I’ve been looking for the “perfect” rod holder to use when trolling with Dipsey Divers. Most any will do the chore in the spring or for walleye trolling when I want the diver and lure to only go 20 or 30 feet deep, but in mid-summer, when trying to put a magnum Dipsey or Size 5 Deeper Diver down to the thermocline, what’s needed is a rod holder that will hold up to the strain and almost as important is a rod holder that will allow the rod to easily be pulled out of the holder when a crazed king or lunker laker has latched onto the lure down in the depths.

It’s easy to build a rod holder strong enough to stand up to the strain, but I’ve yet to come across a “pipe-style” holder that passes the ease-of-use test. Few young anglers or inexperienced trollers have the strength or the know-how to pull the rod forward sufficiently to relieve the pressure and then remove the rod so they can actually start fighting the fish. 

A couple of brands I’ve used were easy for youths and newbies, but they didn’t hold the rod securely. I feared an errant bump from a person on the boat or unexpected wave could result in the rod going overboard. That’s why I took a second look and then a third at the Scotty R-5 Rod Holder when I saw it at ICAST.

Unlike most rod holders, the R-5 has a moving part – called a “lock bar” that keeps the rod locked down while it’s being trolled. The lock bar securing the rod in place can’t release until the part of the rod at the front of the holder is manually lifted. That’s the normal/logical way to grab a rod being tortured by a fish at the end of the line. Basically, just lift it free. As the front is lifted the lock bar “unlocks” and the rod is free. 

Early on in my fishing career I used and either broke or discarded various brands of plastic rod holders. They just weren’t tough enough for the Great Lakes and Great Lakes fish. The Scotty R-5 is plastic, but it’s thick, tough plastic and Scotty has reputation for making quality products using quality materials. I’m sure the R-5s on my boat will be there for decades.

I don’t have a track system on my boat so I chose the “290” version of the R-5 which includes a side or deck mount. I was able to just bolt that mount to my rod holder/’rigger support. Scotty does make mounting options for use with most track systems. Check it all out at

Available retail at authorized Scotty downrigger outlets. Most Scotty products, including the R-5 can be purchased online at 

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