5 Best Trolling Rod Holders for Boats (2021 Buying Guide)

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best for Most Anglers: PLUSINNO Fishing Boat Rods Holder
“This clamp-on rod holder works on any boat and can rotate to any angle you need. If you’re looking for a great overall rod holder that’s easy to install, it’s hard to beat this one from Plussino.”

Best Premium Option: Amarine Made Stainless Steel Outrigger
“Whether you’re fishing large trolling lures or just want to spread out your baits, outriggers are your best bet. These rod holders from Amarine give you the outrigger spread without the fuss of installing huge and complicated outriggers on your boat.”

Best Budget Option: Wise 6039 Twin Pack Rod Holder
“This side-mounted rod holder excels in giving you a strong and stable base for your rods. The fact that this one comes in a two-pack makes it a great budget buy without compromising on strength.”

Check Other Models on Amazon

Whether you’re trolling for big lake fish or saltwater pelagic species, rod holders are a must. It’s extremely difficult to stand and hold your rod while trolling, and you’ll usually want to troll more than one bait at a time. Without rod holders, your rods end up on the boat deck where they can get stepped on, thrown around, and broken. Rod holders you can trust are essential for all anglers. 

The best rod holders are easy to install and use, strong enough to hold up to strikes, and corrosion resistant. You also want the right size and fit for your boat. 

There are a ton of rod holders on the market, and choosing the right one for you isn’t easy. We’ve done the testing to provide you a list of the best trolling rod holders that will fit your needs.

Sources researched
19
Sources researched
Customer reviews
15,325
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
12
Hours spent testing
Products tested
5
Products tested
Product Name
Best For Most Anglers
Best Budget Option
Our ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
PLUSINNO Fishing Boat Rods Holder with Large Clamp Opening 360 Degree Adjustable Fishing Rod Racks Folding Holder
Amarine Made (Set of 2 Silver Highly Polished Stainless Steel Outrigger Stylish Rod Holder
Wise 6039 Twin Pack Rod Holder with 2 Side Mounts, Black
Our grade
Our Rating 91/100
Our Rating 89/100
Our Rating 89/100
Feature 1
Universal design for reel styles
Angled to the sides to spread out lines behind the boat
Multiple angle settings
Feature 2
Easy installation and high durability
Vinyl lined protects your rod from damage
Universal fit rod holder
Best For Most Anglers
Our ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
PLUSINNO Fishing Boat Rods Holder with Large Clamp Opening 360 Degree Adjustable Fishing Rod Racks Folding Holder
Our grade
Our Rating 91/100
Feature 1
Universal design for reel styles
Feature 2
Easy installation and high durability
Best Premium Option
Our ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Amarine Made (Set of 2 Silver Highly Polished Stainless Steel Outrigger Stylish Rod Holder
Our grade
Our Rating 89/100
Feature 1
Angled to the sides to spread out lines behind the boat
Feature 2
Vinyl lined protects your rod from damage
Best Budget Option
Our ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Wise 6039 Twin Pack Rod Holder with 2 Side Mounts, Black
Our grade
Our Rating 89/100
Feature 1
Multiple angle settings
Feature 2
Universal fit rod holder

Best Trolling Rod Holders

Here are our top picks for the best trolling rod holders for boats:

1. PLUSINNO Fishing Boat Rods Holder

Best For Most Anglers: Solid clamping rod holders for any boat or kayak

PLUSINNO Fishing Boat Rods Holder with Large Clamp Opening 360 Degree Adjustable Fishing Rod Racks Folding Holder
Check Price on Amazon

KEY FEATURES

  • 1.97 or 4.75 inch wide clamps for mounting
  • Universal design for reel styles
  • Easy installation and high durability

Clamp-on rod holders are some of the easiest to install and use, with no lasting impact on your boat. These from Plussino work with any sort of reel, whether it’s a spinning reel or baitcaster. They aren’t rated for high speed trolling or large species, but for most people these rod holders will do the job. They’re ideal for freshwater fishing in small boats.

