I was really excited about reviewing this product from RAILBLAZA™ for two reasons:
1. I was not really happy with my existing rod holder (various reasons)
2. I had heard many positive reports about the company and their extensive product range.
The first thing that made an impression on me was the very neat and well designed StarPort. The sliding lock enables you to lock the rod holder into place, and this is where it gets exciting. The StarPort multi function design allows the user to swap and fit any of the RAILBLAZA products. Boom mounts, platforms, drink holders, and hook eyes can all be fitted very simply, eliminating the need for all different types of mounts. This is one of the most innovative accessory mount systems I have seen, and even little details like the strong rubber port covers are quite impressive.
Not to be outshone, the RodHolder II is packed with features that match it with any of their competitors products. The rotating collar system locks the rod in place, and is a much better option than the latching strap devices. I have found it difficult to lean forward from my kayak seat and clip a latch, and the rotating function of the RodHolder II is really easy to use.
At the rear of the unit is a gimbal lock that moves up and down. It is designed to reduce rod rotation (on rods with cross indentation) and stops the rod from slipping through the unit.
This unit can hold either a spin or baitcast outfit, and it was the baitcast fit that I was most impressed with. I fitted a Shimano “T-curve” rigged with a Shimano “Curado” reel and it was snug as a bug in a rug. The T-curve has a trigger grip and it didn’t seem to affect the seating of the rod at all.
A new option available in 2012 is the 125mm [4.9” – Ed.] fixed extension. The extender would give that extra clearance that we kayakers (particularly Hobie owners) require.
This is a brilliant product from a company doing great things, and my hat goes off to our friends over the pond there in New Zealand.
Watch out World, you are about to get BLAZED....
[Editor’s note: In the US, RAILBLAZA™ available now from West Marine, and from September 20 through from YakGear.com.]
About the Author: I am a keen kayak fisherman in Mildura, Victoria Australia. I have a blog at yakkintackle.com and it is here that a lot of my thoughts about kayak gear are posted. I also have a Facebook page of the same name and the page is growing rapidly. I am a big fan of YakAngler and as a resource, I would say it is probably the best.