In the midst of fly fishing-related thoughts, we think about casting form, which fly knots or patterns we want to try out, and what sections of the river will ensure more bites.
The logical mind focuses on the actual fly fishing itself and not so much on getting to and from our fishing spot or how our gear will travel there safely.
But nothing is the thief of joy more than arriving at your destination to fly fish only to find that your fly rod and reel inflicted some damage during the journey. Not a lot of fishing is going to happen in that scenario.
That’s why it’s of utmost importance to consider how you’ll store your fly rod in or on your car. There are a few methods to contemplate, some better than others. That said, giving your fly rod storage some logistical thought will allow you to get back to the thoughts you enjoy having; the act of fishing itself.
To get your rod safely to the water and back home, you can either disassemble it and transport it in your car, build a DIY fly rod vault, or invest in a fly rod roof rack.
Keep reading and find out more about these three best practices for fly rod transportation.
Disassembling Your Fly Rod
At the very least, if you don’t have a DIY fly rod tube or a manufactured fly rod roof rack atop your vehicle, you’ll want to take the time to disassemble your fly rod before travel.
Although not a complicated process, disassembling your fly rod should be done properly every time if you plan to fish and intend to continue for the foreseeable future.
The first step of disassembly is snipping the fly from the tippet. You can then stow any leader or tippet you were using in your fly box for later.
Next, reel your line in, and as you do this, bring the line to your ear, listening for any subtle grinding coming from your reel.
If you hear any grinding, it’s most likely sand or other particles that require a quick wash using a microfiber towel and water.
Once free of dirt particles, give it a thorough dry and then store it in its designated place, safe from the rest of your gear or anything that could inflict damage.
For breaking down the fly rod itself, remember the phrase “put together, close together, take apart, far apart.”
This means, when assembling the fly rod or putting it back together, your hands should be placed close to the ferrules as you reattach the pieces.
When disassembling your fly rod, your hands should be farther apart and away from the ferrules as you take apart the fly rod.
Why is this so important? This attention to detail will keep everything balanced and weight evenly distributed while preventing the rods from setting onto either of the ferrules.
Then, you can bind each piece of your fly rod together with some velcro and place socks or padded cushions over each end of your disassembled rig, so there’s no potential damage inflicted to these fragile parts.
Once secured and adequately padded, give your rig a place to ride in your vehicle that won’t allow any tossing or rolling while you drive.
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DIY Fly Rod Vault
With material that costs less than $100, you can create a fly rod carrier that is cheaper than a fly rod roof rack but will get the job done and transport your fly rod safely.
Materials required to build one of these by hand include PVC sticks, couplers, O rings, some PVC cement, a PVC jacket for insulation/padding, caps, a drill, a saw, and some sandpaper.
With attention to detail and patience, people have made some beautiful DIY fly rod vaults that are impressively durable and sleek all at once.
The exact DIY details are best left to the handymen themselves, but Fishwest does an excellent job at laying out all the steps; the end product looks pretty spiffy for not a lot of money.
There are countless YouTube tutorials of impressive fly rod vault build-outs that cover all the unique designs that one might favor.
What’s essential in DIY is that its function is more emphasized than aesthetics.
With money and time well spent, you can create a fly rod vault that looks good and works even better but doesn’t build something that will not do its most important job; protecting your precious fly rod.
To mount the vault on top of your vehicle, most outdoor recreation retailers carry super handy rail mounts that allow you to attach your rig to the car with bolts.
These mounts cost around $20; how many you need depends on your vehicle’s current rack size in proportion to the fly rod vault you’ve built.
But they can make the whole setup look a little cleaner and more visually appealing than using zip ties or material that can easily be destroyed by the elements (or a thief with a pocketknife.)
Invest in a Fly Rod Roof Rack
Suppose you’ve got the money and the desire to invest in the best fly rod and reel protection. In that case, you should consider purchasing a manufactured fishing pole carrier that doesn’t substitute form for function, can carry over one rig at a time, and doesn’t require disassembly for transport.
There are so many sweet-looking fly rod roof racks on the market; most of them are sure to sweep you off your feet.
But don’t pull the trigger on the first fly rod roof rack you come across! What looks good or matches your vehicle may underperform or underwhelm you when put to use.
A quality fly rod roof rack meets every fundamental manufacturing requirement; it offers excellent durability, proper security, and versatility.
Furthermore, it’s made of high-quality materials, is aesthetically pleasing, and is easy to use.
If the fly rod roof rack you’re eyeing checks off these boxes, you can be confident you’ll be pleased with your purchase.
Take Care of Your Fly Rod and Fish Another Day!
If you expect your fly rod to function impeccably during each moment of use, it only makes sense to provide the proper conditions that allow it to do so!
A fly rod is no better than its user; simple disassembly, a thought-out and well-crafted DIY fly rod vault, or a fly rod roof rack built by avid fly fishermen, for avid fly fishermen are options worthy of every angler’s consideration.
Take the guesswork out of how you’ll store your fly rods in or on your car and leave that pondering for the actual fly fishing that lies ahead!