When you are driving to your nearest fishing hole, it is important to have your fishing rods securely tied down to the roof rack so that they don’t fall off while traveling. This will help prevent damage to your vehicle as well as your rods!
There are various different approaches used to tie down rods when driving, so let’s look at how to attach fishing rods to a roof rack.
I will show you a couple of simple ways that will get you to your favorite fishing spot with your rods and reels still safely attached to your roof.
How to Attach Fishing Rods to the Roof Rack of your Car
The best way to attach fishing rods to the roof rack of your car is to:
- Use the right tools: You’re going to need a roof racks and some bungee cords
- Tie the fishing rods together in a bundle
- Safely attach the bundle of fishing rods to your roof racks
Car Roof Racks: A Must Have for Safe Rod Storage
The first thing to remember when securing your rods to your roof rack is to make sure that they are not touching the top of the car at all. This can happen if you leave your rods loose or if you do not tie them down properly. You don’t want your rods bouncing up and down and scratching the paint of the car (or your rods!) while you drive. This is especially true if you will be heading off road to get to your fishing spot.
The best way to avoid this from happening is making sure that there is plenty of room between the top of the car and where you are going to secure your fishing rods. A good set of roof racks will give you the clearance you need between your car roof and your fishing rods.
Whatever you do, don’t lay your rods straight on top of the roof. That’s a no-no.
If your car doesn’t come with roof racks then head on down to your local hardware store and pick some up. You’re going to need them!
The next thing to check is that there are no other objects on top of the car near where you want to secure your rods. You don’t want anything interfering with how they sit on your racks. Driving generates a lot of vibration and if your rods are too close to other items on your roof rack they can be damaged.
Tie Rods Down with Bungee Cords not Rope
You’re going to need at least three bungee cords to secure your rods to your roof racks. You may be tempted to use rope, but bungee cords are much better for this job. Rope can be quite abrasive and can damage the paint on your car if the ends are not properly secured.
PRO TIP: Bungee Cords are soft and stretchy and won’t damage the paint on your car like rope will
If you work with rope for a living you may feel confident in your tie-down skills, but for the rest of us bungee cords make the job a lot easier.
Firstly, tie your rods together with a bungee cord at the handle below where the reel sits. This is the strongest part of the fishing rod and you will not damage your rods by working in this area.
Wrap the bungee cable around each rods handle, then around the bunch of rods themselves.
Now put your fishing rod bundle up on your roof rack. You are going to want to have the butt of the rods facing forward. The base of the rod is the strongest part of the fishing rod and you want it to bear the brunt of the wind as you are driving.
You want your reel sitting on the inside of the forward roof rack. That means the reel should be on the side of the roof rack that is closer to the center of the car, not the front of the car. If you happen to break suddenly, the rod may slide forward but the reel will catch on the roof rack preventing it from flying off the front of your car.
Use your second bungee cord to tie down your bundle of rods to the front roof rack. Work in a criss cross pattern going over, under and around the rod bundle. You want it to be firm, but not so tight as to bend your rods.
If you are using light or ultralight rods you want to be especially careful here. These rods are quite thin at the tip and you don’t want the bungee cords too tight or you can snap the rod tips.
Head to the rear roof rack and perform the same tie-down motion. Criss cross your bungee cord over, under and around until the rods are secured to the roof rack.
Now you can jump in your car and go catch some fish knowing your rods will still be attached to your roof racks when you arrive!
Alternatives Ways to Secure Fishing Rods to a Roof Rack
PVC Pipe Attached to Roof Rack
They say there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and for sure there is more than one way to transport your fishing rods than on your rooftop.
Some people squeeze them in their cabs, some rest them in the trays of their trucks – there’s no wrong answer here!
If you want to step up your roof rack game, one of the best improvements I’ve seen is to use a piece of PVC pipe to transport your fishing rods in on your roof rack.
Grab a length of PVC pipe, the same kind you see on the side of plumber’s vans. And two PVC caps that will go on either end of your pipe. You can pick PVC pipe up from your local hardware store.
Strap the PVC pipe to your roof racks using the same bungee cords as before. Seal one end with a PVC cap and slide your rods into the other end of the PVC pipe. Then seal the other end of the pipe with the second PVC pipe.
Now your rods are not only securely attached to your roof rack, but they are protected from the weather too.
Custom Made Fishing Rod Racks
If money is no object and the above ideas sound like too much messing around to you, then go on and treat yourself to a custom made fishing rod rack, built specifically to transport fishing rods on top of your car, truck or SUV.
There are all sorts of different fishing rod racks available on the market, from simple magnetized strips that attach to the roof of your car, to fancier models such as Rhino Racks fishing rod holders that are side mounted.
Some people even put their ski or snowboard racks to use in the summertime and manage to fit their fishing rods in there! This is particularly useful if you have a two piece rod that can be broken in two and stored in the snowboard roof rack.
The Last Cast
We’ve looked at several methods of how to attach fishing rods to a roof rack, ranging from the basic DIY with bungee cords to the upmarket custom built options such as Rhino Racks. You don’t have to have a lot of money to safely tie down your fishing rods. Bungee cords are a cheap option and will be fit for purpose for most of us. But those who take a little more pride in their equipment and don’t mind spending a little bit on their hobbies will appreciate the ease of use of the more professional solutions.
Whatever you do, make sure you secure your load before you set off. You don’t want your rods coming unstuck as you are heading off down the road. Not only will you arrive without your kit, but you could cause an accident for someone else too.