How Many Rod Holders Does a Boat Need?


More rod holders are better, but is there a point when enough is enough?

Auckland Museum, CC BY 4.0 <>, High-angle_view_of_a_woman_seated_in_a_boat_with_a_fishing_rod_AM_78906-1 via Wikimedia Commons
woman_fishing_with_rod_holder via Wikimedia Commons

Some modern fishing boats have fishing rod holders lining the gunwales from stem to stern, and others come with a mere two in the stern. Which begs the question: Just how many fishing rod holders does a boat need?

Naturally, personal preference plus a range of variables comes into play. Still, we’d be hard pressed to think of a time when we looked at a boat and thought it had too many rod holders. So, what’s the minimum? Some anglers believe that at least one rod holder per foot of length overall is a good benchmark.

We like that rule of thumb, but let’s take things a little bit farther and try to nail down an ideal number.

Before we start enumerating a boat’s armaments, we’re going to lay down a few ground rules. Any angler worth his salt knows that those horizontal under-gunwale racks are best used for mops and gaffs, not fishing rods. All too often, rods get kicked, battered, and broken under there, and unless you like the idea of busting graphite on a regular basis, exclude them from your count.

Integrated rod boxes get partial credit, let’s call it 50 percent of the total capacity, since you can haul rods in them, but can’t use them while fishing. Rocket launchers at the leaning post get full points as do T-top rocket launchers, but if the launchers up top are too high to reach without standing on a cooler, only give ‘em half points.

Vertical racks on the side of a console underneath a T-top also take a 50 percent reduction, since long rods won’t fit.