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Help Instaling Rod Holders


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have to instal some rod holders to new boat and dont want to make a mess of it or splinter or crack my fibreglass, because the holders go in at a angle i figure it would be easier to drill hole a bit bigger instead of trying to drill on a angle, does any1 know what size hole saw this would require? and do i need to seal the inside exposed edge of the hole i drill ?

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Hey diver1,

I just did this exact job last night on my tinny but it may be a bit different. I have read that in fiberglass is should be drilled at an angle but there my be alternative. My rod holders had a diameter of 50mm and i had a drill bit that was 51mm. I know they have 54mm bits available too. I just drilled straight down and then used a file to shape the holes as it needed to be. That way i ended up with a snug hole which is probably stronger than if you drill a hole bigger that the cylinder of the rod holder plus the distance between the hole and the drill holes used to bolt/rivet in is not that big so you need to take it slowly.

I am sure more raiders with fiberglass boats can shed more light on this topic.

Cheers. Mike.

Edited by Wantingaboat
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Get a piece of cardboard from a cereal packet and trinm it until you have a hole the right size and then measure it. Some of the holders that are cast or welded are not flat on the mating surface and you will notice and allow for this with a slightly bigger hole.

Your cardboard template can then be used to get them in the same place and mark a centerline to line up holesaw. I have used a rotary file / bur to trim holes and make sure you wear a face mask. I use a sharp hole saw on but I use masking tape on the gelcoat to mark it out and different speeds seem to suit different hardnesses of gelcoat. If an oval shape is required I use 2 centers for the holesaw to get the shape right and cur one 90% through on a angle and then change to the other center and do it 100%. On thick coamings I will also spin the saw on the inside so a smooth edge cut happens when you break through from the outside.

No need to seal up edge but I do put a bed of sikaflex underneath the fitting when putting on as a water seal and so they sit flat and don't leak into side pockets.

Put as big a washer on the back as you can and I use extra large piece of scrap stainless flat 50mm long to spread the load so they don't flex and craze the gelcoat.

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Hi Diver

Rather than drilling holes in the fibreglass for built in rod holders, you might consider using adjustable rail mounts that fit onto standard size, bolt on stainless steel grab rails, readily available in various lengths, quite cheap and extra grab rails are always handy to have on a muti purpose fishing boat like yours.....

Here is a pic of the rod holders on a previous boat of mine, the Mustang.... You can never have too many rod holders on a fishing boat and, including the ones up top for storage not showing in the pic, I had 22 rod holders altogether on the Mustang and I used the two s/s stern built ins for either rods or my downriggers.


This is a close up of the same rod holders on my current boat, the Savage side console.....including the stern rod holders, I also have 22 rod holders on my Savage which are all handy and in no way an overkill...


Diver I had the same rod holders in the mid nineties on my Yalta deep sea boat, and again had the advantage of having well placed rod holders all around the fishing area and the benefit of having extra grab rails at the same time. My rod holders are the original US imports and are now available over here for around thirty five each

Hope this helps


jewgaffer :1fishing1:

Edited by jewgaffer
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