Scotty Rod Holder Review: The Best Kayak Rod Holder

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So you’ve bought a new kayak, or maybe even picked up a secondhand kayak, and you’re thinking about how you’re going to slay the fish on the water. Fishing from a kayak is, in my opinion, one of the best forms of fishing you can do. You start to think about how you’re going to fish, and you realize that you can’t paddle and hold your fishing rod at the same time. 

So what are the options?

Most fishing kayaks that I have seen come with fishing rod holders, but they are generally cast into the mould of the kayak. These mouldings position the rods at a near-vertical position, leaving them useless for active fishing. They are often placed behind the seat, making reaching for fishing rods difficult without jeopardizing stability. If you do use them for active fishing, there is a risk of high sticking your rods and snapping them.

The best thing to do in this situation is to buy some purpose-built rod holders that do the job far better. And for me, the best kayak rod holders are the Scotty ones.

Scotty Rod Holders in Detail

So, what do Scotty fishing rod holders offer that other brands don’t? And what are their key features? One of the things I like about the Scotty rod holders and their mounts is their locking ability and the gear teeth. This is opposed to the cup and ball mount, which some other brands have. I have heard of the ball mount giving way when large fish attack a bait (or lure) and the rod holder moving toward the strike.

Scott Rod Holder Setups to Consider

Front Two Fishing Rod Holders (Both Sides)

Scotty #244L-BK Locking Flush Deck Mount w/ Rain Cap (Black)

The reason that I used this model is that when positioned over the in-hull rod holder mounts, the holes required to be drilled are only the size of the screws. This brings me to something that you’ll need to do when fitting rod holders and drilling holes in your new kayak. This is extremely painful and hard to do to a new kayak. If you don’t have confidence in doing this, get a friend who may be a bit more handy to help. It’s also worth noting that drilling into the hull may void your warranty and may cause the kayak to no longer be waterproof. (insert some legal stuff here)

Middle Two Rod Holders (Both Sides)

In my Hobie Outback 2015 model, I have fitted these in the cutouts near the gear netting. I used a hole saw; from memory, it was 32mm (or 1 ¼ inches). As with all advice, double-check everything yourself before you do something that can not be underdone. This hole saw should do if you don’t already have one. You could also ask a friend if they have any hole saws; 32 mm is a pretty common size, so if you have a friend with a lot of tools, see if they have one. 

For locking the flush mount into the hull, you need to fix it with bolts – click on the image to purchase.

However now you won’t be able to use these where you have installed the flush mount in an existing vertical rod holder. In this case, you will need to use stainless screws. The key to getting a good seal when drilling holes for screws is to drill the hole slightly smaller than required. From memory, I used a 5.5mm drill hole and M6 – 316 stainless nuts and bolts. I also use 316 nylon bolts and 316 stainless washers.

If you have a Hobie 2015 model, you may be able to place the mounts in the gear trays. I bought these Scotty mounts, and they worked really well.

Once you have your mounts in, you’ll need the fishing rod holders themselves, actually, before you get there; if you want, you might want to use these extenders. I have these placed in the two-rod holders closest to me. This moves the rod out from the center of the kayak so the but of the rods are not encroaching on the middle of the kayak.

The Rod Holders Themselves

For the rod holders, I am a fan of this specific model below; it has a locking strap that I have over the top. With these rod holders, I am yet to lose a single rod overboard, but I have broken my fair share high sticking.

These work really well with spinning reels, but there are other options that may be viable. 

I also have a pair of these extenders for my rod holders at the front to help give clearance of the rods from the hull.

All up, I find this combination works really well, and the Scotty Rod Holders have been going strong for over 6 years in my kayak. So, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them and give them a 5/5 star rating. Try PartsVu if you are looking for a wide range of rod holders from Scotty and other brands.

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Hamish Cross is an experience kayak fisherman. He's out on the water as often as possible and writes for Tackle Village on kayak fishing techniques and tackle.
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