For many kayak anglers, the addition of a quality fishing rod holder is the first step to customising their craft to suit their specific needs. With a huge range of products to choose from, various mounting systems, and brand ecosystems to wade through, it can be difficult to know which rod holder is right for you.

HWS assistant manager Andrew and I (James) provide our insight on choosing the best rod holder for your fishing kayak based on over 26 years of combined experience selling, using and most importantly fishing from kayaks.

Don’t feel like reading? Our go-to recommendation for the best all-around rod holder for kayak fishing is the Railblaza Rod Holder II.

The HWS pro team's Russell Babekuhl on board a Hobie Outback fishing kayak

Types of Rod Holders

Broadly speaking there are two basic forms the majority of rod holders will come in; tube style and locking style.

Tube Style

A tube-style rod holder is a simple and efficient design that maximises the convenience of use but lacks the guaranteed security of the locking style. This design provides an easy and quick way to stow the rod, typically in an upright or slightly angled position with adjustability depending on the model and mounting solution.

Tube-style rod holders are popular for their straightforward functionality and rugged durability. They are able to accommodate a range of rod sizes and reel combinations. Many fishing kayaks (including all roto and thermo moulded Hobie kayaks) will come with basic tube-style rod holders moulded into the hull as standard. However, these are typically shallow and very close to the water level, so upgrading with a Kayak Rod Holder Extension is advisable for enhanced functionality.

YakAttack AR Tube Rod Holder

Locking Style

A locking-style rod holder is a more secure but slightly less convenient option that has gained a lot of popularity with kayak anglers. Locking-style rod holders feature a mechanism like an adjustable collar or a locking lever that can be tightened around the rod, ensuring that it stays put.

Locking-style rod holders typically have a smaller footprint than their tube-style counterparts which is a big factor in their popularity with kayak anglers. In addition to this, this style of rod holder offers superior adjustability, allowing you to set your rod in the most effective, accessible and comfortable position. Locking-style rod holders are the preferred option for both myself and Andrew.

Selecting Rod Holders Based on Use Case


Trolling lures for larger species requires a sturdy rod holder with locking capabilities that is robust enough to absorb the energy of a strike. The best mounting solution for a trolling rod holder is a deck mount or heavy-duty track mount. 

The YakAttack Omega Pro is our recommendation for a heavy-duty locking-style rod holder for trolling from a kayak. For added security, we recommend pairing this with the heavy-duty YakAttack MightyMount II with Backing Plate. If your kayak is fitted with Hobie H-Rail, the Hobie H-Rail Rod Holder is an extremely robust tube-style option.

YakAttack Omega track-mounted rod holder

Bait Fishing

If you’re looking to secure your rod while bait fishing it’s important you’re able to access it quickly when the fish strikes. In this case, tube style is your best bet as fiddling with a locking mechanism may lose valuable seconds and line tension, allowing the fish to shake the hook.

The Ram Rod Holder 2008 is our choice for a robust tube-style rod holder for bait fishing from a kayak. The Ram ball mount provides excellent adjustability, while the built-in tether points and reel slot will dramatically increase security.


Fish Handling

Having a convenient and secure place to stow your rod when it comes time to land and de-hook a fish ensures you keep things neat and stress-free. It only takes a quick lapse of attention or an accidental bump for your gear to end up in the water if it’s tethered, or on the bottom if it’s not.  

The Railblaza Rod Holder II is our recommendation for the best rod holder for fish-handling scenarios on your kayak. The locking collar on the RB2 is so simple and convenient to use and the excellent adjustability ensures it’s quick to angle out of the way to keep your workspace clear.


Railblaza Rod Holder II fishing rod holder and mounting system


Whether you’re pedalling or paddling, having a secure place to stow your rod while transiting between spots is a must. Key criteria for this use are easy accessibility and security as well as ensuring the holder, rod and reel are sufficiently out of the way.

The Railblaza Rod Holder II wins our recommendation for the best rod holder for transiting. Highly accessible and secure thanks to its superior locking collar, plus it has a small footprint to ensure it’s not crowding the cockpit. 


HWS staffer Andrew pedaling his Hobie Compass to work! Some have it tough!

Multiple Rod Storage

If you want the versatility of a multiple-rod set-up you’re going to need an effective solution for storage. Multiple rod storage rod holders are available in vertical tube style and the less common but situationally excellent horizontal systems.

Horizontal rod storage for up to 4 rods is standard on Hobie’s Pro Angler range of fishing kayaks or can be retrofitted using products like the Hobie H-Rail Horizontal Rod Rack or the YakAttack Bullwinkle Rod Stager. Horizontal storage is great for keeping your air space clear but is really only suitable for kayaks on the larger end of the spectrum. 

