing with. You might even want a few of these to place at various positions around your boat.

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4. Scotty Baitcaster/Spinning Rod Holder without Mount

best fishing rod holders

In the unlikely event that your Scotty rod holder breaks  there is hope. You don’t have to buy a whole new set up. You can easily buy just this replacement rod holder that attaches to any Scotty mount. Whether it’s a flush mount, or rail mount. Whether it’s on your kayak or boat. You only need to buy this part.

Scotty rod holders are made with high quality and very durable plastic. Maybe you didn’t break it. If you lost it or even just want a couple just in case, this is a great option with all of the benefits I just mentioned in the review of the Scotty rod holder.

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5. CE Smith Tournament 3 Rack Rod Holder

best fishing rod holders

Getting organized when fishing is essential. Make sure you are taking care of your rods by keeping them in rod holders like this one.

Easy access

There is always a way to find more room for more rods. That’s why this is such a great set of rod holders on our best fishing rod holders list. Get 3 more rods on board and have easy access. Many mounting holes mean it’s easy to attach to your boat, truck rack or even milk crate on your kayak.

A nice, unexpected feature are the holes for your lures and even a slot for a knife. Now you can have your rods locked and loaded and ready to go by keeping them in these rod holders lures and all.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Side slots for reels
  • Easy to mount
  • Holes for lures
  • Slot for knife

Cons

  • Plastic is a bit thin

Decision Time

Just when you think you can’t bring anymore rods out with you, you see this rod holder that fits 3 rods with lures, knife and even pliers. Now you can make some room for a few more rods without too much effort.

Great for your pontoon boat, kayak, boat or truck.

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6. SeaSense Single Piece 3 Rack Rod Holder

best fishing rod holders

Keep your rods out of the way and organized with this 3 rod holder.

Easy to mount

With easy mounting, it’s easy to find a place for 3 more rods. I’ve seen these rod holders on everything from a milk crate on a kayak to a cooler on a boat and back of a truck.

Your hooks and lures will stay safely tucked away thanks to the slots to secure them. You can even hold a couple of filet knives and a pair of pliers freeing up even more space in your tackle bag. Now you can bring even more lures with you!

Pros

  • Great price
  • Side slots for reels
  • Easy to mount
  • Holes for lures
  • Slot for knife

Cons

  • Plastic is a bit thin

Decision Time

You can’t beat the price with this set of 3 rod holders. It pays off when you have your rods and other gear safely secured and organized. If it can strapped or screwed to something, then there is space for it. You might need to be creative as to where you attach it, but you will find a spot for sure.

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7. Attwood 5009-4 Heavy Duty Adjustable Rod Holder with Combo Mount

best fishing rod holders

Keep your rod secure and easy to get to with this great rod holder. A slim profile is very discreet and does not get in your way when you are fighting the fish.

Easy access and secure

I love how small this rod holder is. It isn’t bulky so it is very easy to get your rod in and out. It locks in very easily with a swivel lock. Unlocking can be done even if you have your eyes focused somewhere else. There is a notch underneath that you can feel and simply slide the lock open. When you’re fishing, things happen quickly so it’s nice to be able to easily get access to your rod while you are distracted.

One size fits all

You can use this rod holder whether you use a conventional or spinning rod. Maybe you will be using both on your outing. It’s extremely convenient to be able to switch rods without needing to also switch your rod holder.

Either type fits in easily and securely.

Pros

  • Rapid release latch
  • Fits conventional and spinning rods
  • Variety of rod tips angles
  • Easy grip lock nut
  • Sturdy plastic doesn’t corrode

Cons

  • None

Decision Time

I am surprised how often a simple product is not simple to use. That’s why I love sticking with the ones that are both.

This is a simple rod holder that does it’s simple job well. It will keep your rod out of the way and give you easy access when the fight starts. The lock works great at keeping your rod on board where it belongs.  

