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Best Kayak Fishing Rod Holder for 2022: Which is the Right Pick for You?

Written by: Pete D
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Rod holders are one accessory no angler can be without. From trolling to security, they’re ubiquitous because they’re necessary.

A good rod holder needs to be secure while gently cradling your rod and reel. It also needs to be adjustable and easy to install.

The good news is that with modern composites, the top brands can deliver awesome performance without emptying your wallet!

If you’re in the market for a new rod holder, we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find reviews of some of the best rod holders out there, as well as a complete buying guide to help you make the right pick for your needs and budget

Quick glance at the best kayak fishing rod holders:

Related:

Best Kayak Rod Holders Reviewed

Cannon Three-Position Adjustable Track Mounted Rod Holder

Cannon 2450169-1 Three-Position Adjustable Track Mounted Rod Holder, Black Composite

Amazon 

Cannon’s rod holders are well respected, and from Florida to Alaska, Maine to southern California, you’ll find their systems wherever anglers take kayak fishing seriously.

The standard mounting system for Cannon rod holders is a flat based model that accepts four screws that lock it firmly in place. Since the junction articulates through a very wide range of motion, these bases can be top- or side-mounted, allowing for plenty of options on your ‘yak.

And with optional bases that fit Cannon rails, the available mounting options are versatile and easy to use since you need only detach your rod holder and slide it into a different base.

They lock firmly in place while still rotating through 360 degrees.

The rod holder itself is composed of tough, durable, no-nonsense thermoplastic, accommodating either spinning or casting tackle. A locking ring holds your rod no matter how hard waves might rock your kayak, and there’s literally no risk that your expensive tackle will end up in the drink.

Strong enough to enable trolling, these are a great accessory when you’re fishing for walleye or crappie, where slow speeds are ideal.

Overall, it’s very hard not to like Cannon’s adjustable rod holders, explaining their enduring popularity with anglers everywhere.

Pros:

  • Excellent bases that can side or top mount
  • Very adjustable
  • Strong and durable
  • Holds rods securely
  • Works with spinning or casting tackle
  • Aftermarket parts allow rail mounting as well

Cons:

  • ???

RailBlaza Starport Rod Holder II

RAILBLAZA Rod Holder II and Starport HD Base

Amazon 

RailBlaza’s mounting systems are simply awesome, and it comes as no surprise that they manufacture an excellent rod holder that’s compatible with all of them: the MiniPort, StarPort, SidePort, RailMount, and RIBPort.

RailBlaza’s excellent Starport Rod Holder II is a universally compatible product with their mounting hardware, though it comes with a standard screw-in base. Adjustable through 360 degrees horizontally and more than 90 degrees vertically, it can be mounted to the side or top of your yak.

I really like the release mechanism RailBlaza has designed, and it’s mighty secure while being very easy to operate.

The rod holder is made from ultra-durable thermoplastic, and the locking ring holds spinning or casting tackle like the rod owes it money.

It’s a great system for trolling from your kayak, too, and it’s plenty strong for large fish.

If you’re a fan of Railblaza’s track systems, this is an awesome rod holder that deserves the praise it gets from fans the world over.

Pros:

  • Excellent bases that can side or top mount
  • Very adjustable
  • Strong and durable
  • Holds rods securely
  • Works with spinning or casting tackle
  • Aftermarket parts allow rail mounting as well

Cons:

  • ???

Scotty 280

Scotty #280-BK Baitcaster/ Spinning Rod Holder w/ #241 Side Deck Mount (Black)

Amazon 

Scotty. That pretty much says it all for legions of kayak anglers.

Probably the most popular rod holders you’ll ever find, Scotty’s legendary 280 has proven itself in the real world, season after season after season.

The base mounts to the deck or side of your kayak via screws, and as you’d expect, it’s very secure. Fully articulable horizontally, it moves through more than 90 degrees vertically, too, just like the Cannon and RailBlaza competitors.

Scotty’s 280 easily fits casting and spinning tackle, conventional reels, and pistol-grip rods. Basically, if it’s a rod and reel, it’ll fit in the Scotty, be held securely, and be in your hands for a hookset in an instant.

It uses a soft, rubberized ban to hold your pricey rods in place, and there’s no way it’s going to damage any delicate paint.

With aftermarket accessories, this Scotty mount can be paired with Scotty tracks and other mounting options as well.

Pros:

  • Excellent bases that can side or top mount
  • Very adjustable
  • Strong and durable
  • Holds rods securely
  • Works with spinning or casting tackle
  • Aftermarket parts allow rail mounting as well

Cons:

  • ???