Far more common is to fit multiple tube-style vertical rod holders to the storage crate or livewell on the kayak’s rear deck. Fitting multiple Hobie H-Rail Rod Holders to a Hobie H-Crate or adding extra YakAttack Tether Tubes to those already present on the YakAttack BlackPak Pro range is a simple and highly effective way to increase rod stowage.

We recommend the Railblaza RodStow Vertical Rod Storage Systems as the best multi-rod storage solution for kayaks. Available in single, double or triple configurations, this system can be mounted to almost any storage crate, milk crate, bait tank or esky for a highly cost-effective solution that works with what you’re already using.

Railblaza RodStow Tripple vertical fishing rod storage system for up to three rods

Kayak Rod Holder Mounting Systems

Thanks to the rise in the popularity of kayak fishing we are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to mounting rod holders on our craft. Long gone are the days of retrofitting boating-focused products with major brands like Railblaza, YakAttack, Ram, Scotty and others offering an impressive range of mounting solutions to suit almost any application.

You will be able to choose between deck mounts, rail mounts, track mounts and even stick-on mounts for inflatables when it comes time to mount your new rod holder to your kayak. But which is right for you?

Deck Mounts

Deck mounts provide the most secure and robust mounting solution making them perfect for higher-load applications like trolling or for those who treat their gear rough. The downside is that they typically only accept one accessory at a time, they are locked to a single position and their strength comes at the cost of multiple new holes in your craft.

All the major brands offer high-quality deck mount solutions suitable for rod holders and various other accessories.

Railblaza Rod Holder II with StarPort HD deck mount

Track Mount

Track mounts offer a durable and versatile mounting solution that will handle your rod holder and any other accessories you might purchase like fishfinder or camera mounts. Many fishing-focused kayaks will come with a track system included to facilitate this. Hobie’s Passport, Compass, Outback and Pro Angler kayaks all come with H-Track as standard. You can also retrofit or add an extra accessory track if needed. 

All the major brands offer track mounting options for their kayak rod holders. YakAttack has centred their entire range around track-based accessories making them a particularly strong contender for track-based systems.

Various Railblaza rod holders mounted to a Hobie fishing kayak using Railblaza TracLoader StarPort Mounts

Rail Mount

Traditionally, rail mounts for standard tubular railing were prone to slipping and weren’t the best option for mounting accessories like rod holders. That was until Hobie introduced its patented 12-sided H-Rail. A length of H-Rail provides unmatched positioning and plenty of space for multiple accessories should you choose to add them.

H-Rail is available as standard on Hobie’s Outback and Pro Angler models and also comes built into the Hobie H-Crate. You can retrofit H-Rail to any kayak using the Standard Hobie H-Rail Kit and we also stock specific kits for retrofitting H-Rail to Lynx, Outback and Pro Angler.  

All the major brands offer H-Rail-compatible mounting solutions for their rod holders and other accessories. Browse the full range of Hobie H-Rail accessories and mounts here.

YakAttack MightyMount Duo Rail Adapter accessory mount used to attach a YakAttack fishing rod holder to the H-Rail on a Hobie fishing kayak

Inflatable Mount

Similar to a standard deck mount but without the screws, these mounting points are glued to the deck of your inflatable kayak to create a relatively robust mounting solution for rod holders and other accessories. While we wouldn’t recommend you ask them to stand up to strike loads, they are perfect for the fish handling and transiting roles.

Both YakAttack and Railblaza offer high-quality inflatable mounts for attaching a rod holder to an inflatable kayak or other craft. It will be important you keep an eye on the contact patch, the glue joint will degrade over time and always ensure you leash anything you can’t bear to lose. 

Railblaza RibPort accessory mount for inflatable watercraft


When choosing which rod holder is right for your fishing kayak you must first decide between a tube style or locking style. Next think about how you will use your rod holder, be it trolling, bait fishing, fish handling, during transit or for multiple rod storage. Finally, consider how you want to mount the rod holder.

We’ve offered our top recommendations based on over 26 years of combined experience selling, using and fishing from kayaks as;

  • The Railblaza Rod Hoder II is the best all-rounder
  • The YakAttack Omega Pro is the best for trolling
  • The Ram Rod Holder 2008 is the best for bait fishing
  • The Railblaza Rod Hoder II is the best for fish handling
  • The Railblaza Rod Hoder II is the best for transiting
  • The Railblaza RodStow Vertical Rod Storage System is the best for storing multiple rods

If you’re still unsure then feel free to get in touch, we’re always happy to share our expertise to find the right set-up for your specific needs. You can also browse our extensive range of kayak fishing rod holders, mounts and accessories in our online store, with fast shipping Australia-wide. 

About the Author

HWS Managing Director James Kilpatrick

James Kilpatrick founded Hunter Water Sports (HWS) in 2012 and has been its managing director ever since. With over 18 years in the marine and fishing industry and a passion for kayak fishing both recreational and competitive, James is an expert in all things Hobie kayaks.