How to Install Stainless-Steel Rod Holders on Fiberglass Boats

How to Install Stainless-Steel Rod Holders on Fiberglass Boats

If you're like most fishermen, you've got a story or two to tell about the big fish that got away. This often occurs when you have to put your rod down to operate the boat, eat lunch or dinner, or otherwise do something that requires the use of your hands. Installing rod holders on your vessel provides an excellent way to keep the big fish from slipping away. Here's what you need to know:

Rod Holder Materials

Rod holders are made from a variety of materials, including aluminum, fiberglass, nylon, and stainless steel. Stainless-steel rod holders are recommended for their durability, longevity, overall strength, and rust resistance. Even if you decide to use a different material for the holder itself, always strive to use stainless-steel hardware for optimal functionality. It's also advisable to place the holders within arm's reach of where you're usually sitting on the boat so that you'll have quick access when you get a bite. You'll also have to carefully consider placing if you've decided in favor of having multiple rod holders on your boat—which is highly recommended for those who routinely enjoy fishing trips with family and friends in tow. It's also essential to be mindful of the angle in which they're placed on the gunwale so that the rods don't interfere with one another.

Choosing Locations for Rod Holders

Before you make a final decision on where to install a fishing rod holder on your fiberglass boat, make sure there's no wiring, plumbing, or other equipment that may possibly interfere with the placement. Carefully tape the area where you are going to install a stainless-steel rod holder to protect the fiberglass surface from being scratched or otherwise damaged. Also be sure that you mark the center of the hole on the tape.

Making the Cut

The stainless-steel rod holder comes with a footprint that ensures that the size flange of the rod holder will cover the existing screw holes (please note, this is for Bluewater rod holders only). The standard angle to use is 90 degrees off the centerline—no matter which angle you choose. However, always double-check the clearance under the gunwale using a straight edge before proceeding any further. After you've made sure everything is free and clear under the gunwale and that the angle you've chosen is good to go, use your drill to make a pilot hole where you want to install the stainless-steel rod holder to get the process started. Check it one more time with the straight edge to ensure that it's aligned to your preference—keep in mind that it's much easier to double-check as you go than it is to double back and undo things for the purpose of redoing them to the desired specifications.

When everything is in place and double-checked, it's time to use your drill to cut out the hole for the rod holder. The hole needs to be cut at the same angle as the rod holder that is being installed. Once the cut has been made, place the rod holder in the hole to make sure it's a proper fit. Using your side-cutting bit on your drill, insert the rod holder again to make sure it's flush with the gunwale. Remove the protective tape, drop the rod holder back into the hole, and install the spacer and backing nut that comes with the rod holder (only with Bluewater rod holders). Then tighten everything down as tight as possible. For the best results, pull the rod holder back and forth several times to allow more room for the unit to be tightened down tighter, and make sure to bed your rod holder with a gasket or sealant.

The final step is to perform a thorough clean-up using an alcohol rag, and you're ready to get on with the serious business of catching fish. To learn more about rod holders or to purchase today, contact our team at GemLux.