How To Protect Your Rod: Getting the Most Out of a Rooftop Carrier

Over the last 5 years or so, rooftop rod carriers have become ubiquitous within fly-fishing culture in the west and are becoming a more common sight across the country. These have proven to be a safe and secure way to transport your rod in or on whatever you drive.  We have seen them on everything from pop-up trailers to Priuses.  

Once just a couple small mom and pop manufacturers, this growing sector has attracted the attention of large roof top storage experts such as Yakima and Thule.  After having a few over the years, we’ve got a few tricks and tips to keep your rods safe and happy while along for the ride. 

Keep it on lock down!

This may sound like common sense but, sadly, we have lost a rod to theft. If evil-doers find out you have hundreds or thousands of dollars in rods and reels stashed in there, they will take any opportunity to snatch up your gear. We’ve found by making it a habit to lock it up immediately, we are much better off during the impromptu coffee or burrito stop. And the best convenience factor on our rig is the fact that our Yakima DoubleHaul has matching keys to all of our other Yakima gear (bike racks, rooftop cargo, etc.). It keeps it simple and keeps you from having a crowded keychain. 

Rough and dusty roads can be hard on your gear. 

Long-term storage and use in dusty conditions can have adverse effects on your rod and reel. Leaving rods in some of these carriers for extended time can wear on the guides, wraps, grip and reel. Occasionally flushing the rod tubes out with fresh water can help prevent this. Yakima also provides small foam inserts that fit on the rod and keep it from knocking around too much.  Other options, such as the Big Sky Box, have foam channels to protect the rods from bumpy routes. 

Protect the reel.

Halfway through a cross-country trip, we opened our previous rod holder (Rod Vault) to find that a reel had come off and bounced around for who knows how many miles. Thankfully, the only damage was some finish rubbed off. Check your reel seat before and after driving to make sure your reel doesn’t leave the party at the wrong time – like when a fish is on. Depending on the size of your reel you may be able to keep a cover on it. The DoubleHaul fits up to 10/12 wt. reels and we haven’t had a rod/reel that hasn’t fit inside it yet!

Lube it up.

As with most things “vehicle-related”, a little bit of preventive maintenance goes a long way. A dry lubricant such as graphite in the lock cylinder and light oil on the moving parts will keep things running smooth. If your carrier is on year round, this is a must. After all, these things aren’t cheap – protect your investment. 

Keep it rigged!

After all, the whole idea behind the rooftop rod carrier is to keep your rod(s) ready to go when you get to the water. Keep a couple rods rigged up with good options to make your time on the water more productive. Our DoubleHaul fits 4 full-rigged rods (up to 10ft long) so we keep a surefire streamer, nymph and dry-dropper set-ups at the ready so we’re ready to match any hatch.

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