by Ted Mackel

Most rod holders come with the bottom open. Rod holders are intended to be used on large boats that have gunwales that are high above the waterline, large boats also have a automatic bilge system built into the hull. When water enters the rod holder it escapes in to the hull and is usually evacuated by an electromechanical bilge pump. Sit on top kayaks do not have built in automatic bilge pumps, nor is it practical to install one that can be relied upon. Since the gunwales on the Kayak are at the waters edge it is necessary to plug the bottom of the rod holder. This plugging needs to be permanent as many times the bottom of the rod holder cannot be reach inside the hull of the Kayak.

My solution has been to pick up a small plastic cutting board from Walmart and using the same hole saw blade I use to cut the hole in the kayak, cut a disc out of the cutting board.

Be careful to work quickly and carefully as the friction from the hole saw will melt the plastic.


Once you have cut a disc for each rod holder, then take medium grit sand paper and sand one side of the disc and the bottom of the rod holder.

Make sure to sand the edges of the disc smooth as they will catch on equipment that you store in your hull if you leave them rough.

Next take two part epoxy, mix it according to it's directions and liberally spread it all over the sanded side of the disc and all over the bottom of the rod holder.

Make sure to fill in the center hole on the disc created by the hole saw. Most rod holders have a plastic support bar that spans the diameter of the bottom of the rod holder, this will usually cover the center hole created by the hole saw, but make sure there is plenty of epoxy to fill in that hole in any case.

Next, once you have coated one side of the disc with epoxy and the bottom of the rod holder with epoxy, stick them together.

Stand the rod holder up on your workbench and don't touch it till the next day. This is a great project to do at about 9:00 at night, after you are finished go in the house, have a late night snack, surf the internet, watch the evening news or go bother your wife and go to bed. This way the epoxy will have all night to set.

The next morning if you are as obsessed as I am, you will fill up the rod holder with water and check for leaks. If you liberally used the epoxy, there should be no leaks.  If you should find a leak then completely dry out the tube, mix up some more epoxy and fill in the gaps.

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*Some stores do stock flush mount rod holders already sealed.