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If you are fishing in anything smaller than a center-console boat, you’re probably going to have to outfit the vessel with aftermarket rod holders. From johnboats and small runabouts right down to kayaks, canoes, and even one-man pontoons and cata-rafts, there’s a rod holder that can turn any small boat into a fishing-catching machine.
Most modern kayaks come with a section of T-track integrated into the hull. This feature is useful for mounting everything from rod holders to GPS, cleats, anchors, and other accessories. The nice thing about running your rod holder in the tee track is that it can slide fore and aft to place the rod just the right distance away while you are paddling, trolling, or just hanging out.
For johnboats and canoes with an exposed gunnel, it’s hard to beat a clamp-on rod holder. They are a little more cumbersome to deal with than T-track but can be placed virtually anywhere on the boat to accommodate a variety of fishing styles, from trolling for lake trout to side-pulling for crappies.
If you want to keep a clean deck, consider a deck-mounted rod holder that can be removed when not needed. That keeps the cockpit and deck free of obstructions and eliminates the chance that the holder itself will take a swim or get in the way when slinging fly line.