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Have Rods....Will Travel.....

The author rigs his truck with these PVC rod tubes that allow him to transport dozens of rods safely.

By Mark Romanack

            Any way an avid angler slices it, transporting fishing rods and reels can be challenging. At Fishing 411 that challenge goes double because on any given trip we are tasked with transporting 20 or more rod and reel combinations.
            Because Fishing 411 is a multi-species television series, we have to be prepared to fish a wide variety of species and also presentations. That adds up to traveling with dozens of different rod and reel set ups.
            Thankfully the rod locker in our STX 2050 Starcraft easily handles up to a dozen fishing rods. While we’re on the water rarely do we need more than a dozen set ups for a day of fishing. The problem comes in when on Monday we’re targeting walleye and Tuesday we have our sights on filming another species like northern pike.
The Fishing 411 crew targets a wealth of freshwater species ranging
from panfish to steelhead pictured here. Staying on top of all those
 fishing opportunities requires traveling with lots and lots of rods.

            To solve this constant problem, the Fishing 411 guys have taken a page out of the professional bass fishing handbook. Anyone who has followed the careers of tournament bass pros has no doubt seen how these guys re-purpose construction grade conduit carriers into traveling fishing rod tubes.
            These rather impressive looking rod tubes made from PVC pipe are mounted to roof racks and down the road they go protecting up to a dozen one piece rods each. Kits are available for 4, 6 and 8 inch conduit with six inch tubes being the most popular and practical choice.
            For the guy who thinks these are cool and just wants to purchase a set, A.R.E. Truck Caps produces some very nice ones for about $500.00 each. I opted to make my own using a 6 inch kit that includes the end cap, locking hinged front door and the necessary U bolts for mounting to a roof rack. The kits are about $60.00 each and you’ll also need PVC pipe that costs about $20.00 each at the big box lumber stores.
            I painted mine using spray Plasti-Dip a spray rubberized product that works well for painting the rather boring cream colored PVC pipe into more interesting colors to match or contrast with your tow vehicle. Plasti-Dip works well, but first the PVC needs to be sanded with 80 grip paper to provide a better surface for the paint to adhere to.
            Also this unique paint product sprays best when warmer than room temperature. I took a tip from the website and warmed up my cans by putting them in a bucket of warm tap water for a few minutes. A can will cover one eight foot length of six inch PVC pipe. I recommend three or four coats to get a durable and lasting finish.
            The finished PVC pipe rod holders mount easily to a roof rack using the U bolts supplied with the conduit carrier kits. I opted to first mount an off roading basket to my truck and then mounted the PVC rod holders to the basket. The off roading look is pretty cool, provides a place to mount work lights and if I need extra room to carry more cargo the roof basket is ideal.
            The PVC conduit carriers work perfectly for hard to transport one piece rods up to eight feet in length. To give the rods some extra protection in transit, I cut four pieces of two inch thick foam six inches in diameter. One piece of foam fits near the end cap and the other near the door opening. This helps cushion the rods from sudden stops and starts.
            I also recommend bundling the rods before putting them in the PVC conduit carrier. Alternate the rods so the more delicate tips are bundled with heavier butt sections. These simple steps help to protect the delicate rod tips and makes it much easier to put the rods into and also to remove them from the PVC tubes.
            The matching reels are stored in plastic hard boxes designed for transporting hand-guns. Both Flambeau and Plano make these handy and inexpensive cases for transporting fishing reels.

            For about $200.00 and a little handy-man time I was able to fabricate two traveling rod tubes that no doubt will pay for themselves. The conduit carrier option sure makes it easy to travel with fishing rods.