DIY Fishing Gear for Sailors


We reviewed clamp-on rod holders a few years in the past, but found them expensive (see PS October 2006). Fortunately, there are alternatives that can save hundreds of dollars and be installed in an afternoon. Less shiny, but functional.

Simple lash-on tubes or clamp-on rocket launchers for the rail can hold anything from fishing poles, gaffs, and landing nets, to boat hooks and kayak paddles. They take less space than commercial versions, are nearly unbreakable, never scar a rail, and never slip.

Simple, non-nonsense, compact, and rugged. A 12- to 18-inch length of 1.5 to 2-inch PVC pipe lashed to the rail with 3/16-inch diameter cord holds anything from rods to boat hooks, out of the way and complete secure. The 1.5-inch-diameter will fit most rods, but not boat hooks and the like-measure first. Fit a 1.5-inch PVC cap with a -inch drain hole on the butt end and secure with polyurethane sealant or a screw-this will prevent longer items like boat hooks and landing nets from sliding clear through and either jamming against or scratching the deck. Mount them flush with the top rail, safely out of the way of lines. Cost: $3 including the cord.

We even added an outward-angled pair to hold stubby out-riggers (see PS September 2015). We use these only a few weeks each year for the Chesapeake Bay striped bass run, during which they allow us to trail an extra pair of lines. When not in use or docking, we slide the outriggers out and drop them into the lash-on holders next to them.

Darrell Nicholson
Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 50 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can reach him at