As some of you have no doubt noted, the Outback/Sport/Quest built-in rodholders aren't always deep enough (only about 5 inches) so the rod butt can be inserted deep enough to avoid rod loss. Of course, everyone should be using a rod leash or tether anywayï¿½right?? But sometimes in the heat of the moment, I tend to forget my rod leash. However, the simplest do-it-yourself project yet is to make a couple of PVC rodholder extenders. You can use either thin-walled or thick-walled PVC to decrease the inside diameter for a snugger fit for the smaller rods.
For example, a 1 1/4" diameter PVC thin-walled pipe gives you an ID of almost 1 1/2" (PVC is measured using the inside diameter), while the thick-walled pipe is, as labeled, 1 1/4 inches ID. For the Outback, I used the 1 1/4 inch thin-walled jobs, cut these to a length of 10 inches, and simply dropped them into the built-in rodholders. This gave me an extension of about 5 inches above the deck. Of course, you can cut the PVC to whatever length, and use whatever diameter best suits your needs and rod size. You can even fit several different diameters of PVC inside one another to further decrease the ID to fit your smaller rods.
Then I discovered another annoying problem. When reaching forward for a rod, I found that I often angled the rod tip back towards me so that the butt wedged in, and pulled the PVC pipe up and out of the built-in rodholders. To avoid dropping the PVC extenders overboard, another simple solution is to add a couple of medium-thick rubber bands (small bag of 3 x 1/8 inchers from Wal-Mart office supply department) around the PVC where it goes into the built-in. The rubber bands make for a nice snug fit in my Outback, so the PVC inserts didn't pull out when I pulled the rod out. I thought about using O-rings, but they are hard to find in the right size and thickness, plus they tend to be a bit pricey compared to good ole rubber bands. My motto is to follow the K.I.S.S. Principle wherever possible