Hook Set Innovations Float-n-Tote Rod Holder

by Steve Schweitzer

So you thought you didn't need one...

I am not one much for buying a lot of flyfishing accessories, so when the HSI Float-n-Tote rod holder arrived at my front doorstep to review, I was sceptically intriqued. I have never had much use for a float tube rod holder since most of my float tube fishing is done in litle ponds and near shore on lakes. However, the perfect trip was coming up to test out the rod holder system.

I arrived in Bozeman, MT to embark on a 7-day fishing trip which included fishing rivers, streams, hiking and float tubing on an 80 acre private lake. I have never really experienced a large trout lake in a float tube before, so the adventure was new. I prepared my float tube and strapped on the rod holder. I was abit skeptical on the real use and need of the darned thing, but that soon dissapeared as I began to kick my way out to the middle of the lake. Well, that was no small feat itself.

The wind kicked up, the weedline at the bank was getting caught in my kick-fins and the rod, line and leader was the last thing on my mind and the first thing to get in my way. OK,OK,OK, I admit...I didn't use the rod holder out of the gate; I held onto the rod as I always have. What a mistake. So, being a capable human being with rapid learning skills, I placed the rod in the rod holder and concentrated on getting myself out of the weedline and fighting the wind and current.

The Float-n-Tote rod holder straps on easily to the pontoon of your float tube.
Benefit #1
While kicking about, the rod is out of the way
After a tiring 20 minutes, I arrived at the spot on the lake I desired to fish. Of course, I hadn't rigged the tippet and fly before I left shore. You see, in the past, I learned that rigging the rod with a sharp hook wasn't the smartest thing to do prior to kicking about in a float tube. Plus, I generally have always rigged the wrong fly and when I got to where I was going, I changed the fly out anyhow. So, as I mildy kicked to keep my position in the wind and current, I prepared my tippet and fly without having to worry about the rod tip sinking in the water or getting kicked by my fins.

Benefit #2
The rod holder allows for easy change-out of leader and fly
So the day went well, catching several 3-5 pound rainbows on a mixed bag of grey drakes, damselflies and streamers. The time came when I decided to kick myself back to the shore. The fishing was so good that I couldn't just hang it up as I moved back in. Gee, I figured I could adjust the rod holder to accomodate a little trolling action while I slowly made my way back to shore. Sure enough, I caught two more fiesty rainbows as I trolled a streamer at kick-fast pace.

Benefit #3
Easy to troll, hands free!
Now as I said, I am not one much for gadgets, but I suspicion that this rod holder can come in handy for a variety of reasons. I have not fished in the surf on a float tube or kayak, but I betcha this little gadget can be a handy aid when the surf is tossing you about.


More Benefits...
Try it as a spare rod holder...
Try it as a rod holder on your truck...
Try it on your waist...

How else might you use this accessory? I've come up with a few different ways. I was fortunate enough to have 2 sent to me fore review. So I used them both. Since I am a right-handed caster, I mounted the other one on the left pontoon of my Outcast U-boat float tube. The second rod holder became my spare rod! I rigged two rods, one with a streamer leader and streamer and the other with a dry fly leader and dry fly. Switching out became as easy as moving rods! Hey, golfers use many clubs, why not flyfishers use multiple rods?! Now the idea came to mind: I needed a rod holding system for my pickup to hold my rods securly while travelling from stream spot to stream spot. wow! with just a bit of ingenuity, I strapped the rod holders in the bed of my pickup (on a crossbar made of 2x4). Now, I am not the world's smartest guy, but I bet there are more ways to use the rod holders. I just haven't figured them out.

While adjusting requires tools, the holder is secure... you needn't worry about your rod taking a swim.
The Float-n-Toat comes just the way Henry Ford likes them..."You can have any color as long as it is black". It's quite a sturdy piece and adjusts to your specific needs. It comes out of the package ready to use as a rod holder on the left side of your PFD pointing the rod rearward out of the way. Simply place it on the right side for a nifty little trolling holder. Instructions indicate that it even can be attached via a belt around your waist for surf-style fishing, but this trout fly-rod toting author didn't test that method!


It's easy to change between left and right-hand usage by loosening the bolt, rotating the rod tube 180-degrees and tightening it back again. The rod tube accommodates both spin casting or fly rods. I did notice that the holder slipped somewhat during a very windy gust on the lake. The tension can be adjusted: I probably didn't have it adjusted correctly. However, to do any position adjusting, you'll need a few tools such as a flat screwdriver, a philips screwdriver and a wrench to hold the nut while tightening. These tools aren't something you'd want to take with you on the lake. Maybe a future version will include large thumb screws for adjusting instead of tool-intensive hardware. But like anything, be sure to have your adjustments made BEFORE going out to fish!

The rod holder retails for $35 to $40 USD. I am not an expert float-tuber nor do I like a bunch of 'stuff' around me when I float-tube, but I saw the immediate benefits of this gadget! If you do any float-tubing at all, consider adding this piece of equimpent to your float tube arsenal. GFF rates the Hook Set Innovations Rod Holder as a 5 on the GFF scale.

For more information, contact: Hook Set Innovations Suite 447, 205-329 North Road Coquitlam, B.C. V3K 6Z8 nick.batistic@telus.net

User comments
From: teamfish - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted July 22nd 2013

I think this product is worth looking at...

Cast Mate by TEAM FISH, INC. www.teamfishco.com

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