Materials

These rod holders are made from high-quality ABS and the clamps are made from stainless steel.  It will hold up in fresh or saltwater, won’t rust, and can take a beating if you slam rods into them. 

Installation and Use

After a quick setup, they’re very easy to install. Find a rail or anywhere the clamp fits over and tighten it down. You can then adjust the angle of the rod holder to fit your needs. Once secured and adjusted, you can put your rod into the holder and begin trolling.

2. Amarine Made Stainless Steel Outrigger

Best Premium Option: Spread out baits without complicated downriggers

Amarine Made (Set of 2 Silver Highly Polished Stainless Steel Outrigger Stylish Rod Holder
Check Price on Amazon

KEY FEATURES

  • Angled to the sides to spread out lines behind the boat
  • Vinyl lined protects your rod from damage
  • Quick release reel clip and safety strap keeps your rod safe

Most rod holders point directly off the back of your boat. These outrigger rod holders point off of either side, allowing you to spread out your lines and avoid tangles. These outriggers from Amarine work best for saltwater fishermen trolling offshore, but they’ll do in a pinch in fresh water as well. 

Materials

The rod holder is made primarily from stainless steel. It’s corrosion and impact resistant, and strong enough to hold up to strikes from big fish. Inside the tube is a vinyl lining that protects your rod from being damaged by the edges of the steel. As long as you rinse them off after a trip, they’ll last a very long time. 

They also feature a safety strap and quick release reel clip. This holds your rod in the holder to ensure wakes won’t shake it out. The quick release clip gives you quick access to your rod when a strike comes, while still providing the security of the strap.

Installation and Use

With most things, you’ll need to follow the instruction booklet to install these. You’ll essentially mount them on your gunwale and make sure they’re angled properly outwards. Your best bet is to use one of the holes made to hold a rod holder already bored in, or drill them yourself.

These will work best in larger trolling spreads. Use them in combination with other rod holders to fish more lines, or just when you want to spread out your baits.

3. Wise 6039 Twin Pack Rod Holder

Best Budget Option: Side mounted rod holder in a two-pack

Wise 6039 Twin Pack Rod Holder with 2 Side Mounts, Black
Check Price on Amazon

KEY FEATURES

  • Only able to be mounted on side of boat
  • Multiple angle settings
  • Universal fit rod holder

While you will need to purchase the screws to attach it separately, this side mounted rod holder is a great option for smaller boats. The side mounts take more effort to install, but provide a sturdy connection for your rods. 

Materials

The rod holders are made from a durable polymer with a black finish. The high-impact material has great durability and holds up in fresh or saltwater.

Installation and Use

You’ll need to go buy a few #12 screws before you can mount your rod holders. Once you have them, all you need to do is bolt the rod holder onto your boat anywhere you like. Adjust them to the angle you want and you’re ready to fish.

4. Hoffen Stainless Steel Fishing Rod Holder

Best Flush Mounted Rod Holder: For large boats and offshore fishing

Hoffen 2 Pack Boat Stainless Steel Fishing Rod Holder Flush Mount with PVC Cap -30 Degree (30 Degree)
Check Price on Amazon

KEY FEATURES

  • PVC insert to protect your rods
  • Gimbal rod to keep your rod from rotating
  • Rubber gap to keep water out when not in use

If you’re trolling on a larger boat, clamp-on holders aren’t an option because the sides are too thick. A flush mounted rod holder like this is your best bet to get the strongest rod holder possible.

On larger boats with thicker sides, internal rod holders are the best to use for trolling. They mount flush with your boat and provide a strong holder for higher speed trolling. This one is perfect for offshore fishermen because of its durable materials and features for stability.

Materials

The majority of the rod holder is made of non-corrosive stainless steel. Inside the holder is a PVC insert that protects your rod from any harsh edges of the rod holder. It features a rubber gasket cap that will keep water from pooling in the holder when you aren’t using it. 

