The RTM Abaco 4.20 comes with 2 rear facing flush mount rod holders as standard and these are fine for holding the rods whilst on the move or for holding a trolling rod. Rod holders can also be attached to Abaco on the slide rails beside the foot wells but after using them i found that they were too low to support the rod properly and would require extenders to be used properly for fishing at anchor or whilst drifting. I searched online for alternative solutions such as rocket launcher/tube style rod holders and looked at various reviews on blogs and forums but it appeared that many people had problems with the stability of the rod holder, especially in choppy seas, and they seemed pretty expensive too. Shortly after purchasing my first kayak, a Teksport 330 Xplore, i installed 2 forward facing flush mount rod holders either side of the seating area within arms reach and found these to be perfect for practically all of my fishing. I wanted to replicate the same on the Abaco but space for installing flush mounts on the sides of the seating area is very limited - limited but not impossible! Here's how i installed them:
I purchased 2 flush mount rod holders with rubber gaskets and caps and made a wooden template to mark out the hole to be cut out of the kayak. There isn't a lot of room for the rod holders to be placed but luckily the rear facing holders point slightly inwards which would leave enough room for the forward facing holder to be fitted just in front and pointing back in the hull towards the stern. This would however mean that i would be cutting through the Abaco graphic, but needs must and the graphics won't help me catch fish! The hole is marked out and a hole drilled on its circumference to allow a jigsaw blade access to cut out the hole.
I cut on the inside of the marked hole and used a file to make fine adjustments to give a perfect fit for the rod holder.
The area where the rod holder will be fitted it slightly curved but the top of the rod holder is flat. The top of the rod holder must be curved to allow for a flush fit and therefore a stronger, more waterproof fitting. I curved the top by softening the plastic with a heat gun. Gentle heating is the key to not melting the plastic too much but eventually it will reach a point where it is fairly malleable which allows you to curve it into the shape of the kayak hull. If your attempting this wear gloves - the plastic gets hot.... very hot! Once the desired curve is achieved, plunge the rod holder in cold water to fix the shape.
Now its just a case of attaching the rod holder ensuring you create a waterproof seal to prevent any water ingress. The rubber gasket helps with the waterproofing. I cut the attached cap off as i ended up tearing them off anyway on the Xplore. Holes were drilled for the rivets and the gasket smothered in clear silicon, both sides, and placed on the kayak.
Before the rod holder holder is inserted and fixed i placed penny washers covered in more silicon on the inside of the hull against the drilled holes - this will give the rivets more grip against the hull. The rod holder is then inserted, marine tri-fold rivets put in place and popped using the rivet gun. On tightening the silicon will spread out and may ooze out from the sides - a wet finger will smear this into a neat finish. A drop more silicon over the tops of the rivets and the rod holder should be fully secured and fully waterproof.
The same is repeated on the other side. The rod holders are just in front of me when I'm seated and should be perfect for when I'm fishing at anchor or on the drift. Whilst not being adjustable like ram tubes or scotty rocket launchers, the fixed position suited me well for the last two seasons on the Teksport and I'm sure they will perform just as well on the Abaco.
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