Keepin' It Reel
DIY rooftop rod-holder.
Set-up and break-down of a fly rod takes time, and if you’re moving around, rigging up at every spot—or worse, waiting for a hung-over friend while the hatch is on—it gets old real quick.
Which is where the rooftop rod box comes in: a full-length locker where you can safely stash your rigged-up rod for quick deployment.
But what if you don’t have five hundo burning a hole in your pocket? Well, just do what we did: build yourself a serviceable set-up for less than a tenth of that.
(Total cost – $21)
1. 10 feet of PVC pipe – $7
2. (2) end caps – $3
3. Pipe insulation (foam) – $3
4. PVC cement – $4
5. Hinge lock – $4
Total time invested (shopping, construction, cleanup) – 45 minutes
1. Cut a 4”x 1.5” slot on one end of the PVC pipe, where the reel will sit. (Slot size will vary based on your rod and reel size/weight.) Use a jigsaw, hacksaw, or handsaw.
2. Measure and cut the foam with a utility knife; insert into the PVC pipe. Add some foam to the inside of the cap if desired. Cut the foam out of the reel slot with a utility knife.
3. Glue and cap the front end, using the PVC cement.
4. Insert the cap on the back end; attach the hinge lock. Pre-drill the holes with a small drill bit.
There you have it—a padded, lockable rod box to attach to the roof of your vehicle. This basic set-up should suffice for the proudly parsimonious, but feel free to dress it up with a little paint, a dust-cover for your reel (try a bottle-shaped wine koozie or grocery bag), or any other accoutrement you like. Regardless, you just saved a huge chunk o’ dough—which you can now squander on flies and beer.
One caveat: The screws that come with the hinge lock may be too long for the staple, as they’ll protrude through the PVC cap, preventing it from sliding on and off. File/grind down the screws or use shorter ones.
Attach the pipe to your rig any number of ways, depending on your desired level of security and ease of removal. Yakima and Thule racks should have a lockable option of some sort, but you can also use hose clamps. If you're not worried about it getting stolen, bungee cords or Titan straps work great, too.