This is a simple way to add a rod holder to a sit in kayak. It is held in place by a loop of shock cord stretched over the front of the cockpit where the skirt would normally sit. It requires no drilling or modification of the kayak and is removable so you can still use a skirt in whitewater.
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Step 1: Materials and Tools
Lexan, Perspex, ABS or similar plastic sheet approx 12" x 12" x 1/4" thick.
Shock cord with plastic end hooks.
Fish rod mount and or rod holder tubes.
Screws and washers.
Saw (jig saw ideally), hole drills, files, screw driver, scissors, markers etc.
Step 2: Make a Template.
Cut a cardboard template out to seat inside the cockpit skirt rim. Keep trimming until it seats firmly with continuous contact. Mark the center line on the cardboard by running a line between the two ends of the kayak. Make the external profile symmetrical about the center line.
Mark out and cut out what holes you want in the cardboard to suit the rod holders you have. Tape the cardboard in place and get in your kayak to ensure there is enough room for your knees and legs with the rod holders held in place.
Mark two holes as far apart as possible and as far back as possible for the ends for the shock cord.
There are many options to choose from. I originally had a single rod holder tube which I installed centrally but instead of mounting it using the 3 mounting holes, I cut an enlarged hole, and cut some plastic washers and spacers to allow the rod holder to rotate allowing the rod to point forward or out to one side or the other for trolling. It included some open slots that the neck of plastic water bottles could be pushed into. You can include a compass or holes to clip your fishing clippers etc to. I had some spare rod holder tubes and a spare Scotty mount so I created a new version that includes a central Scotty mount and two rotatable tubes.
Step 3: Cutting and Installing
Once you are happy with your template, transfer the profile to the plastic sheet and jigsaw the profile and drill the holes. If installing a rod holder tube that rotates, experiment with what diameter hole you need in a piece of scrap material of the same thickness that allows the rod holder to sit against the one side of the hole and have room to install a screw through the regular mounting hole with a large washer to retain it. You can use a piece from the hole saw as a washer and tighten a pair of lock nuts or use a nylock nut to clamp it up so it rotates with some friction, not too loose, not too tight.
File any sharp edges and burrs.
Thread the shock cord ends through the outer holes and tie a knot in each end. Install into kayak and stretch over the front of the cockpit. Adjust the length of shock cord to hold the plate firmly in place. Cut the shock cord to length and installing shock cord ends with hooks creates a clean finish rather than a big knot.
Attach the rod holders and anything else you included.
Step 4: Project Complete!
Paddle off to your favorite fishing hole and test out your awesome new rod holders. Don't forget the bait and tackle.