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Crappie don’t break a whole lot of things, but crappie fisherman do

With thinking like that it’s no wonder that Driftmaster Rod Holders are built to last. It’s also no wonder that the product comes from a family business where family values are reflected in the end product.

Driftmaster Rod Holders are made with quality materials and expert craftsmanship.
Driftmaster Rod Holders are made with quality materials and expert craftsmanship.
Ron Presley
Crappie pros Don and Toni Collins use Driftmaster Rod Holders to maximize their crappie catching.
Ron Presley

“My father started our business about 30 years ago,” says David Baynard, chief cook and bottle washer of a company called Black River Tools. Making catfish rod holders for anglers on Santee-Cooper Lake in South Carolina is how it all started. “We are still a family business. My son and my wife work in the business along with about a dozen employees. Half of them are family members.”

The company manufactures fishing rod holders and trolling systems. The trolling systems are very popular among crappie anglers, especially those that push 6 to 8 rods out the front of the boat. “The whole concept around pushing jigs (spider rigging) is bringing the rods to the angler,” explains Baynard. “When you are setting in your fishing seat and moving around with your trolling motor you want your trolling rods where you can get to all of them without having to move a great distance. So, we design products to accommodate that need.”

Driftmaster Rod Holders are created in a range of different types of trolling systems. “Some are appealing to weekend warriors or guys just taking their kids and wives out fishing. It’s all about an enjoyable day on the water. We also make trolling systems that are a little more serious for competitive anglers that fish tournaments. For those guys and gals every fish matters and we try to make products that deliver what they need.”

Baynard believes everyone's fishing technique is his or her own, and their boat is unique to them as well. Given all the boat manufactures and all the different models there is no one style that will accommodate all applications. “Driftmaster offers thirteen base designs, and nine rod holder models; each available in Pro or Li'l Pro series, right or left thread, regular or long stem. That means hundreds of possible combinations and that doesn't even count our trolling system options. Fishing is unique and personal, your rod holder set up should be too.”

In addition to the rod holders themselves, anglers also need to store and protect their rods from damage. Baynard explains, “The one aspect of fishing multiple rods from a central location, like in spider rigging, is the importance of organizing your rods. You have the opportunity for tangled rods and broken rod tips. You are using light lines with light jigs and if the wind is blowing it complicates things. So we have a product line of rod organization tools called Tip Savers. The idea is to keep these delicate tips on crappie poles separated and keep the lines separated to avoid tangles and broken fishing rods. In some respects the organization is almost as important as the fishing system itself.”

People use their boats for different things, and one of Baynard’s underlying perspectives is that all of the Driftmaster products be removable from the boat when not in use. Additionally, they must be quiet and remain tight at all times. “We don’t like anything on the boat to rattle or come loose. Our products are designed to tighten down and stay tight. When you run across choppy water you don’t want things working loose, so we design accordingly. The other important features are longevity and durable construction.”

Longevity and durability is an underlying rule of building Driftmaster Rod Holders. “It is our belief that fish don’t break a whole lot of things, but fisherman do,” says Baynard. “We design our products for use by a good size man on a rough day based on what he might grab during the trip. We don’t want anything breaking because it is not strong enough.”

All Driftmaster products are manufactured in South Carolina and have a lifetime unconditional warranty. “If any of our products ever break just send it to us and get a new one. We do not require a receipt or proof of purchase. We know that it’s ours and if it broke we are going to stand behind it.”

For information on Driftmaster and Black River Tools visit the website at or call 803-473-4927.

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