DIY Fishing Rod Holder and Pole Rack for Truck

Going on a fishing trip is fun for anyone, but you tend to accumulate a ton of gear over the years.

This past week I went on a fishing trip with 7 other guys (trout fishing), and because we were taking my pickup truck, was nominated as the defacto rod holder vehicle.

I wanted to make sure we utilized all the space we could, but wanted to keep this project as cheap as possible (DIY 101, ya know).


This project is pretty simple and took maybe an hour to install into my crew cab Ford F-150 with a Truxedo soft cover. The main reason I mention the Truxedo soft cover is because I used this as part of my mounting bracket for my cedar crossbars. I would think you could bolt into the sides of your truck bed to build your rod holder but I would be pretty careful here.

Things you’ll need:

  • Spare wood – we used 2 leftover cedar 2×6’s, leftover from our raised garden beds
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Self-tapping screws
  • Hooks – we used 10 bike hooks from Lowe’s, which we purchased for less than $1.50 per hook
  • Soft tip rod holders – we bought our Berkley rod and fishing pole holder at Bass Pro Shops, but you can find them on Amazon as well

Here are the steps to creating your own homemade DIY rod holder for fishing poles.

Step 1: Measure the width of your truck bed and cut 2 2×6 cedar planks to be snug

Step 2: Drill holes into the Truxedo holder, evenly spaced. We made sure our boards fit snug into the truck bed so there was not a lot of pressure put on the Truxedo rail.

Step 3: Do the same for the second rod holder closer to the cab. We stayed about 1-2 feet away from the cab.

Step 4: Screw in the hooks. Now that the boards are mounted, the hooks should be placed to hold the rods. We kept the hooks 6 inches apart.

Step 5: Cut a 1-foot 2×6 board for the rod holder on the tip-end – you will see in a minute, just trust us on this one.

Step 6: Mount the Berkeley rod holders to hold the tip-end of the rod. My F-150 is a crew cab with a 5-foot bed, so unfortunately a 6-foot pole will not fit straight on. To compensate we decided to build these at an angle. Not everyone in our fishing group has a 6-foot rod and some have 5-foot or less, so we did have some flexibility with the organization of the fishing poles. By crisscrossing the poles, we were able to fit up to a 6.5 foot pole that would not bend at all – it worked out great. One Berkeley rod holder should go flush against the 2×6 crossbar at an angle (use a rod to measure – we just eyeballed it). The other rod holder should attach to the 1-foot 2×6, so the rods can crisscross and go underneath the aforementioned rods that will use the flush-mounted rod holder on the crossbar. See photo for more explanation.


Step 7: Go fishing!


Now that you are all set, you can put your Truxedo soft cover back down, put your fishing poles into the truck bed, and have room underneath for your coolers, waders, tents and sleeping bags.

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