ROCKET LAUNCHERSApart from active ‘fishing’ rod holders, there are others that are designed mostly to store and carry rods, to keep them out of the way, and to protect them from getting knocked around. Variations include rod holders inside the boat (which help keep the spray away from your reels), holders built around a bait station (which may also be fishing positions) and multiple position overhead units called ‘rocket launchers’ for obvious reasons. When looking at a boat, reach up to see if you can comfortably access the top rod holders – there is little point in having extra storage if you can’t reach it!

Getting a rocket launcher design right is not easy. Rake (the amount of lean astern in the holders) only needs to be a few degrees to lean the rods off vertical. Overdo the rake and you risk bouncing the rods out of the holders when travelling in rough conditions and also crowd the airspace above the cockpit, making casting and striking difficult.

The other aspect is flare – the angle the rod tubes are tilted out to the sides. Unless flare is necessary to fit drop-in outriggers (in the two outside holders) at the correct angle, it should be avoided. If the flare takes the rod tips outside the footprint of the hull, rods risk breaking when the boat comes alongside a wharf, pile or another boat.

Consider, too, if your reels are going to be exposed to a lot of spray up in the rocket launcher. Maybe a more sheltered position would be better when underway? And allow enough space between the rod positions so that the reel handles don’t clash.
You must be able to reach a rocket launcher to get rods in and out, so height and obstructions (like canopies) need to be taken into account.