If you are a fishing enthusiast, then you’ve probably heard of PWCs or Personal Watercrafts. These versatile watercraft are perfect for fishermen who are looking for an affordable, quick, and safe alternative to a boat. Sea-Doo even sells a specialty PWC set up for fishing, the Fish Pro at $14,999. But you don’t need a brand new ski to enjoy jet ski fishing.
So what is the best way to use fishing rod holders on a jet ski? Well, you first need to consider what type of fishing you’ll be doing. Then, you need to determine the best way to rig your rod holders, accessories and cooler so that you optimize space and get the best use.
This is where the question of rod holders and storage options come into play. One often stated advantage of fishing from a jet ski is the ability to get into tight areas or shallow waters. Just be sure to not go too shallow to prevent impeller damage, as I discussed in that post.
What Type of Fishing are You Planning on Doing?
A truly devoted fisherman could probably fish just about anywhere. However, when you hang up that “Gone Fishing” sign on the office door, it’s important to know where you will be fishing and what rod holders and storage options you’ll need for your trip.
Fishing can be done in multiple ways using different tools. Some fish from shore, bridges and structures, purpose-built boats, and even kayaks (source) and lately jet skis. We even posted on how to set up a paddle board for fishing. So before you cast your line, hoping for a catch, ask yourself the following question: where are you going to fish and what do you need?
Salties and Freshies
As with boats, jet ski’s can be used in both the ocean as well as in lakes and rivers. Before buying any rod holders, or additional accessories, consider if you’ll be fishing in saltwater or freshwater.
As a side note, it is also a good idea to make sure that PWCs are permitted to be there. You may require a permit, so it’s best to do your research beforehand.
Whether you consider yourself a saltie or a freshie, both come with their own advantages and challenges (source).
Knowing where you plan on fishing is essential because it brings to light a number of elements including the type and quantity of rods you’ll need to bring, the bait, the water conditions, and the size of the fish you’re hoping to catch (source).
All of these elements are subject to change depending on whether you’ll be fishing in salt or fresh water, so it’s essential to be properly prepared. You can learn a lot more about fishing in general at Freshwater Fishing Advice.
The Right Rod
A fisherman can’t do much without the right rod and, as saltwater and freshwater fishing may require different kinds of equipment, you need to be sure of the type and quantity of rods you’ll need to bring along with you on your fishing trip
While it is true that some saltwater fishing rods can be used in freshwater, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Freshwater rods can’t usually be used in saltwater because they aren’t built to withstand the harsh nature of saltwater.
Saltwater rods are usually made to be resistant to the effects of salt water and are made with non-corrosive elements (source).
Saltwater rods also use thicker and stronger lines than freshwater rods. You’ll need to figure out what kind of rods you’ll need and then find a suitable rod holder to accommodate them. Some rod holders even have speargun holders.
The type of rods you need, and the number, are not only defined by the presence of salt in the water. Factors such as bait, current, fish size, and extra additions also play a part.
It’s All About that Bait
The type of bait you need will differ from saltwater to freshwater fishing. It will also differ based on the type of fish you will be catching.
When deciding the type of bait that you will need for your fishing trip, you also need to think about the storage factors involved.
For example, saltwater fishing may require you to use whole crabs or squids, so you will need significantly more cooler space. While a lot of freshwater fishing only requires things such as worms or minnows.
In some cases, you may only require lures to catch your fish, while in other instances you may need live bait. Some jet skis come with a device called a Luna Tube, which allows you to store your live bait (source).
You may also want to consider getting a cooler that has a bait board attached if you need to prepare the first right away.
So whether your bait is alive, dead, or artificial, you’re going to need some kind of cooler or storage options.
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From Smooth Sailing to Choppy Waters
As a fisherman, it’s best to always be prepared. Whether it’s all smooth sailing or a day on choppy waters, both will come into the equation when considering your choice of rod and rod holders.
It is ideal to find a rod holder which can accommodate rods of varying length and thickness as well as one that offers good drainage. If there is a considerable amount of spray, you’ll need one with a good grip that doesn’t allow for slippage.
