Snap! The sickening sound of my favorite fishing rod turning into two worthless sticks. Fishing rods are one of the most expensive and least hardy tools in the sport, yet I abuse my rods at home, in the truck and on the water. To keep my rods and reels safe, I’ve found surefire storage and transport solutions. New racks, lockers and stands keep my rods out of the repair shop and ready to fish.

Home

Fish for a few years and a forest of fishing rods will grow in the garage. I currently have rods hanging from the ceiling, wall and sticking out of old kayak crates and vertical rod racks.

There are plenty of options for ceiling and wall mount rod racks, but many anglers fashion DIY racks out of PVC pipe and scrap wood.

For the rods I use most, I have a vertical rod rack on wheels. I can move the rods around the garage to keep them untangled and out of the way.

The rods I’m prepping for immediate use are stored in surplus kayak crates with vertical rod holders. I’ve attached a single rod holder to the leg of my work bench to hold the rod I’m rigging.

I thought I had used every inch of storage space in the garage until I saw the Cobra Garage Door Storage Systems. Two NASA engineers worked for years to develop a system securing fishing rods to the inside of the garage door. When the door is lifted, the rods dangle from above.

Transport

Most rod damage occurs on the way to and from the water. Car doors, bumpy roads, shifting gear and tangled lines can snap a fishing rod like a dry stick.

Inside an SUV or hatchback, rods should be stored hanging from the ceiling. In my first car, a Jeep Cherokee, I bolted rod racks to the headliner. The bastardized system held my rods tight, but seriously dimished the resale value of the car.

My next car, a bigger SUV, I stepped up to RodMounts for SUVs, Wagons and Vans. The system uses an extendable pole, like a shower curtain rod, to fit inside any vehicle. The rod rack hangs from the pole so reels can swing without banging. The racks come in different configurations to accommodate any type of fishing rod or vehicle.

Recently, I moved into a full-size pickup truck. The truck offers plenty of room for transporting kayaks and gear, but no space for fishing rods. After snapping off tips and gouging my upholstery with fishhooks, I banned fishing rods from the truck cab.

About the time I decided to transport the rods on my utility rack, Yakima released the new TopWater rod rack. At first, I was skeptical. The eight-foot rod locker looks like a coffin on top of my truck. Overkill, I thought. Now, I can’t figure out how I lived without the TopWater.

I often carry my kayak to work so I can fish after office hours. Locking my rods in the TopWater keeps them from overheating in the truck cab and safe enough from theft. If I stop at the grocery store or grab a bite to eat on the way home from the water, I don’t worry about my rods.

The box supports up to eight rods with room for tackle trays below. Installation and removal is quick, with four oversized wingnuts holding it to my Yakima HD racks. The TopWater fits any rack system, so I can move it to my trailer and even store rods at home. As I shuffle fishing into my busy life, I never realized how much I needed the TopWater until I had it.

Since I changed how I store and transport rods, I’ve suffered less damage and spent less time untangling lures and lines. Keeping the rods safe and secure, they stand ready to use when I’m ready to fish.

Have fishing rods, will travel | Featured photo: Ric Burnley

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