A fiberglass leaning post on a center console fishing boat serves two distinct purposes. On the forward side, it’s part of the helm station, providing a secure spot for the helmsman and passengers to lean or sit while underway. On the aft side, it’s part of the cockpit and serves, depending on the boat, as a rod rack, tackle/rigging center, and/or livewell. In other words, your leaning post is right at the center of most of what happens on a fishing boat. Here are six DIY upgrades — representing a wide range of both difficulty and cost — to optimize this primest of prime real estate.

1. Inset Tackle Center

The back and sides of your fiberglass leaning post are the ideal place for tackle storage, and many leaning posts have lots of unused interior volume. 

Inset tackle centers are a great way to put that volume to use. They range from small prefab cabinets that hold a couple of Plano trays to closet-sized units complete with bulk-storage drawers for line spools and other large items, dedicated tool and leader holders, lure bags and tubes, and more. Mounting depths — the required clearance behind the mounting surface — start at just 3”. Tilt-out tackle units are another option for maximizing space.

tackle box storage solution built into a boat for convenient storing of fishing gear while on the water

2. Fire Extinguisher Compartment

Another way to make use of otherwise wasted space inside your fiberglass leaning post is with an inset fire extinguisher holder.

Putting your extinguisher in a central location like your leaning post not only makes sense safety-wise, but also frees up the space where it would otherwise be stored for other uses. 

Fire extinguisher storage solution built into the fiberglass leaning post on a boat

Options include an open box that holds a single extinguisher and a cabinet that holds two extinguishers or one extinguisher plus other safety equipment, like an EPIRB.

3. Folding Footrest

Sitting on a leaning post with your feet dangling in the air is uncomfortable in any conditions and verging on dangerous when you’re running hard in rough water.

A folding footrest mounted to the front of the post gives you a solid place for your feet when you’re sitting and folds instantly out of the way when you want to stand.

Custom aluminum footrest built into the leaning post of a center console.

Boat Outfitters offers made-to-order aluminum footrests in your choice of width and color for the perfect fit. Folding footrests can also be mounted on the aft side of many leaning posts to function as a step stool for easier access to rods in holders along the aft edge of the T-top or hardtop.

4. Surface-Mount Tool Holder

A dedicated tool holder that mounts to the vertical side of your leaning post and puts your pliers, knife, fish gripper, frequently used lures, and/or spools of leader at your fingertips is almost a no-brainer. Mounting is a breeze, and it takes up virtually zero space.

Options range from holders designed for a single tool, like a bait knife or BogaGrip, to combination holders with slots for numerous tools and lures, as well as drinks.

Most units can be mounted with either traditional fasteners or suction cups, while a few use SeaSucker vacuum mounts.

tool holder solution built into a boat for convenient storing of fishing gear while on the water

5. Leaning Post Drink Holders

Many fiberglass leaning posts are designed with two to six flush-mount rod holders along the aft edge of the top, but few offer much — if anything — in the way of places to put drinks. 

Having a secure spot to set down a water bottle, insulated tumbler, or frosty canned beverage while fishing is a big deal, though.

One super-simple solution is to buy a couple of Rod Spike Cup Holders, which drop directly into any flush-mount rod holder, instantly converting it to a drink holder.

Rod Spike cup holder drops directly into any flush mount rod holder

A more involved option is to replace your existing rod holders with one of several models of combination rod and cup holders, which serve double duty as flush-mount rod holders and recessed drink holders. Cost-effective plastic versions are available in black or white; 0˚, 15˚, and 30˚ angles; and with a round or oval flange. Stainless steel versions are likewise available in different angles with a round or oval flange and with top-mount or screwless mounting options.

6. Clear Acrylic Livewell Lid

An integrated livewell is a common feature in fiberglass leaning posts, and replacing an existing Starboard or fiberglass lid with a clear or translucent acrylic lid is an easy, high-impact upgrade.

Clear lids aren’t just aesthetically appealing; they also keep bait healthier by allowing natural light into the well.

Clear acrylic livewell lid built into a fiberglass leaning post to optimize space on the console.

Boat Outfitters offers dozens of direct OEM replacement livewell lids. If your model isn’t listed, though, the Design & Engineering team can replicate your existing lid in the material of your choice, with or without custom engraving.

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