Saltwater fishing rods often need to be heavier and thicker as they bring in much bigger catches (source). If you are fishing in the ocean, you will also be dealing with waves and currents, so you need stronger poles and lines.
The size of the fish is also an important factor to consider when choosing rods and appropriate rods holders. Often saltwater fishing involves larger catches and as such, requires heavier duty rods and equipment.
Freshwater fish tend to be a bit trickier to catch but they are much smaller while saltwater fish put a lot more pressure on the rods.
There is also the question of storage to consider. If you plan on eating your catch, then you need adequate cooler space to store the fish.
Room for One More
One final point for consideration is whether you’ll be going solo or taking your friend along with you on your fishing trip.
Jet skis can usually accommodate two people, while some models have the ability to seat four people, including the driver (source). But it’s usually a tight fit for more than two.
Jet skis are a popular fishing option for people because they make it easy to just get up and go. Anyone who has used a boat for fishing knows how much time it takes to prepare, launch, and clean down after.
Kirk Davis, who appears on the Jetski Fishing Show, likes to take his son out on his jet ski to fish because it provides a thrill and is so easy to use (source). Seasons 1-4 are on YouTube.
This is especially true for children who may not want to spend hours preparing a boat and hours cleaning it afterward.
In a nutshell, before you go fishing, think where you’ll be fishing, what rods to bring, and whether you’ll have enough storage space in your cooler for both your bait, your catches, and your mates.
The Types of Fishing Rigs and Rods Holders Available To You
Rigging refers to the arrangement or design of certain elements in order to create a functioning system. In fishing, you can rig your fishing line with elements such as a hook, sinker, lure, bait and the like.
Setting up your very own fishing rig is something of a rite of passage for a fisherman. The design of a rig on a fishing line is as important as the design of the rig on your PWC.
Choosing the Right Rod Holders For Your Needs
There are a number of different options available with regard to rod holders for your jet ski. You want to try and avoid drilling into your PWC if you can, so these options are good for a more novice fisherman who doesn’t need more than 3 or 4 rods.
Some rod holders are sold as single units allowing you to choose how many you wish to add to your PWC. These rods holders come in a variety of styles including those with different attachment options.
Standalone Rod Holders
These options include rod holders that are attached to your PWC via clamp, suction or mounting. Rod holders with clamps or mounts can be easily attached to the railing. This makes them relatively versatile and easy to use (source).
However, before choosing this option, you need to consider if your jet ski has enough railing space available to clamp, suction or mount various rods.
Some clamp rod holders come with lock options to stop your fishing rod falling out and can hold almost any type of rod and reel type (source).
Another option for standalone rod holders would be those that come with a suctioning or ability. They have the ability to attach to a number of places on your jet ski.
They don’t require railing and are even more versatile than the clamp option. Additionally, they are really user-friendly and won’t risk any damage to your PWC.
There is a “Mount Anywhere Suction Rod Holder” available which has a 120lb. pull weight (source).
You need to make sure however that their suctioning ability is sufficient enough for the weight of your rod and reel.
Another option is to piggyback your rod holder to another product. A fishing rack or a fishing arch is a good option, especially if you are going to get one anyway. They also often come with additional features like room for a cooler.
A few more things to consider are rod holders that are anti-corrosive and anti-rust if you are planning on fishing in saltwater. Their ability to pivot makes them more versatile.
Other factors to consider are things like grip ability, weight and attachment requirements.
The Right Rigging for Your PWC
On a jet ski, you can set up your rig in a number of different ways. There are quite a lot of options available on the market, however, we’ve listed the most popular options below.
Jet Ski Wings
One of the jet ski rigs available on the market today is a Jetwing fishing pontoon, which, in simple terms, is pretty much like water wings for your jet ski. They help to keep it afloat and give you added space.
It’s a really great option if you are looking for additional room to move around and to store things. Plus, Jet Ski wings have the added advantage of giving you more security as your jet ski is more buoyant and stable (source).
Jet Ski wings available on the market will have met the required buoyancy rating, making them a very safe addition to your PWC experience (source).
Some Jetwings are built onto the jet ski while others are removable. In addition to the extra room and storage, they can also have extra features. Some come with storage rod holders, luna tubes, bait boards, and a livewell built into them.
