I keep some sections of rope - line in my tackle bag. They are about 2 feet long, perhaps a little thicker than a shoelace.
I will set my bait in the water, lean my rod, make certain the drag is set where I want it, and than tie a tag ended slip knot to the railing with my rod in it. The line is usually several eyelets down, depending on how I lean the stick, and I'm pretty careful about resting a guide on the rail so the line can peel off the reel.
A slip knot with a 'tag' end makes it simple to release the stick when I choose to pick it up, or when a fish hits. I've never lost a stick using this method.
It only takes an extra moment to tie my stick to the rail, does not interfere with the reel or line, and will save that inadvertently unattended stick when a big fish takes your bait.
Hope this helps someone else.