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Old 02-19-2010, 07:14 PM   #53
Olivenhain Bob
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,094
Rodholder Mod

About two years ago, I bought a Hobie Revolution and joined the yakfisher community. The Revo is a very well designed kayak but it is not without its flaws. One of the biggest issues I had with my boat from the beginning was the placement of the molded rod holders. They are too far to the stern to be very useful to me. My solution to this problem at the time was to build a “trolling bar” which gave me the ability to place two rods in a more accessible location and at an angle that is more suitable for trolling than the stock setup. You can see this device below.


This trolling bar served me well until I picked up a Hobie Livewell a few months ago. While I could use the trolling bar with this bait tank, the supporting cross bar got in the way of the tank lid so it could not be opened all the way. I had wanted to update the trolling bar design for some time so this gave me the incentive to head to the shop and get to work.

The goal was to design something that could be inserted into the molded rod holders and create a readily accessible, sturdy rod storage/trolling apparatus. The device would have to be easily installed and removed. The most important design objective was to move the rod holder positioning forward so that the rods could be easily reached without having to twist sideways while seated in the yak. A bonus goal was to make the angle of the rod holder adjustable from straight up for storage to about 60 degrees out for trolling.

I think I nailed it!


Below you will see the various pieces of PVC and ABS components prior to assembly. The total cost of the parts needed to build one of these is less than $10.


Because my 2008 Revo has the rudder raising and lowering lever mounted on the starboard side next to the seat, I had to make two versions of this device which I call the inboard and outboard versions. The inboard design is well braced against the kayak so it may be a little sturdier. On the other hand this design takes up some space in the bait tank well, so on some narrow kayaks the outboard design may be a better choice. The newer Hobies no longer use a rudder lever so both versions will work on either side of the latest Hobie yaks. The photo below shows both versions installed with the rod holders in the trolling position.


Assembly is easy. Start by cutting a piece of 1.25” PVC pipe just long enough to fit into the molded rod holder. Wrap this pipe with duct tape until the pipe fits snugly into the rod holder, (I use Gorilla Tape because it is very tough). Place a 1.25” to 1.5” slip adapter over the end of the pipe. (DO NOT GLUE ANYTHING YET!)

Next fit a 1.5" sink trap assembly over the adapter. There are two versions of sink traps. One you glue together, the other has an integrated tightening collar that holds the two pieces together. Both will work for this project. I used the glue together version because it was cheaper.

The next piece to go on is a 60 degree elbow. This will be attached to the sink trap on one end, and to a 1.5” slip/thread adapter on the other with short pieces of 1.5” ABS pipe. The length of these pieces of pipe will be determined by the type of kayak you have and where you want the rod holder to be. The longer these pieces are the further forward the rod holder will end up. After some experimenting, I found that the best place for the rod holder to be, for my usage, is an inch or two behind the back of the kayak seat. This is about a foot forward of the stock rod holder position but still far enough back so it will not interfere with paddling. One of the reasons for not gluing anything right away is that there are many adjustments you can make in terms of length and angles. If you want the rod holder to end up further forward that what I did, just use a longer piece of connecting pipe.

If you want to always have your rod holder in the same angle position, you will not need to use the male and female threaded adapters that go on next. Just attach a 90 degree elbow to the 60 degree elbow from the last step. For the adjustable version, mate a male and female threaded adapter to the two elbows. Tighten these adapters so they are almost all the way in but still have enough travel to allow you to tighten or loosen in order to position the rod holder where you want it to be.

Finally, cut a 10” to 12” piece of 1.5” ABS pipe and fit it in the 90 degree elbow. I cut the top at an angle to make it easier to insert the rod butt but this is optional. When all the pieces are attached together, insert the PVC pipe into the kayak’s rod holder. Twist and turn the various components until you are happy with the positioning of all the pieces. You want the device to fit easily into the molded rod holder and at some point near the other end, make contact with the kayak. This will be the anchor point where you will eventually strap the device to the kayak.


My instructions may sound a little complicated but they will all make perfect sense when you have the pieces in your hands and start putting things together. When you are happy with the way everything fits, put some alignment marks on all the connecting pieces so you can reproduce the angles and connections. Double check everything again and then glue the pieces together.

The last steps are done after all the pieces have been glued together. You will need to find a way strap the installed device to your kayak at the point that it touches the deck near the new rod holder end. I first used a Velcro strap that had been threaded through a nylon eyelet that I riveted to the kayak in a suitable place. This works but I am looking for a stronger strap that can be tightened more than the Velcro will allow. One of those ratchet buckles from a ski boot or snowboard binding would be perfect. When I find one, I will give this a try. You can also use a belt, a piece of rope or even a zip tie which would have to be cut off when you want to remove this device.

The last step is to set the angles of the rod holder. With the unit installed, twist the rod holder end to a vertical position. Drill a small hole through both pieces of the threaded adapter and insert a pin in the hole to lock the rod holder in this position. Remove the pin; reposition the rod holder at the angle or angles that you would like to use for trolling and drill additional holes, using the first hole as a pilot hole. Make sure the pin fits in these positions and you are done.

Although I designed this device to be used on a Revo, this design can easily be adapted to work on just about any kayak with molded rod holders located behind the seat. I have tested this setup on the water and it works great. I have much better access to my bait tank than with the trolling bar and can easily monitor the rod tips while trolling without having to twist and contort myself from side to side. I also gain two handy storage locations for rods or a gaff. After the maiden voyage, I added a couple of eyelets to each of these units to serve as attachment points for gear leashes.

The first one of these things that I built took hours of trial and error. The second one took less than ten minutes to build. I think that this thing may be one of the most useful mods I have come up with so far. What do you think?


Last edited by dsafety; 02-20-2010 at 07:50 AM.
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