What many landlubbers forget about boats is that unsecured items rarely stay put. That’s why leading boatbuilders include special caddies and racks for pliers, knives, lures, spools of leader material, bait nets, and more.
If you have an older boat that doesn’t have such conveniences, or if you just want to add more holders to a new vessel, you’re in luck. Companies such as Blue Water Bait Systems, C.E. Smith, Deep Blue Marine, Taco Marine, Tempress and West Marine offer a wide range of racks and holders to fit just about any available space. Some holders don’t even require that you drill holes or drive screws; they attach with suction cups.
I tend to overdo it when it comes to holders and racks. I have no fewer than six of these products on my 21½-foot boat, and find these are great gadgets for keeping gear organized and preventing it from dropping on the deck or falling overboard. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve found to be most useful.
I have discovered that knife-and-pliers racks serve as one of the most practical items on a saltwater-fishing boat. Most are designed for mounting on vertical surfaces, giving you a place to stow sharp knives, pliers, scissors and diagonal cutters (dikes), while also keeping these vital fishing tools handy.
The KPH Knife/Pliers Holder from Deep Blue Marine (about $30), for example, comes with sheaths for two fillet knives, as well as a holder for a pair of pliers, etc. It also includes a rack for hanging lures and hooks. It attaches to a smooth, vertical surface with a pair of suction cups, allowing you to move it from place to place or remove it altogether when you’re not fishing.
Taco Marine offers the same kind of versatility with its Plier, Knife and Rig Holder (about $25). It holds two knives, a pair of pliers or dikes, and 15 hooks or lures. This rack is designed to mount permanently on a vertical surface with four self-tapping stainless-steel screws (included).
While many racks for saltwater-fishing boats are crafted from corrosion-proof high-density polyethylene plastic (aka King Starboard), some feature rust-resistant stainless-steel construction. For instance, the Fish-On Plier and Knife Caddy from Tempress (about $44) is fabricated from polished 304 stainless steel with ABS plastic inserts to protect knife blades. It also features hangers for lures and hooks. Four mounting holes allow you to secure it to a vertical surface.
Some racks combine a vertical holder for rods, gaffs and bait nets with a knife-and-pliers caddy. A prime example is the Black Tip Three-Rod Rack from West Marine (about $30), which includes a slot for a knife, another for pliers, and hangers for lures. It’s available in black or white polypropylene plastic.
The Tempress Fish-On Stainless Steel Triple Rod Holder (about $88) offers the same features, but it also includes a catchall for stowing small items such as sinkers, swivels, sunscreen and more. The rod tubes feature ABS plastic inserts to project the rod butts.
In case you were wondering, stainless-steel racks will last longer than racks made from plastic, which tend to deteriorate over time from UV exposure. On the other hand, plastics don’t corrode, while stainless will eventually show signs of rust. Remember, it’s stainless, not stain-proof.
RACKS FOR LEADER LINE
Racks for spools of fluorocarbon and other leader material have begun to appear on a number of new sport-fishing boats and at marine-accessory retailers, allowing you to add them to an older boat.
One of the coolest racks is the FC-4 Leader Dispenser from Deep Blue Marine (about $15). It holds four spools of leader material or a quarter-pound spool of main line (for respooling reels while on the boat). It attaches quickly to a smooth horizontal or vertical surface with four suction cups. You can also quickly stow it to prevent UV rays from deteriorating the line after you’re done rigging.
One of my pet peeves is fishing aboard a boat that lacks a place to stow a net for dipping bait from the livewell. Without this, the net gets left on top of the livewell, where it can slide overboard, fall in the livewell or end up on the deck, where it becomes a tripping hazard.
In most cases, you can use one of the vertical tubes on a rod rack, but you can also mount a single tube, such as the Black Tip Single Rod Holder, on or near the well. Yet there are even more elegant solutions. One is the PF008 Net Holder ($12.49) from baitwells.com. This smooth plastic holder mounts with just two screws on top of the livewell or on an adjacent horizontal surface with a small overhanging ring that holds the bait net.
One of my favorites is a bait-net-and-pliers rack from Blue Water Bait Systems (about $40). Routered from high-density polyethylene, it bolts to a vertical surface, such as the side of a free-standing livewell, and includes a ring for a bait net and two slots where you can stow pliers, dikes or scissors.
Another solution that works on a horizontal or vertical surface is the Beckson Holding Clip, available in diameters ranging from ¼ to 2 inches (ranging from $2.40 to $7 per pair). You can quickly snap the bait-net handle into place to secure it, and just as easily remove it. Some captains like to install these on the underside of the lid for the livewell.
Think of a catchall as a junk drawer for your boat — a way of containing the clutter, and keeping small items like used sinkers, hooks and other stray tackle from falling on the deck. I keep two at the helm for items like sunscreen, cellphones and flashlights, and a couple in the aft cockpit for tackle items.
Deep Blue Marine Products’ DH-2 (about $29) is designed to be a two-drink holder, but I find it works well as a catchall too. With a box that measures 4½-by-5 inches, it attaches to smooth horizontal surfaces with four suction cups and features high-density plastic construction.
Taco Marine’s PO1-2000W Drink Holder and Catchall (about $44) is made of high-density polyethylene and installs on either a horizontal surface or on a bulkhead. The catchall box is flanked by a pair of drink holders.
The Fish-On Cockpit Organizer (about $70) not only features a catchall basket, but it also has a pair of pliers racks and hangers for lures. The polished stainless-steel construction resists corrosion. It is designed to attach to a vertical surface with four self-tapping screws.
With all of the racks, holders, caddies and catchalls available to boating anglers today, there is no reason why you can’t have a place for everything and everything in its place.