Jetwings can be a definite advantage if you are planning on taking extended fishing trips or fishing with friends.
One downside might be their inconvenience when moving from one place to another as they can add quite a bit of bulk and may be considered burdensome. Another additional factor to consider is cost.
Jet Ski Fishing Racks
These are one of the most popular methods of rigging up your PWC. They are metal frames that have built-in rod holders, which can usually hold between 2 to 6 rods (source).
This rigging option can be mounted to the back of a jet ski. It can include things like a cooler, rod holders, gas cans, and a bait board. While all these things are optional, it is advisable to get one that has room for a cooler.
They are really convenient because they can be taken off and put back on without any real effort or hassle.
Jet Ski Fishing Arches
Jet ski arches are a more serious commitment; however, they are a worthwhile one. If you are a serious fisherman or planning on a lot of fishing trips, then you may want to invest in a fishing arch.
These arches usually include a whole lot of rod holders, space for your cooler, and extra storage units. There is even room for additional gas canisters, lights, a GPS, and a fish finder.
Another cool thing about fishing arches is that they can be customized and designed for you and your Jet Ski.
What are the Best Rod Holders Available on the Market Today
Finding the best rod holders is really going to come down to your own personal wants and needs.
Taking in all of the points discussed above, here are some of the key considerations to take on board when it comes to rod holders and other accessories.
Expert or novice?
If you are a novice fisherman only planning on using your PWC to fish a couple of times a year, then maybe you don’t need to worry about forking out thousands to kit up your ski.
However, if you are an expert who will be spending most of their time out there, it may be a good idea to make sure you are as well-equipped and comfortable as possible.
Earlier, we mentioned the idea of piggybacking. Making one purchase, such as a cooler which comes with rod holders, is a great way to save on money and space.
A good combo option available on the market today is the Kool PWC Stuff Jetski Fishing Rack on Amazon. It is available with 2-rod holders and 4-rod holders. They have room to fit a cooler and are suitable for nearly any jet ski make and model. The 4-rod holder model is under $400, including shipping.
The Platinum Products Jet Ski Fishing Rod Rack & Cooler Holder Combo (Mill Finish) is also a good combination option. It comes with a 5-year warranty and 6-rod holders. It is available for around $400.00, including shipping.
Access and Space
Depending on how big your ski is, and whether you decide to go for something like Jetwings, access and space are important aspects to consider. You will need enough space to be able to reel in your fish as well as easy access to the rods.
If your PWC has railings, you can consider The Harbor Mate Stainless Steel Fishing Rod Holder. This is a clamp rod holder and saves on space. It has an ability to rotate 360 degrees, so it can be placed anywhere.
It also has good drainage. They are easy to attach and convenient. They’re also an affordable option at around $23.
Also available on the market is the Scotty #230 Powerlock Rod Holder which is an affordable option with many advantages. It fits almost all rod and reel combinations, has a locking system, 360-degree rotation and can be used on most watercraft.
As we discussed earlier, attaching rod holders to your PWC can be easy or it can require more effort. If you are not wanting to do things such as drill holes in the bodywork of your Jet Ski, then you need to take that into consideration when choosing your rod holders.
Sea Sucker has a wide selection of rod holders, cup holders and other accessories available. Rod holders come in single-holder, 2-rod holder, and even a 3-rod holder. They range in price from $69 to $169.
Don’t skip on safety
One final comment on the topic of PWC accessories is the concern of safety. While jet skis are a lot safer (my post) than when they were first invented in the early 70s, it is still important to make sure you have space for the necessary safety equipment.
This includes making sure that there are life jackets for all people on board the PWC as well as a fire extinguisher. It’s also important never to speed and to respect the water. And avoid putting yourself in danger by following the tips in my post.
The fact of the matter is that rod holders are necessary if you plan to fish on a PWC. Not only are they practical, but they are really convenient. They allow you to fish while maintaining steering control and provide you with support.
Taking into account your fishing strategy and your budget, there are many rod holders and cooler combo options available on the market. It’s just a question of knowing which one is right for you.
Make sure that you plan accordingly, and get the right equipment before jetting off on your next fishing trip.
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