Review – Shallow Water Solutions Gunnel Rod Racks

Shallow Water Solutions (SWS) has shown up on this website a few times before. I’ve order a few products from them in the past and done an reviews on their push pole holder to their push pole brackets. Now it’s time for another review, but this time it’s for a set of gunnel rod racks I had made for my new skiff. In case you havent read the other reviews, Shallow Water Solutions (SWS) is a company based in Florida that boasts high quality, USA-made, and functional products for your shallow water micro skiff. I looked at quite a few places online but couldn’t find exactly what I wanted to fit my needs. I wanted to add four gunnel-mounted rock racks to my new skiff, but I had certain requirements such as no screws, durable, and cost effective. I found a few under-gunnel rod racks at some generic marine stores but they were either glass-in or screw-down versions that just wouldn’t work for me.

Pat at Shallow Water Solutions was glad to take on my project and create just what I needed. I contacted SWS with my specifications and a week later I had the rod racks in my hands.

First Impressions

The rod racks were made out of the same black composite material many of their other products are made out of. It is durable and has held up great so far. In the several products that have been made for me so far from SWS, none of them has shown signs of cracking or fading after being out on the water for hours at a time. The rod racks were well made and the craftsmanship shows. When I received them, I looked each piece over to verify that the racks were straight and on angle. Each one passed my ‘once over’ and I went to the garage to glue them onto my skiff’s gunnels.

Installation was very easy. I had specified to SWS when I placed my order that I wanted to use some 3M 5200 to secure these to my gunnels since I did not have any space to screw them down (I would have gone right through my hull with any size screw). SWS went the extra mile to suggest to me that scoring the back of the rod racks (shown left) would offer better adhesion by the 5200 glue. This proved to be a great idea, but not totally complete in its execution. When the racks were sent to me, only vertical scoring was done to the rear of the rod racks. After hearing this idea and installing them, I would have much preferred a diagonal or ‘diamond’ scoring pattern to help keep the rod racks from sliding down while the 5200 was curing. It was not a huge issue, as the racks adhered just fine and in the correct position on the gunnels.

Usability

Using these rod racks is very simple and definitely aids in keeping your rods out of the way when going back and fourth on the skiff. The rods are not secured to the gunnels with the built-in bungees on the rod racks and even after hitting some serious wake from a larger vessel this weekend, everything held tight and stayed in place. One of the sets was holding two Shimano Stradic 3000 series reels while bouncing around and didn’t allow anything to pop out. The bungee itself is a little tight, but I expect that to loosen up over time and over use. It’s better to start out with a tight bungee that loosens up; than a loose bungee that fails to secure your expensive rods later on!

Conclusion

When someone comes to SWS with a project, they deliver. SWS is willing to listen to the customer and provide what they need, and even help them out with their concept. The rod racks I received were of good quality and I would recommend them to others. Whether you need a screw, glue, or glassed down version; they will sure be able to do you right. The material they use is good to go, and the craftsmanship is something that the large factories of today just can’t match. Head over to the Shallow Water Solutions website and see what they can put together for you!

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