Installation and Use

You’ll need to bore the proper size hole and purchase some screws to install this one. You can put multiple holders in your side boards, and choose which ones to use for trolling and which to use as storage. The gimbal bar in the bottom will keep your rod from rotating and risking bending the rod the wrong way.

5. Hoffen 360 Degree Adjustable Fishing Rod Holder

Most Adjustable Rod Holder: Any angle, any time

360 Degree Adjustable Fishing Rod Holder,Hoffen Deck Mount 316 Stainless Steel Rod Pod Rack for Marine Boat Yacht
Check Price on Amazon

KEY FEATURES

  • Most adjustable rod holder
  • Locking mechanism keeps holder in place
  • Bracket mount gives you freedom for placement

If you’re looking for the most adjustable rod holder you can find then look no further than this one. It can rotate 360 degrees and adjust the angle from horizontal to vertical.

Materials

The rod holder is made from mirror-polished stainless steel. It has a robust insert to protect your rod when in use, and all of it is extremely corrosion resistant and durable. It’s also fully adjustable and can rotate to any angle you might need or want.

Installation and Use

You’ll need to find a suitable deck to mount your rod holder on. Once you’ve chosen, simply bolt on the bracket and you’re ready to fish. Adjust the rod holder to the angle and direction you want and lock it in.


Product Features to Look for When Buying Trolling Rod Holders 

Indexing Base

Positioning can be important with your rods. Look for holders with indexing bases to allow you to turn them where you need them, and make sure your rods are positioned properly.

High Torque

High torque rod holders make sure they hold your rod in place while trolling and when the fish hits. Rod holders with this have the strength needed to stand up to hard hits, so try to look for the strongest rod holder you can find.

Infinite Tube Positioning – Positive Locking Head

If you aren’t using flush mounts, you want to be able to angle your rod the way you want or need to. Looking at rod holders like clamp ons, many have a large angle you can rotate the tube to make sure no matter where you clamp it, the rod is facing the right way. You’ll also want to be able to lock that position in, so it can’t dump your rod. Whenever you look at clamp on or bracket rod holders, try to find one with this function.

Removable Tubes

Sometimes your rod holder will get beat up through normal use. Being able to swap out the tube in your rod holder can be really helpful, so try to look for holders that give you this option.

Material 

For any rod holder, look for corrosion resistant materials that are also durable. Stainless steel, PVC, ABS, and other polymers are all solid choices. 


Different Mounting and Anchoring Methods 

For Boats, Canoes, and Kayaks

Clamp-On

Clamp on rod holders are popular for their versatility. You can use them on kayaks and other small vessels like john boats, as well as normal sized boats. They’re easy to install, just place their gap over an appropriate area and tighten them down. One of the most durable and easy-to-use clamp on rod holders is the PLUSINNO Fishing Boat Rods Holder.

Threaded

Threaded rod holders let you balance the rod in them between their rest and handle sections. They’re usually made of a coated stainless steel, and are preferred for light tackle or fishing riverbanks. With the proper size, they’re one of the easiest to quickly pull your rod out of. 

Flush Mount

Flush mount rod holders are most popular on larger boats with thicker sides. The holder is installed by drilling out a hole and is then screwed on to provide stability. They’ll usually work best for trolling on a large boat in saltwater for big game fish. We recommend this stainless steel holder from Hoffen.

For Bank Anglers

Normal Stake

A normal stake rod holder is just a piece of metal that you push into the ground and rest your rod on. The nicer ones have a slot to fit your handle through, and two prongs to help kep your rod from going side to side. They aren’t the most stable, but if you decide to go with one of these we recommend this one from South Bend.

Tubular Stake

These rod holders are most popular with surf fishermen. You can make your own or buy one, and they’re almost always made of PVC pipes. The bottom end is normally cut off at an angle to provide a sharper edge for pushing them into the sand.

Screw-In

Screw in stakes are usually curled so you can twist them into the ground. Because of this, they’re a little easier to drive into the ground than other rod holders.. They usually work best on shorter rods as they typically have shorter pipes to hold a rod in them.