PART 1 - Rod Holders
Let's start with the easy one, rod holders. I've seen quite a few variations on placement for rod holders as well as styles of holders, there are pro's and con's to each. The type and style of boat will greatly determine where you can place rod holders, as will the construction of the craft. I can't possibly cover every combination, so I'll just stick to what I did and why. Keep in mind, one of my major considerations is that I fish by myself quite a bit and it weighed heavily in my placement decisions.

I run Tite-Lok's Multi-Lock rod holders on my other boat so the choice of brand and style was already made. I like the sturdy construction and the fact their aluminum, not plastic. I've seen a few plastic rod holders break and disappear over gunnels still holding the rod! Another nice feature of this holder is that it's removable from the base. You can take the holder and use it for multiple boats, only having to buy additional bases, which is much cheaper that buying the entire holder. Retailing for about $30, it's a great mid-priced unit. If you have a Meijers store around check them out in the fall when all their boating accessories go on clearance; I got my last 4 for 60% off.
I see quite a few guys running rod holders like this one. While there's nothing wrong with these, many people prefer them because they provide a positive lock on the rod, I didn't like the fact I'd have to contend with a foot and a half of rod butt inside the boat.
Now for the fun part - placement! I've seen two primary placements in drift boats. First, and most common, many are mounted in front of the front set of seats on the inside near the top rail of the boat. Seems to me the rod handles would be in the way, the angle would not be fully adjustable, and the sides of the boat aren't that strong. Not to mention this placement just didn't work out that well with my boat style. While it's easy for the front seater to grab the rod, if I'm fishing alone it's a long way to reach. This set up works great in some boats but it wasn't what I was looking for.
The second place I've seen rod holders mounted is on the top of the bow storage area. There were a couple things I didn't like about this placement. First, there's no way I could reach the rods when fishing alone. Second, when not in use you've still got the bases permanently mounted on top of the casting brace. This could easily tangle fly lines.
Now, on to what I did to satisfy my requirements. I went out on a limb and placed them on top of the front seat compartment. The compartment's made of aluminum so structurally it's about the strongest part of the boat. I found that mounting them here allowed me to reach them from the rowers seat as well as the front seater to grab them easily. It takes a little getting used to for the front seater; typically they have the whole rod in front of them. You can still see a hit, no problem!
The holders are removable from the base and still allows me to remove my seats, which slide on and off. Also, by placing them in this location there's absolutely nothing for fly lines to tangle on when not in use.
I can get a 4 rod spread very easily and have total and complete control in adjustment. I've been running this setup for several months now and have found nothing I don't like about it. Installation was a snap. Pre-mark and drill 4 small holes for each base and secure with stainless steel bolts; took all of a half hour to mount all 4.
Here's a look at John's Spread. With an aluminum boat you have a little more strength in the front casting brace area which opens up more options for mounting. For more info on this style of mounting, you can grab his email off of his website Red Sky Guide Service.
A close up look at the front casting platform, nice flush mounts!
With Rods...
Side Mount w/Rod.
NEXT - Motor and Motor Mount
Heaters and Tank
Coming Soon - Electric Trailer Winch