Yak Attack Omega

YakAttack Omega Rod Holder with LockNLoad Track Mounting Base with GT175 Generation II GearTrac 12in Mount Track, Black

Amazon 

YakAttack’s Omega rod holder is compatible with its excellent LockNLoad rail mounting system, and you can get this holder with no base, a 4-inch base, or a long 12-inch track. And unlike most brands, which design their products for their mounting systems exclusively, YakAttack’s Omega is compatible with “YakAttack MightyMounts, GearTrac, and most other kayak track systems from Scotty Fishing Products, RAM Mounts, and YakGear.”

That makes this perhaps the most versatile option on the market, and that’s something we really like, as you’re not locked into buying the same brand rod holder and track system.

The LockNLoad track attaches with screws, and the Omega pairs easily with this mount. Adjustable in both the X and Y axis, it’s a great system for mounting to the sides of your ‘yak, and it grips the rod holder with real authority.

Big fish will not rip your rod holder loose or break it, and the Omega is made from high-end thermoplastics comparable to its competitors.

Compatible with spinning and casting tackle, your rod is held in place by a strong locking ring. It’s not going anywhere until you want it to, guaranteed.

Like the other high-end rod holders we review today, it’s great for trolling, too.

Pros:

  • Excellent track system available from YakAttack
  • Pairs with a wide range of track systems
  • Very adjustable
  • Strong and durable
  • Holds rods securely
  • Works with spinning or casting tackle

Cons:

  • ???

PLUSINNO Clamp-Mounting Rod Holder

PLUSINNO Fishing Boat Rods Holder with Large Clamp Opening 360 Degree Adjustable Fishing Rod Racks Folding Holder (2 Pack)

Amazon 

Plusinno’s clamp-mounted rod holders wouldn’t be my first choice for a kayak, and their mounting systems won’t work on a sit-on-top fishing kayak. But for anglers who fish from a rec kayak and who don’t want to mount a base for a rod holder, they’ll work well enough to be a help rather than a hindrance.

Plusinno uses a standard clamp that’s designed to attach to the gunwale of a Jon boat or small aluminum boat. 

But it works well on the cockpit of a sit-inside, and it does away with the need to drill and place screws.

The rod holder itself is a bit cheap in comparison with Cannon, RailBlaza, Scotty, and YakAttack, but it works well enough as long as the base is kept tight. It spins through 360 degrees horizontally and more than 90 degrees vertically.

It should accommodate casting and spinning tackle, and it’s easy to keep your rod in place until you need it.

I wouldn't recommend trolling with the Plusinno, as I’m not sure it’ll hold up to that.

But for anglers with rec kayaks who fish occasionally, this rod holder makes installation a snap.

Pros:

  • Works well with recreational kayaks
  • No drilling necessary
  • Very adjustable
  • Holds rods securely
  • Works with spinning or casting tackle

Cons:

  • Isn’t as strong as its competitors
  • Won’t work with most fishing kayaks

What to Look for When Buying a Kayak Rod Holder

Pick your mounting system - then your rod holder

The major brands - Cannon, Scotty, RailBlaza, and YakAttack - are durable, easy to mount, and secure, everything you want in a rod holder.

I think it’s fair to say that they’re roughly equal in performance, so what separates them is the mounting system you prefer.

What I mean by that is that the best way to pick a rod holder is to select the mounting system you like best and then pick a compatible rod holder.

In the case of rec kayaks, this is still true, but if you prefer a no-drill solution, your options will be limited to the Plusinno.

Durability

Rod holders are removable, and any good design should be pretty easy to dismount. 

That said, they’ll still take a beating from the sun, and they need to be built tough to survive the knocks and bumps of paddles, docks, and other hazards they’ll face on the water.

Cannon, Scotty, RailBlaza, and YakAttack use roughly comparable thermoplastics that are tough as nails.

They’ll last for years and can take the abuse Mother Nature will dish out.

The Plusinno rod holder isn’t quite as robust long term.

Compatibility

Look for rod holders that can accept both spinning and casting tackle, as well as pistol-grip rods.

All the models on our shortlist can accommodate any rod and reel you’re using.

Adjustability

Rod holders need to be able to articulate through 360 degrees on the horizontal plane and at least 90 degrees on the vertical. That allows you to adjust them when you’re running more than one, keep them out of harm’s way, and set up trolling rods, for instance.

Every product on our shortlist is highly adjustable.

Grip

A rod holder’s principal job is to keep your rod safe and sound.

They need to hold firm when your kayak is rocking, in emergencies like rolling your ‘yak, and when you hook a big fish with the rod in the holder.

You can trust the high-end rod holders we review to do just that, but I wouldn’t recommend the Plusinno for trolling.

Final Thoughts

Rod holders are kayak essentials, and the good news is that you’re spoiled for awesome choices.

Whichever mounting system you prefer, there’s a capable rod holder just waiting to be attached to your ‘yak, and we can guarantee you’ll be happy with any of the products on our list.

We hope that this article has helped inform your choice, and as always, we’d love to hear from you.

Please leave a comment below!

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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