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Why We Insist on Track Mounted Fishing Accessories

By: Mark Romanack


The back of the author’s boat all rigged up for long-lining crappie. Track mounted fishing systems are the most versatile option on the market.


​When it comes to rod holders and other important fishing accessories, it seems every brand under the sun has something to offer. From the beginning Fishing 411 TV has felt strongly that the best option for mounting all sorts of rod holders boils down to using track mounted fixtures. We find that track is the best option because it’s the strongest option, period. We also like track because it’s versatile enough to allow an angler to rig almost any fishing boat from a modest utility, up to and including the largest Great Lakes charter boat.


​ No matter where you fish or what species you target, going with track mounted rod holders and accessories is a solid investment in the future. I look at rod holders as an investment because the products we use from Cisco Fishing Systems are designed and built to last a lifetime. No they are not cheap, but in the same token no one has designed or built anything better or more functional.


TIPS FOR MOUNTING TRACK

​ Track can be mounted to fishing boats in a host of different means. If the gunwales of your boat are wide enough to accept track and you have access under the deck, thru-bolting track using 1/4-20 stainless hardware, fender washers and Nykok nuts is the best option. Thru-bolting is super strong and while it takes a little time to do the job right, it’s a “one and done” practice that performs for the life of the boat.


​ On some fiberglass boats, there is no easy access under the gunwale for thru-bolting track. In this case, track can be mounted using 3M adhesives and lag screws. While this might seem “janky” these modern adhesives are stronger than the fiberglass itself. The “savvy” in this case is to be absolutely certain where you want to mount track, because after it is mounted, it can not be removed.​


​ A growing number of boats feature an extrusion in the gunwale designed to accept a variety of different fishing accessories. Track can be mounted to boats that feature gunwale extrusions using specially designed brackets. The down side here is that every brand of boat uses their own extrusion design, so it can be challenging to find accessories that actually fit the extrusion in question. It’s also important to note that track mounted to an extrusion is not as strong as track mounted directly to the gunwale.


​ Track can also be mounted to rails using special brackets. This is a viable option for any boat that features factory mounted rails.


​ Track also mounts nicely to gimbal brackets that fit cleanly into flush mount rod holder tubes. This option makes it easy to add track and then remove it to clean up the deck for fishing methods that don’t require rod holders.


Fishing 411 TV takes great pride in rigging their own boats. Many years ago we discovered that track mounted accessories are not only the strongest option, but the most functional and also versatile. Fishing 411 TV uses Cisco Fishing Systems for all of their boat rigging needs.


THE HARD WORK IS DONE

​ Once track is mounted to a boat, the hard work is done. A host of rod holder designs and all manner of fishing accessories will slide into the track. Thumb screws are used to tighten down these accessories so they stay where you put them.


​ Cisco Fishing Systems uses a knurled knob manufactured out of solid aluminum to hold their rod holders and accessories in position on the track. No tools are needed to secure these accessories or to quickly move them as desired.


ROD HOLDER TREES

​ When it comes to rod holders there are a wide variety of designs to choose from. At Fishing 411 TV we favor rod holder trees anytime we are trolling using in-line planer boards like the famous Off Shore Tackle Side-Planer. Trees make it possible to mount rod holders amidship opening up important space at the back of the boat for other accessories.


​ Just as important, trees position the rod butts outside of the boat, working to maximize space inside the boat. Thirdly, because trees position rods up higher off the deck, they pretty much eliminate issues with board lines crossing during turns.


TUBE ROD HOLDERS

​ Tube style rod holders are very versatile. They can be used to present almost any rod type and used for all the common trolling presentations. At Fishing 411 we like tubes for holding downrigger rods and also when fishing a planer board mast system that requires mounting four, five or six rod holders close together.


CRADLE ROD HOLDERS

​ Cradle or what some guys call “saddle” style rod holders are ideal for fishing bottom bouncers or diving planers. The beauty of a cradle rod holder is the rod tip can be positioned close to the water. When a fish is hooked, the rod can be removed from the holder easily by simply lifting straight up. This motion makes it easy to clear the rod from the rod holder, setting the hook in the process. Slick.


DOWNRIGGERS

​ Downriggers are one of those items you need when you need them. For most anglers a permanently mounted downrigger would be inconvenient. At Fishing 411 we find that the best way to mount our downriggers to to swivel bases that in turn slip into the track. This makes it easy to install the riggers when we need them and just as importantly, to remove them when we don’t.


ROCKET LAUNCHERS

​ If your boat has a hard top or an arch, rocket launchers are a very practical means of transporting rods while on the water. The beauty of rocket launchers is you can transport and store a pile of rods in a space that would otherwise not be used. You see this option most commonly used on charter boats, but rocket launchers are handy on any boat.


​ The primary concern when considering rocket launchers is where will the boat be stored during the off season. In some cases, rocket launchers increase the overall height of the boat in such a way the boat will not readily fit into garages, pole buildings and other common winter storage facilities.


Track mounted systems are strong enough for downriggers, yet versatile enough for mounting electronics such as this Fish Hawk sub-surface speed/temperature probe.


ACCESSORIES

​ All kinds of fishing accessories can be conveniently mounted to track. On our boats we mount drink cup holders, tool holders, planer board caddies and downrigger ball caddies, just to name a few. The beauty of using track mounted accessories is these items can be mounted almost anywhere in the boat and easily removed when not needed.


A FEW FINAL WORDS

​ When we set out at Fishing 411 TV to rig a fishing boat, we are taking a hard look at function. Nothing goes on our boats that is not 100% functional, period! Secondly, we look at how best to use space. The space on a fishing boat is limited and it’s important to make the most of every square inch. Lastly, when we rig a boat is has to be versatile enough to function at a wide variety of fishing situations.


​ In every case, we find you simply can’t beat track mounted fishing accessories. Track is flat out the best option for function, strength and versatility.

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