Tidying up Your Boat and Making It Fishing Ready

Freshwater anglers use boats a lot in their search for the best catch. These include canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, small jon boats, V-bottoms for larger waters, etc. Often they are best for one to two anglers, since most range from ten feet to 20 feet in length.

This means that they lack extra space for the essentials of fishing, after you have stored the required PFDs (or wear them—which is even better). Tackle boxes take up deck space and you still have to include several or more rigged rods.

The best way to store rods on a small freshwater fishing boat is to use rod racks. These are available from tackle shops, but you can also easily make your own.

Check with a Home Depot, Lowe’s or similar outlet for a length of PVC pipe. The best to get for your purposes is the schedule 120 (thin wall) in sizes 1-1/2 inch, 2 inch or 2-1/2 inch. The diameter you need is based on how you are going to use the pipe. For inserting handles the 2 to 2-1/2 inch diameter is best. This is ideal for vertical rod holders for sheathing handles on canoes, paddleboats and kayaks. You only need about a six- to 12-inch length to hold the handle; the tip end of the rod sticking straight up.

To keep the rods from swinging around, cut an inch-wide slot in one end to stabilize the stem of a mounted spinning reel. Cut a wider slot to do the same thing for a casting (revolving spool) rod.

For supporting rods horizontally, use 1-1/2 inch or 2 inch diameter pipe, rigging it to the inside of the boat or outside (kayaks and paddle boats) to hold a rod as a sword fits into a sheath. For the handle end, use larger diameter PVC of 2 or 2-1/2 inch into which to “back up” the handle of the rod after sheathing the tip.

You can also flare the end of the pipe. For this you will need a glass soft drink bottle, a torch to heat the pipe and a towel. Stand the bottle upright and gently heat the end of the pipe with a torch. Realize that you want to soften it—not melt it or burn it black.

With the pipe softened, hold it with a towel and slowly push it down on the neck of the bottle. (The towel is a good safety implement should the bottle break.) The bottleneck will easily flare the end of the pipe. Hold the pipe in place on the bottle until it cools.

Once you have your pipe cut to length, notched, and flared, figure out how to fasten it to your boat. In some cases, you can buy brackets for this, in other cases you may have to make brackets of pipe strapping.

With this, you have an easy way to store spinning, casting and fly rods. Using this method, I have racks for six rods on each side of my 14-foot jon boat.


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