Dock Rod Holders 101: What to Know Before Purchase

If you do a lot of pier fishing or fishin from your dock, a holder is a must-have. Luckily you can find rod holders designed to mount to most docks and piers; other rod holders have pivot and spring-loaded systems, designed to mount to boats and accommodate larger spinning reels.

Before you pick out a dock holder, assess the dock or pier you intend to mount it to. If you own the pier, you may want a permanent option; for public docks, you’ll want something you can clamp down and remove.

In the rest of this post, you’ll learn everything there is to know about dock-mounted rod holders, and where to get one.

Types of rod holders

Rod holders can vary greatly in price, quality, materials, and even attachments. Often, the most expensive rod holders are used on boats since you need a strong, metal rod holder that won’t bend or break if a large fish gets the line.

Many holders are adjustable so you can angle them at the base. This helps keep them from slipping out while still letting the line hang in the direction you cast.

You can find rod holders in a variety of materials, like:

  • Aluminum
  • Composite
  • Nylon
  • ABS plastic
  • Fiberglass
  • Stainless steel
  • Chrome plated brass
  • Zinc

If you need a cost-effective holder, plastic or composite is the way to go.

If you’ve got a rod handle made from cork, it’s worth noting you’ll see a lot more dents or imperfections in your handle from using a rod holder.

As a result, you’ll likely end up having to replace your rod handle a bit sooner; consider using a rod with a foam handle if you intend to use a rod holder often.

How to mount a rod holder to a dock

Most rod holders mount directly to dock posts or fishing pier railing with either a clamp or a few screws. Flush mounts attach directly to a dock post vertically, either setting the rod sitting straight up, or at a small angle.

Some rod holders like this one work well if you don’t have a handrail structure to screw a mount into. These can be attached to the top of posts, ideal for piers that may only have an exposed post and no handrail.

dock fishing rod holder for pier

Larger rigs doing ocean fishing often have stainless steel or chrome models, but that sort of thing isn’t really required of a dock rod holder since you’re unlikely to encounter large fish capable of bending or breaking the holder.

Clamp-based rod holders: ideal for temporary use

One feature that is considered useful with dock-mounted rod holders is a clamp-based mounting design as you can see below. These are ideal for boats or docks and can accommodate spinning wheels and most rod types.

This mechanism allows you to go to a shared dock and set up a rod holder to use instantly. In addition, clamp-on rod holders are flexible even off the dock, and you can attach them to a horizontal rail or to a vertical stanchion on a boat.

Top dock rod holders on the market

If you have an idea of what you need, below are a couple of holder options on the market worth checking out if a variety of price points. Some rod holders are designed for spinning rods and for use on boats, others are more affordable and designed for smaller fish caught on a pier or dock.

 Cannon Adjustable Rod Holder

This rod holder by Cannon offers a 360-degree base that can be top mounted or side mounted. These rod holders are designed for boats, but you can also use them on docks. Cannon makes rail adaptors if your dock has a metal railing, but can be mounted to any flat surface out of the box.

This model can accommodate baitcast or spinning rods, and has a spring-loaded knob to adjust to any rod side.

Installation: This rod holder can be mounted on a track on your boat or attached directly to a dock.

Bass Pro Dock Rod Holder

This rod holder by Bass Pro offers more than one locking position available for horizontal and vertical adjustments.

This holder has great reviews, offers a 360-degree swivel rotation, is easy to mount, and costs quite a bit less than other models.

You can also use this rod holder with a variety of casting and spinning reels which is nice.

Installation: You can order mounts with the rod holders. You have the option of choosing between a flush or a side mount.

LBW Rod Holder

This model by LBW adjusts to horizontal and vertical easily and comfortably. It will suit most fishing rods and comes with 360-degree adjustability.

The upper part of the fishing pole holder and the clamp have a soft rubber pad to ensure it will not hurt your fishing pole, and this will prevent your fishing rod from slipping away and protects the rod to avoid scratching.

This one is made of high-strength aluminum alloy, a step up from plastic fishing rod holders.

Installation: It comes as a two-piece set that you can install on a boat or kayak, canoe, pier, dock, or handrail.

DIY dock rod holder ideas

With something as simple as a PVC pipe rod holder, you can install as many holders as possible, multiplying your chance for a catch at a minimal cost. Of course, you can also make them yourself without much expense, using only the tools you’d have on hand.

Different designs show different uses, like types that clamp on for public docks, or designs that support specific rod types. Overall, for DIY, the simpler, the better; you’re already saving on cost, but you want to really invest your time to make sure you craft a rod holder you feel confident using.

Fishing Bucket Rod Holder

This bucket design from Grizzytaco on YouTube is one of my favorite DIY rod holders for pier fishing. Made from PVC is super practical and convenient for anyone to build.

Dual Position Portable Pier/Dock Mount

Looking for a dock rod holder for less than $5? This tutorial on YouTube by the Weekend Angler utilizes a muffler clamp and a few common items you may have around your shop.

Just wrap your welding torch, and build a super-portable rod holder that you can basically fit in your pocket.

Key takeaways

There are so many options out there for buying a rod holder. If you want to spend the cash, you can buy a rod holder that you can use in multiple settings, like on a boat, on a dock, and more. So many rod holders have adjustment settings, depending on your preferences.

If you’ll only be pier fishing, compositive or PVC is perfectly fine, if you need a rod holder for boat fishing, I recommend a clamp-style holder.

For something more permanent, I would recommend a flush mount made of stainless steel, or a simple PVC model. Let me know how your project turns out!

Need a place for life jackets, fishing gear?

Get a dock box.

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