If there is a better leisure boat on the market that is more suitable for fishing than a pontoon boat, then I am yet to see it. I might be biased, but for me, nothing beats casting a line and making a catch from a pontoon. It’s the wide deck that gives you so much choice and positioning that make these boats ideal.
But, if there’s one thing that your boat probably lacks right now, then it’s most likely decent pontoon boat rod holders… and ones that are designed to sit or clamp on your rails without failing.
Why? Because most of the pontoon rod holders that come pre-packaged with your boat will be cheap, nasty, prone to breaking, and just not fit for purpose. I know that the ones I had pre-fitted to my boat simply didn’t seem to position at the correct angle that I wanted them to.
Now thankfully, there are some great manufacturers out there who understand that the factory grade fishing rod holders for pontoon boats simply aren’t up to scratch.
In this guide, I am going to help you to choose the best fishing rod holders for pontoon boat rails. They fit, are durable, simple to install, and high-quality fishing accessories that won’t let you down.
Best Pontoon Rod Holders (Top 5 Reviews)
Here’s my recommendations for the very best pontoon fishing rod holders that money can buy. You are going to find just what you need, depending on how you want to fish in the reviews below.
Handy Hint: The top reviews here will all mount on square rails. For round rails, scroll down.
#1: Eagle Claw Clamp-On Aluminum Boat Rod Holder
This is by far my number 1 recommendation, and I will have up to three of these mounted on my rails at any one time. I’ve gone through a trial and error process with rival pole holders, but as far as durability, manoeuvrability, and clamp-on-ability (yes, I just made that word up), you can’t beat the Eagle Claw.
It has exceptional Amazon reviews, which you can see for yourself, and is one of the most popular pontoon fishing rod holders on the market today. Want to see for yourself, click here to view the Eagle Claw prices on Amazon.
You don’t need any special tools to mount it, it just fits on, you turn the knob to tighten, and its snaps tight to the square railings that most pontooners will have on their boat. With no tools needed, you can take it off at the end of the day too with no need to scrabble around for a screwdriver.
It’s easily adjustable too, with a 360-degree swivel plus 90 degrees up and down movement – meaning even the most active of catches will struggle to escape your line.
You might also notice that it’s made from plastic. Should that be an issue? Well perhaps if it was cheap plastic yes, but this isn’t. It’s made from toughened plastic that you would have to take a hammer to in order to damage it. And with plastic, you know it won’t rust and corrode like more expensive clamp on rod holders… or scratch your shiny rails.
Designed to hold rods that are up to 3.5 meters in length, the Eagle Claw is an exceptional product, and after using 3 previous rod holders on my boat, this one comes out top every time and has been a fixture on my fishing trips for the last 12 months.
#2: Scotty Rod Holder with Square Rail Mount
Scotty is probably the best-known name when it comes to pontoon boat square rail rod holders, and it’s easy to see why.
On many websites they will be slightly cheaper than the Eagle Claw (you can look up the prices for Scotty on Amazon), they are just as well made and are still a high-quality product, but with a few key differences versus the number one recommendation, the Eagle Claw.
The primary difference is the lower profile, as the Scotty won’t rise up as high. That could be ideal for you if you don’t want your rod holder to get in the way of other things you are doing on your pontoon.
It’s also not as easy to mount, as you will need to use a Philips screwdriver to tighten it onto your square railings. The benefit to that is it will be far more secure, but it will take longer to attach on and off as it doesn’t use a tightening hand knob.
Whilst they aren’t my top pick, which goes to the Eagle Claw, I would never not recommend Scotty and I’ve been on fishing trips with my buddies where these are perfect for trolling. I just like the ease of mounting that comes with the Eagle Claw. Other than that, they are virtually identical.
Handy Hint: If you already have pontoon fishing rod holders with the star configuration on the bottom, then Scotty just sell the actual singular rail mounts which work really well too.
#3: Brocraft Aluminum Universal Clamps
This would be my number one choice if it wasn’t for the fact they are made from aluminum as they can scratch your railings if you’re not careful – unless of course you place a little rubber under the clamping mechanism.
Aside from that, these are excellent, and the strongest clamp on fishing rod holders that you will find. Having seen these in action, they can pull in some really heavy catches, and won’t buckle or release under the strain – go take a look at the BroCraft Amazon reviews.
Whilst they are metal, they are manufactured from a marine grade aluminum which shouldn’t corrode, with the strength lying in the design.
If they only had a rubber or padded insert around the clamp, these would definitely be my first choice. But if you want something reliable and strong, these are the square rail rod holders you should buy.
#4: Brocraft Power Lock with Rail Mount
All of my recommendations and reviews so far have been for pole holders than are mounted to your rails with a clamp or release function. These do have their limitations though, as any clamp, no matter how well constructed, can come loose.
If you fish regularly, and you don’t mind your pole holders being permanently fixed to your rails, then you can buy ones which will screw in and be far more secure. For this type I recommend the Brocraft Power Lock on Amazon.