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8. Eagle Claw AABRH Clamp-On Aluminum Boat Rod Holder

best fishing rod holders

Got a john boat and nowhere to secure your rod? Think again. Eagle Claw has you covered with this clamp on rod holder.

Gunwale, transom or railing

The size of the clamp is large enough to fit on most gunwales, or transoms. You can easily find a spot to keep your rod out of the way on your jon boat thanks to Eagle Claw. You might find that the clamp is actually too big depending on the width of your rail or gunwale. In that case, you can use a piece of wood to fill in the gaps and hold it very securely.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Sturdy heavy duty plastic doesn’t corrode
  • 360 degree adjustment
  • Easy grip adjuster
  • Easy to lock
  • Wide clamp

Cons

  • Wide clamp can get loose

Decision Time

Stop stepping all over your rods in your canoe or jon boat. Now you have the option to secure your rod.

It’s much easier to troll when you have your hands free to do other things. The Eagle Claw rod holder will give you many angles for your rod tip to get it right where you want it in the water.

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9. Cannon Downrigger Rod Holder

best fishing rod holders

Speed is of the essence when fishing. You need to get your rod ready for action at a moment’s notice. That’s why this rod holder is so ideal.

Spring loaded knob

This is the only rod holder that I know of with a spring loaded knob. It might not sound like a big feature, but it is. Usually you have to unscrew the knob and rescrew it to tighten. With this you can open it and close it in a second. Getting your rod tip angle to any of the 3 positions is as easy as can be this way.

In addition to that feature, the rod holder can swivel up to 360 degrees and has an easy to secure lock.  You can use either a conventional or spinning rod with this holder. The base can be mounted horizontally or vertically if you choose to mount it in the side of your boat. It has a hole on either side to accommodate the rod holder.

Pros

  • 360 degree swivel
  • 3 different rod tip angles
  • Spring loaded knob
  • Easy to lock
  • Accommodates spinning or conventional rods

Cons

  • High price

Decision Time

Yes, the price is a bit higher than most other items on our best fishing rod holders list. This will last you quite a long time. I do see it as a value because of that and the unique spring loaded knob.

I do a lot of kayak fishing and love the ability to react on the fly. This rod holder gives that ability and works like a charm.

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10. Wise Twin Pack Rod Holder with 2 Side Mounts

best fishing rod holders

Two for the price of one? Sign me up! I love when you can get a quality product like these Wise twin pack of rod holders for the same price as one of its peers.

Economy with quality

Low prices don’t mean much of the quality isn’t there. Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice quality to save a few dollars when you buy this pack of two rod holders.

They are made of the same durable high impact plastic that won’t corrode as many of its competitors.

Something to note is that these can only be side mounted if you use the mount provided. If you want these to mount horizontally you will need to buy a separate mounting for that.

That being said, these are ideal for canoes, jon boats and pontoon boats. You get 360 degree swivel action and a rod lock so you don’t lose your rod with a big strike. The rod angle is easily adjusted so you can get it to wherever you like your troll.

Pros

  • Great price
  • 360 degree swivel
  • Multiple rod tip angles
  • High impact plastic
  • Rod lock

Cons

  • May not last for years

Decision Time

When you are on a budget, you may feel like you can’t afford to get some accessories like rod holders. There’s no need to go without when you can get this pack of two rod holders for the same price as most other brands charge for one.

You may feel like you can live without them, but why should you? In fact, why live with only two? For the price you can fill your boat with rod holders!

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Final Thoughts

I honestly can’t imagine fishing without an adjustable rod holder now. Fishing out of a kayak without one is really not an option. Besides the fact that you can lose your rod overboard without one, you want to maximize the space you have. Otherwise a trip out fishing can be an exercise in frustration.

Fishing from a pier with a rod holder is also something that make your fishing experience much more enjoyable. I hate when I have a fish on and end up having to chase my rod down, or trip over my many rods set up against the railing.

Having rod holders opens up so many possibilities that it doesn’t make sense to be out on the water without them.