Best Fishing Rod Holders Reviewed & Rated

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.

With the rocking of a boat or fishing kayak and the help of a rod holder, you can even use them to jig for bottom fishing. Using a rod holder also allows you to rotate while fishing avoiding wear and tear on the fishing rod when a large fish strikes.

Finding the right rod holder can be a challenge due to the available variety; luckily this buying guide will get you on your way to making an informed decision.

Standout Picks

Scotty #265
This is one of the best rod holders out there since it is so versatile. It has an innovative compact design and allows hands free trolling with a fly rod.
Amazon Link
$25.19
Amarine-Made
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.
Amazon Link
Scotty 284-BK
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!
Amazon Link
$24.99
Scotty 279 BK
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.
Amazon Link
$16.54
CE Smith Tournament
Getting organized when fishing is essential. Make sure you are taking care of your rods by keeping them in rod holders like this one.
Amazon Link
SeaSense
Keep your rods out of the way and organized with this 3-rod holder. 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!
Amazon Link
$16.79
Attwood
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.
Amazon Link
$19.99
Eagle Claw
Got a john boat and nowhere to secure your rod? Think again. Eagle Claw has you covered with this clamp on rod holder.
Amazon Link
$32.49
Cannon Downrigger
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.
Amazon Link
Scotty #230 Powerlock
With a full 360 degrees of horizontal rotation and an easy to use lock, the Scotty #230 Powerlock Rod Holder will not only keep your rod secure but allow you access to it at a moment's notice.
Amazon Link
$21.99
Stealth Quick-Release
As the name implies, the Stealth Quick-Release Rod Holder is designed to offer you maximum control over your rod. It releases from the holder almost instantly, which is important when setting a hook or fighting a difficult catch.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Style

For freshwater: rod holders 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.

For saltwater: when it comes to fishing in saltwater, look for stainless steel, aluminum zinc or brass material. Stainless steel and chrome brass are ideal since they are less likely to corrode than the other metal materials that are often used in rod holders.

Clamp-on Mounts, Flush Swivel: flush mount holders are inserted into existing holders to keep the rod at a 30 degrees angle or vertical. You can also drill holes into your boat or kayak to fit the rod holders wherever you like them.

If you fish for big game fish, it is better to choose a pivoting base as these enable the rod to move and rotate, lowering the chance of a fishing line that frays or pins that shear off. These are used just for boats and not kayaks or pontoon boats.

Clamp-on rod holders are very 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.

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 or boats 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.

Materials

We pay great attention to the kind of material that is used in the rod holder. First of all, the quality of the material is one of the most critical things which determines the longevity of the fishing rod holders. Our rating is based on the quality of the material to a great extent. We base our recommendation based on the quality of plastic or steel.

Brand

One of the most critical factors kept in mind while formulating this list has been to look into the reputation of the manufacturers. Most of the product in this list are by well-reputed and highly trusted manufacturers who have a good reputation of providing quality fishing rod holders in the market. Most of these manufacturers specialize in trading fishing-related equipment, and thus their specialization makes them more reliable.

These products do not have any significant drawbacks. However, there are certain areas of improvements of minor significance. For example, some of the materials used in these products are too thin. Therefore, those rod holders may not be suitable for regular heavy use. Also, some rod holders are more substantial than the others; carrying them over long distance may become a burden at times.

Top 10 Picks

1. Scotty #265

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$25.19
Scotty #265
Amazon Link

This is one of the best rod holders out there since it is so versatile. It has an innovative compact design and allows hands free trolling with a fly rod.

Read more

Take it anywhere

Versatility is key when you are fishing. That’s why I love this rod holder. It is fully adjustable and even comes with a safety strap No. 411 Locking Post is also included.

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.

Decision Time

You could easily pay more for a rod holder and get less than what you get with the Scotty 265 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 multitask for me so I don’t need to spend so much on gear and have to carry too many things with me.

Amazon Link
$25.19

2. Amarine-Made

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Amarine-Made
Amazon Link

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.

Read more

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”!

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.

Amazon Link

3. Scotty 284-BK

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$24.99
Scotty 284-BK
Amazon Link

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!

Read more

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 types of rod holder. No matter what type of rod you have, it will be securely mounted on your boat.

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.

Amazon Link
$24.99

4. Scotty 279 BK

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$16.54
Scotty 279 BK
Amazon Link

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.

Read more

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 just mentioned.

Decision Time

Obviously only for Scotty rod holder users.

Amazon Link
$16.54

5. CE Smith Tournament

Where to buy
Amazon Link
CE Smith Tournament
Amazon Link

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

Read more

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 is 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.

Decision Time

Just when you think you can’t bring any more 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.

Amazon Link

6. SeaSense

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$16.79
SeaSense
Amazon Link

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

Read more

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.

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 be strapped or be 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.

Amazon Link
$16.79

7. Attwood

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$19.99
Attwood
Amazon Link

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.

Read more

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.

Amazon Link
$19.99

8. Eagle Claw

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$32.49
Eagle Claw
Amazon Link

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

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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 john 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.

Decision Time

Stop stepping all over your rods in your canoe or john 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.

Amazon Link
$32.49

9. Cannon Downrigger

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Cannon Downrigger
Amazon Link

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.

Read more

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 screw it back in 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.

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.

Amazon Link

10. Scotty #230 Powerlock

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$21.99
Scotty #230 Powerlock
Amazon Link

With a full 360 degrees of horizontal rotation and an easy to use lock, the Scotty #230 Powerlock Rod Holder will not only keep your rod secure but allow you access to it at a moment's notice.

Read more

Ease of Access:

The powerlock is easy to use, and depending on your circumstances you can leave it disengaged to improve ease of access when you hook a fish. Unless you're using a very heavy rod, you won't have an issue with it falling out of the holder with the lock off. It features a full 360 degrees of horizontal rotation, though it may not rotate as smoothly with heavier rods. The mount is designed to work well with most sizes of kayaks, and the holder itself is easy to detach from the mount.

Decision Time:

This rod holder is a bit on the expensive side, but that comes with added stability, quick access to the rod, and the ability to be mounted on most any size kayak. This new addition is one of the best rod holders on our list, and we suggest you check it out for yourself!

Amazon Link
$21.99

11. Stealth Quick-Release

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Stealth Quick-Release
Amazon Link

As the name implies, the Stealth Quick-Release Rod Holder is designed to offer you maximum control over your rod. It releases from the holder almost instantly, which is important when setting a hook or fighting a difficult catch.

Read more

Ease of Access:

This rod holder offers a strong grip, designed to prevent unnecessary vibrations or rattling when trolling or reeling with the rod in the holder. Even with this strong grip, it features a unique quick-release system so you can keep optimal control over your rod when it counts the most. And as I'm sure you know, control is very important when fishing. It can be used anywhere the base can be mounted: a kayak, a boat, or even a dock.

Decision Time:

One of the newer brands in the industry, Stealth has made a high-quality rod holder with features that set it apart from the rest. The quick-release system means maximum control when you need it the most, and the optional locking strap will ensure the rod stays secure.

Amazon Link

Sources

  1. Jessica Macdonald, The 8 Best Fishing Rod Holders to Buy in 2018, Article