As well as being securely screwed into the railing top, they are also constructed from fiber-glass injected nylon and come with a pistol grip that easily clear the sides of the holder for quick rod retrieval.
It’s the most robust solution on this page but will mean you have to drill and attach it to the top of your rails. If you’re happy with them being permanently placed, and want a more secure solution, then they come highly recommended.
Fishing Rod Holders for Round Rails
The recommendations above are mainly designed for pontoons which have square rails. But what about you round-railers who read Pontoonopedia? Here’s a suggestion below:
#5: Taco Marine Clamp On Rod Holders
It’s basic, adjustable, and will clamp on to a tubular or round railing. It’s the Taco Marine on Amazon. Before you buy, please make sure that you check the diameter of the rails on your ppntoon to make sure that this product fits.
I won’t lie, I’ve not seen these being used and don’t know anybody who has then. I simply wanted to offer up a solution for those readers on Pontoonopedia who might have round rather than square railings.
Shopping to buy a decent fishing pole holder for a pontoon boat is overwhelming. It’s confusing. Why? Because there are just so many on the market!
I hope that the recommendations and reviews above didn’t overwhelm you too much, as I wanted to keep things concise and clear as to what it is you should buy.
Once you have bought yours, or even beforehand, you have some additional considerations to make such as:
- Where to mount your pontoon pole holders
- Where to store your rods when not in use
I’ve already discussed on Pontoonopedia how best to store your rods and poles and you can find out how by reading this guide to rod storage.
But that’s going to be secondary to the actual mounting procedure. And in fact, how you decide to mount your pontoon rod holders could dictate which ones you decide to buy.
Let me explain.
Where you mount your rod holder will have a bearing on the type of mount that you buy, and typically that’s dictated by whether you’re looking to clamp to the boat’s railings.
Most pontoon boats will have square-shaped railings, but some do have cylindrical. Take care and attention when looking at the specs of the pontoon rail rod holders to check that they are wide enough to fit to your specific rail.
There are specific fishing rod holders for pontoon boat rails that will either be designed to fit square or cylindrical or round rails, but generally speaking, most on the market these days should have a decent enough clamping system to fit on either or.
The size and diameter are other important considerations that you don’t want to miss.
It boils down to the type of fisherman that you are and the other tools or accessories you use when fishing. I would always opt for a pontoon rail mount rod holder that has enough of a wide diameter to take casting and spinning poles.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
These are real-life questions I have been asked on Facebook from other pontooners who are struggling to decide what the best pontoon boat rod holders are for them.
What is the best fishing rod holder set-up for a Bennington pontoon?
Great question, and I love this one as my friend has a Bennington. He uses Scotty rail mounts with the Cabela’s quick release holder.
Do you have any recommendations for clamp on rod holders for pontoon boat? I have an Avalon. My existing ones are on the rails but are flopping around which is really irritating!
I like the Taco Marine ones. Made from fiber with reinforced abs and super strong durability. I used these once on an Avalon for catfish and they are completely adjustable on an easy to attach square mount.
Are there any rail mounted rust proof fishing rod holders for pontoon boats that genuinely won’t rust and degrade over time?
I have the Scotty Rod holders on my small inflatable pontoon which gets very, very wet which is why I am so confident in recommending them for larger aluminum boats. Buy the Scotty Square Rail Mount that is made for pontoon railings.
I don’t want to drill into my rails, or do any type of permanent fixing, so what’s the best choice here?
Take a look at my reviews and recommendations above. The first 3 recommendations all come with mounts that can be easily removed either by hand or with a screwdriver. The Eagle Claw and Scotty holders are very good, and easily detachable.
Handy Hint: For more ideas on how you can make the most of your day on the water, go take a look at the best pontoon boat fishing accessories that are currently recommended.
Hopefully this guide has given you some much needed help in choosing the best rod holder for your pontoon.
As you can see, I prefer the ones which come with an adjustable mount, rather than those which you need to screw into your rails.
For me, I am always mindful of keeping the value of my boat, and one day will want to trade it in for a bigger and better model. That’s why drilling into my rails isn’t for me, as the next owner of my boat might not be as keen on fishing as I am.
In addition to that, I need room on my rails for my inflatable water slide to hang over without snagging, and also frequently mount my grill too. By having detachable holders that aren’t permanently fixed, it gives me that flexibility.
But having said that, you don’t necessarily have to purchase them. You could make your own. They probably won’t look as good, or be as secure, but pontooners do this all the time. In fact, click here to see some of the best (and worst) homemade rod holders that are already out there.
And whilst I have you here, I’ve been working hard over the last few months to put together a list of the top accessories that any pontooner should have on their boat, and not just those who love to fish. You might find some other ideas in there, so please do take a look.
And lastly, if you enjoy the content you find on my website, please do share it socially with your pontooning buddies.