Offshore kayak fishing presents challenges that some kayak anglers may not be prepared for. One example is the integrity of a flush mounted rod holder when fishing for large pelagic fish. In some cases a typical install using rivets may not be sufficient enough. When a large fish strikes it can put great stress on the rod holder and  the rod holder can be ripped out causing you to loose the fish. In some cases can end up losing expensive equipment if it wasn’t secured with a leash and even worse, you can be left with a large open hole that water can flow into making your kayak unstable and unsafe. Andrew, the ACK Houston store manager, suggested that I try a different method of installation using nuts and bolts. The method illustrated below not only provides a more secure installation but also helps solve the issue of not being able to use nut and bolts because of limited interior access.

Steve Mullins
ACK-Houston Customer

Materials Needed:

(3) 10/32 stainless steel bolts, 2” long
(3) 10/32 nuts with nylon inserts
(6) – stainless steel washers
Needle Nose Pliers
Crescent Wrench
Vice Grips
Dremmel Tool w/metal cutting and sanding wheel

Instructions (click on each photo to zoom in):

Step 1: Remove the flush mounted rod holder that is currently installed. If installed with rivets, drill each one out with a drill bit. Using a ¼” drill bit, make the 3 holes on the kayak larger to accommodate the bolts. If you are installing a flush mounted rod holder for the first time, follow the recommended instructions provided by the manufacturer but use a ¼” drill bit to accommodate the 10/32 bolts when drilling the 3 holes.
Step 2: Insert a bolt and washer from the underside of the kayak into each hole. They should fit snug so that they don’t drop when the rod holder is inserted. If they keep dropping into back into the boat, apply a small amount of silicone around each bolt and let dry before you continue.
Step 3: Using the ¼ drill bit, make the 3 holes in the rod holder larger to accommodate the bolts. Add silicone to the bottom side and around each hole on the rod holder and carefully insert it back into the boat. You’ll need to be careful to not let the bolt slip back into the boat. If needed, make the 3 holes on the rod holder a bit larger for easy bolt entry by reinserting the ¼ drill bit into each hole several times. Reapply silicone as needed.
Step 4: Once the rod holder is in place. Insert a washer and nut on to each bolt; loosely tighten until you have about 1/8″ of the bolt exposed above the nut. It helps if you gently grasp each bolt with a pair of needle nose pliers (as shown) when doing this.
Step 5: Using your vice grips, clamp the top of each bolt and tighten the nuts. Wipe off the excess silicone for a clean finish once all the nuts are tightened.
Step 6: With the Dremmel tool, cut the remainder of the bolts off just above the nuts. Swap the metal cutter with sanding wheel and grind the top of each bolt for a smooth finish. This will keep you from getting injured by the rough edges left after cutting the bolts.
Time to go fishing!