Venturing into the grand outdoors for some fly fishing is an exhilarating experience. However, moving from one fishing spot to another can be quite the chore, especially if it involves dismantling and reassembling your fly rods. Unfortunately, casually tossing your fishing rod into the back of your car could result in a shattered rod, as I’ve learned from personal experience.
The solution? A rod vault or rod carrier mounted to your roof rack. While buying one online can strain your wallet, you can create an economical DIY fly rod holder. This will not only protect your rods while you’re on the move but also save you the hassle of constantly setting up and breaking down your gear. Here’s how to build a fly rod tube roof rack from the comfort of your home.
Your PVC Fly Rod Holder Shopping List
Before you start, ensure your vehicle has a roof rack. If you’re good to go, let’s start building. You’ll need one DIY fly rod holder per fly rod you wish to carry. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A 2-inch diameter, 10-ft long PVC pipe (up to 11 ft for long euro nymphing fly rods)
- Three 6-inch lengths of 2-inch PVC pipe insulation
- A lockable Tupperware box or ammo can
- A 2-inch PVC coupler threaded
- A 2-inch O ring
- A 2-inch PVC cap
- Cuttable foam insulation
- PVC cement
- A 2-inch hole saw
If you wish to carry multiple rods, simply increase the number of PVC pipes. Consider finding a single box for your reels that all the pipes can fit into. This will enhance your design and make it more efficient.
Building Your DIY Fly Fishing Rod Holders
Let’s begin constructing your homemade fishing rod racks for your car. Here’s the step-by-step guide:
Take your 2″ PVC foam insulation and cut it to match the length of your pipe. Insert it into the pipe. This padding will ensure your rods are secure and protected in the carrier during transit. Next, use the PVC cement to seal one end of the pipe with the 2″ PVC cap. On the opposite end, secure the male or female end of the threaded coupler with the cement.
Drill a 2-inch hole into the center of your reel box. If you’re making a vault for multiple rods, drill an appropriate number of holes. Smooth the edges with sandpaper for a sleek finish. Confirm the coupler fits by slotting the coupled end of the PVC pipe through the reel box, attaching the other end of the coupler with the O-ring.
If everything aligns, you’re ready to secure it permanently. But first, line the reel box with foam to prevent any damage to the reels.
Apply cement to the threads, slot the coupler end of the pipe through the reel box, and screw in the other end of the coupler. You now have a single rod carrier system ready for your car.
Before mounting your fishing rod storage vault to your roof rack, make sure the reel box can open and close smoothly. If it’s lockable, even better. You might need to adjust the opening and closing mechanisms, but a suitable ammo or Tupperware box should work just fine.
Your fishing rod rack is now ready to be mounted on the roof. Make sure your roof rack can handle the weight. You can use basic cable ties, but large pipe clamps from a DIY retail store might serve you better.
The beauty of this design is that it’s bare bones. You can easily add on to it or improve it as you see fit. If you’re making a roof rod rack for multiple rods, consider creating supports between each of the PVC pipes to ensure they remain aligned and are easier to mount.
Aside from the time investment, this fishing vault design shouldn’t cost you more than $100 for two rods, even less for four rods. Plus, it’s a fun and quick project to undertake.
In contrast, a reliable rod vault that holds two rods can set you back around $400, and a 4-rod setup around $700. Hence, a DIY solution is far more economical.
The safety of your rods in this DIY version largely depends on the lockable box you’ve chosen for your reels. With a sturdy box and padding in the form of insulation, your rods will be secure on the highway and protected from falling debris when parked next to the river.
Thanks for reading my article. I hope this DIY project proves useful and helps you transport your gear to, from, and around the river without breaking the bank.
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