Home » Boat Maintenance » Fiberglass Boat Maintenance » How To Install Rod Holders On A Fiberglass Boat? 4 Simple Steps

Boat Genesis is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

how to install rod holders on a fiberglass boat - featured image

How To Install Rod Holders On A Fiberglass Boat? 4 Simple Steps

Installing rod holders on your fiberglass boat is a great way to customize it for fishing. Having dedicated spots to place your rods keeps them organized and secure while freeing up your hands.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to properly install flush mount rod holders in a fiberglass boat.

How to Install Rod Holders on a Fiberglass Boat?

1. Choosing Locations

someone adjusting rod holders on a boat

First, carefully plan out where you want to position the rod holders. Good locations are:

  • Along the gunwales on the sides of the boat
  • On the transom at the back
  • Near seating areas for easy access

Make sure the rod holders will not interfere with operating the boat or moving around. Check underneath to verify there is clearance and support to install them. Walleye Central recommends measuring and cutting wood or composite blocks to reinforce the mounting locations if needed.

2. Drill Pilot Holes

someone drilling holes on a boat for rod holders

Once you’ve chosen the spots, it’s time to drill some pilot holes:

  1. Place the rod holder upside-down and flat against the fiberglass boat at the desired angle.
  2. Trace the outline with a pencil.
  3. Drill a pilot hole in the center using a drill bit slightly smaller than the rod holder’s diameter.
  4. This will guide the hole saw and prevent the fiberglass boat from chipping.

3. Cut Mounting Holes

Next, use a hole saw to cut the actual mounting holes for the rod holders:

  1. Select a hole saw with a center bit the same size (or slightly larger) than the rod holders.
  2. Carefully cut through the fiberglass at the marked locations. Let the weight of the drill do the work.
  3. Support the cutout piece so it doesn’t fall and crack the gel coat when the saw punches through.
  4. Clean up any rough edges with sandpaper.

==>>Also read: How to mount a transducer on a fiberglass boat?

4. Install the Rod Holders

someone putting rod holders on a boat

With the holes prepared, you can now secure the rod holders in place:

  1. Remove any protective tape and drop the holders into the holes.
  2. Install the plastic spacers and backing nuts that come with the rod holders. Only hand-tighten for now.
  3. Adjust the angle and position of the rod holders as desired.
  4. Fully tighten the locking nuts with a wrench. Be careful not to overtighten and crack the fiberglass.
  5. Apply marine sealant around the rod holders to prevent water intrusion.

Gemlux provides additional guidance on finishing the installation to get a clean, watertight fit.

Alternative Mounting Options

Flush mount rod holders provide a sleek, snag-free setup. However, there are other mounting styles to consider:

  • Surface mount rod holders
  • Clamp-on or rail mount rod holders
  • Removable rod holder mounts
  • Fishing rod racks and storage

These give you more flexibility in positioning the rod holders and don’t require cutting permanent holes in the fiberglass. Born Again Boating demonstrates how track mounting systems make it easy to add and adjust rod holders without modifying the boat.

==>> Also read: Removing a transducer mounting plate


How many rod holders should I install?

This depends on how many rods you typically use and the size of your boat. Space them out so the rods won’t tangle. 4-8 rod holders is usually plenty for most fishing boats under 25 feet.

Can I install rod holders myself?

Yes! With the right tools and some patience, installing rod holders is a straightforward DIY project. If you’re not confident cutting holes in fiberglass though, consider hiring a professional.

What tools do I need to install rod holders?

The main tools are:

  • Drill with appropriate bits
  • Hole saws sized for the rod holders
  • Wrenches to tighten fasteners
  • Marine sealant or caulk

How do I maintain my rod holders?

Rinse the rod holders with freshwater after fishing, especially in saltwater. Periodically disassemble to clean and grease the threads. Inspect for any cracks or corrosion. Touch up with marine-grade paint as needed.

Final Thoughts

With rod holders properly installed on your fiberglass boat, you’ll be all set for your next fishing trip! Take your time and measure carefully for a secure, professional-looking installation you can count on for years of fishing adventures ahead.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Boat Genesis is reader-supported. We try all the products we recommend - No freebies from manufacturers. If you click on our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, which helps support our website. Learn more.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe To Boat Genesis

Get updates on the latest posts and more from Boat Genesis straight to your inbox!