I consider surf rod holders to be absolutely essential pieces of surf gear.
But you MUST get the length of them right.
But what is the best length for a surf rod holder?
The best length for a surf rod holder is 3-4ft. This allows you to push into the sand far enough for the rod holder to be stable. And so your reel is high enough from the surf, protecting it from splashes and sand exposure. 3-4ft rod holders are a comfortable height to place and retrieve your rod from.
How long should a PVC rod holder be?
You don’t want your rod holder to be too short when you’re at the beach.
3-4ft is a perfect height for a rod holder because it gives enough length to puncture the sand and stand stable, whether you are fishing close to the shore breaks or further up the beach.
A longer surf rod holder also helps when fishing at different beaches, because some beaches shelve quickly while others are flatter, meaning the water rises faster in some places than others.
This can risk water exposure to your reel, which you don’t want.
Another factor is the type of sand or ground you are placing the rod holder into. Some beaches have deep but fluffy sand which means you have to push your rod holder deeper in to be stable.
The additional length will help here.
Why is it important to choose the right length surf rod holder?
Ultimately, there are 3 important reasons for investing in the right length surf rod holders:
- To protect your fishing gear – the right length means your reel is out of the way of splashes and water exposure.
- For comfort – you don’t have to hold the rod the whole time – if your rod holder is the right height you should be easily able to place and pick up your rod from the holder.
- For versatility when fishing – a rod holder frees up your hands for fishing a different style (like lure fishing), while you wait for a bite on the rod in the rod holder.
Having the right length surf rod holder means you can comfortably utilize it to maximize your fishing time when at the beach.
Being able to fish in different styles, like bait vs ure fishing, increases your chances of hooking up fish or catching different species.
Considerations for choosing the right length surf rod holder
Type of fishing and length of rod
When surf fishing from the beach using bait, you’ll often want to cast out to reach breakers and sandbars that are quite far from shore.
Often this type of surfcasting requires using rods with additional length to them to aid with casting the distance you need.
With additional length in your rod, you need additional support and stability from the sand spike you are using.
Let’s look at the factors that impact using long rods, that you need extra support for:
- The long rod becomes top heavy
- The weight of the terminal tackle and the bait pull on the top eye of the rod
- The force of the swell can move your weight and bait around, pulling the top of the rod even more.
- Wind can also impact the pressure put on your rod
To counter these pressures, you need a long sand spike to push deep into the sand and create the stability needed to be effective.
I also like to vary my fishing style.
With one rod I’ll cast bait out far beyond the breakers – this requires the stable, long rod holder on the beach to place the rod in.
With a second rod, this will be much shorter, and I’ll use it for lure fishing closer in to shore so that I cover different areas and distances of the beach.
Height of the angler
The height of the angler might also influence what size and length rod holder you get.
Of course, you want to have a rod holder that you can reach.
If you are 5ft 8, and you have a rod holder that’s 6ft high that would be annoying!
And likewise with shorter rod holders…
You don’t want to always be bending down to pick up or strike the rod.
Nor do you want to be grasping the rod mid-way next to an eyelet when you’re striking because you could risk snapping or damaging the rod.
Location on the beach
The location you are fishing from will dictate what length rod holder you need.
If you are far from the water, you could use a shorter rod holder.
But you’ll need to check the sand higher up the beach. It may be looser and therefore less supportive, requiring a long rod holder to push deep in the sand.
If you’re setting up your rod holder closer to the shore breakers then you want the rod holder and where the reel sits in the holder to be long and high enough to keep the reel out of harms way from water exposure.
Height of the swell and shore breakers
In the case of rougher, larger swell I would always err on the side of caution and use a longer rod holder.
Some days are very calm, and you can get away with a shorter rod holder close to shore.
But some days the swell and surf are large and aggressive, creating lots of splashing and sand flicking on the shoreline.
Saltwater and sand are not a reel’s friend.
The right-length rod holder keeps the reel nice and high in this case.
What is the best length for a surf rod holder? Summary
In summary, I would always opt for longer rather than shorter rod holders.
The 3-4ft length is ideal.