Boat Rigging Basics

Part 1

Rig Your Boat Your Way

When anglers call me to ask about rigging their boat, they usually tell me the model boat they have and then quickly add, "What do I need?"  My first reply is always the same, what do you fish for and how do you do it?  We then proceed to work out the details of what will help the angler catch more fish and enjoy the fishing experience to it's fullest. 

Everyone's fishing technique is their own and it's important (even sacred) to them.  I once decided to pit cook a hog for Thanksgiving.  Although I had helped people do this a couple of times and was pretty sure of the process, I had never cooked one by myself.  Maybe it was an effort to be thorough and do my homework or a fear of messing up 140 pounds of meat that drove me to 'google' the subject.  WOW!  Just like fishing, there must be a million ways to cook a hog and every post I read clearly pointed out that their way was the only way to do it right.

Not only is everyone's fishing technique their own, but their boat is unique to them as well.  Many different boat manufacturers, each with many different models, each of those with different options available all mean one thing...there is no "one size fit's all" rod holder set up.  Driftmaster offers thirteen base designs, and nine rod holder models; each available in Pro or Li'l Pro series, right or left thread, regular or long stem.  That means hundreds of possible combinations and that doesn't even count our trolling system options.  Fishing is unique and personal, your rod holder set up should be too.

Part 2

Rod Angle

As we begin to set up your boat, I'll ask you what rod angle you will want.  I suggest you keep your rods horizontal when possible.  A horizontal rod gives you more room to set the hook as you lift up.  Also a horizontal rod will have more "bounce" than the same rod in an elevated position. This will present your bait in a more "life-like" manner.  You would want an elevated rod angle for bottom fishing away from the boat, trolling, or fishing at night (the rod tip will be more visible against the horizon).  A popular set up is horizontal rod holders (200-H or 210-H) for the front of the boat with angled holders (250-H or 260-H) for the rear of the boat.  Most boats sit lower in the stern because of the engine weight, the elevated angle in the back will keep rod tips out of the water.  The popular Duo model offers both a horizontal and 30 degree angle in one rod holder.  You will need a slightly elevated rod angle if you are mounting to a small boat that sits low in the water like a kayak or canoe.  Our 100-H rod holder holds the rod at 20 degrees and is perfect for small boats.

Rigging your boat for Crappie trolling is a different story.  Crappie poles are longer and more limber than rods used for other species of fish.  The weight of the lures you use will vary greatly depending on the depth you are fishing and wind conditions.  The position of your rod tip can vary greatly because of this.   You will want to keep your rod tips close to the water for Crappie Trolling, so you need a rod holder that allows you to adjust your rod angle.  Driftmaster T-bars allow unlimited vertical and horizontal rod adjustment.

Part 3

Rod Location

There are two basic choices for mounting locations: 1 - Mount rod holders around the perimeter of the boat, 2 - Mount them together on a trolling system.    Two things to keep in mind as you plan your rod holder locations are comfort and efficiency.   Fast efficient hook sets are very important in minimizing lost strikes.  Rod holders should be placed within easy reach of a comfortable fishing location.  For most people this is the front seat for trolling motor speed fishing and drifting.  For faster trolling with the outboard, the captains chair is a better location to center your rod holder set up.
Driftmaster trolling systems are an excellent way to focus your rod holder locations around your fishing seat.  With additional mounting plates, they can easily be moved from the front of the boat to the rear to accommodate different fishing techniques.  Boats with plenty of "walk around" room like pontoons can have rod holders mounted around the perimeter and still allow easy access during a strike.
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