An Inshore Rocket Launcher?Boat Outfitters Staff December 02, 2022 5 min read
Innovative thinking from a Keys guide leads to a new Boat Outfitters designRenowned Florida Keys guide Capt. Greg Poland runs mainly inshore charters but has done his share of offshore fishing, too — particularly kite fishing for sailfish. So he knows how a dedicated rocket launcher can streamline the game by positioning multiple rods in one location. Even with half a dozen kite lines out, a single crew member can instantly reach any one of them when the bite comes.
But it wasn’t until his dock neighbors in Islamorada — a tournament sailfish crew on the Contender 44ST Hillbilly Deluxe — started using a removable rocket launcher with integrated tackle trays and drink holders that the light bulb went off for Poland. Why couldn’t the same basic idea work inshore? After all, his charter anglers frequently fished two or even three rods each when live-baiting tarpon and snook around the bridges and in the backcountry.
"An inshore adaptation of the rocket launcher idea would put all those rods at the fingertips of anglers on his forward casting deck and save them having to reach down and grab a rod from a flush-mount holder at their feet when a bite came. "
An inshore adaptation of the rocket launcher idea, Poland thought, would put all those rods at the fingertips of anglers on his forward casting deck and save them having to reach down and grab a rod from a flush-mount holder at their feet when a bite came. Additionally, if the angler was holding a water bottle, Yeti or other beverage, an integrated drink holder would keep them from having to bend down and set it on deck — where it often ended up spilling anyway during the ensuing fight. All of which, he reasoned, should lead to more hookups.
So Poland took some pictures of his neighbor’s removable rocket launcher and sent them to Boat Outfitters — who he’d worked with on several other projects — to see what they could come up with for his charter boat, a Contender 25 Bay.
"Poland and the Boat Outfitters team came up with a three-rod pedestal holder that drops into a 0˚ flush-mount rod holder and positions rods at comfortable height for anglers on the casting deck. "
After a few iterations, he and the Boat Outfitters design team arrived at a three-rod pedestal holder that drops into a 0˚ flush-mount rod holder and positions rods at a comfortable height both for anglers on the casting deck and anglers in the cockpit. The rod tubes themselves are vertical — rather than angled outward like a typical kite fishing cluster — so that the pedestal can be used anywhere on the boat and at any angle without rods leaning inboard. A small Starboard tray with two drink holders and a pliers slot can be easily removed if not needed.
Poland says the unique pedestal holder is useful not just for holding rods while actively fishing but also serves as a great way for young kids to reel in fish that are too strong for them to fight while holding the rod themselves. The holder places the reel at a perfect height for kids to crank while keeping the rod secure. It also comes in handy on occasion as a boarding aid for guests who need to steady themselves while stepping from dock to boat, Poland says.
Normally, Poland uses the pedestal rod holder in one of two 0˚ rod holders near the bow, but for certain situations he uses it on the aft deck in one of another pair of 0˚ rod holders originally installed to hold a removable backrest.
The new pedestal holder complements a pair of Triple Offset Rod Holders, which Poland also had a hand in designing. The offset holders are used in a variety of ways around the boat, including for additional rod storage aft while running. A removable cutting board/rigging traythat mounts to the offset rod holders is interchangeable with the Starboard tray that mounts to the new pedestal rod holder, and Poland often uses it to add extra drink holders to his leaning post when needed.
The removable Starboard tray that is part of the new pedestal rod holder can also be attached to Poland’s Triple Offset Rod Holders to provide extra places in the cockpit for drinks.
We love hearing ideas and suggestions from our customers — pro anglers and weekend warriors alike. Capt. Poland’s new triple pedestal rod holder, which we recently added to our catalog, is just one of dozens of innovative products that grew out of collaborations between our customers and our design team.
Check back for the latest inshore and offshore fishing report in the Islamorada area.