Ice fishing is a popular winter sport in areas with lakes that freeze solidly enough to allow safe access to the frozen surface. Many companies manufacture special equipment ice fishermen can purchase, but ice fishermen, more than open water anglers, prefer making some or all of the gear and gadgets they use. One of these is homemade rod holders that can position the fishing rods perfectly over the holes, in easy reach and out of the snow and slush that accumulates around a fishing hole. PVC pipe comes in a variety of sizes and can easily be cut to usable lengths. A large variety of tees, elbows, caps and other fittings are available which can be incorporated into your design.
PVC pipe is sold in a variety of sizes, each size listed by the inside diameter of the pipe. Measure the diameter of the handles on fishing rods you will be using and, at least for the section in which you will insert the rod, use a pipe of a slightly larger diameter so the rod can be inserted or removed easily. If your rod handle is an inch in diameter, use a 1 1/4-inch pipe. Other larger or smaller diameter pipes can be used as legs or supports in your design as you see fit.
When used for plumbing, PVC cement is used to weld the pieces of pipe to the various fittings making them water tight. You can design the rod holder and glue all the pieces into a solid unit, but that will make it unnecessarily bulky when transporting it. A better idea is to glue some of the fittings to some of the pipes, but don’t glue others. This allows the holder to be collapsed and stored in a minimum space when being transported, then quickly assembled for use when you arrive at the fishing area.
One of the reasons to fabricate your own gear is to customize it to your particular needs. Sit on the seat as you normally do when fishing and build the rod holders to the perfect height for your reach. If you are unsure of how they will work, build them larger or taller to begin with, bring a tape measure and saw or cordless rotary tool with a cutting wheel along and you can scale them back a little at a time until they are customized perfectly for you.
Look over the available tees, elbows and other fittings available at the hardware store and imagine how they can be incorporated into your design. Plan how to use these fittings to produce a holder that is very stabile and won’t easily tip or blow over on windy days. PVC pipe is inexpensive. All the pipes and fittings for a rod holder will only cost a few dollars so experiment with several designs until you find the one which works best for your fishing rods and the way you fish.