Driving With Your Fly Rods Rigged, Good or Bad?

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So that’s why my fly rods are breaking, duh. Photo By: Louis Cahill

I don’t know about you but I’m constantly driving from one fishing spot to the next with my fly rods pre-rigged.

It’s a routine I adopted early on in my guiding to save time having to rig up my rods so I could get to the best stretches of water first. It wasn’t until I had a couple of my fly rods break at the ferrules on back to back trips that the thought finally dawned upon me driving down the road with my fly rods rigged could be a bad idea. Particularly when I was driving long distances down bumpy gravel rods to my favorite trout water. When a rod breaks at the ferrule it’s usually because that rod section was loose. Here’s where I screwed up and how I could have prevented my fly rods from breaking.

If you’re like me and you like to travel with your fly rods pre-rigged, make sure you always check to see each rod piece is tightly secured at the ferrules after you get to the river and unload your rods. You should do this even if you have one of those fancy fly rod lockers. The constant vibrations of driving down the road can cause the rod to loosen up at the ferrules. At a quick glance everything looks fine, but in reality quite often one or more fly rod sections have become loosened up enough to cause failure on the water.

Remember this tip next time you see your fly rod blowing around in the wind in the rear view mirror heading to the boat launch. Of course I guess you could eliminate this problem all together by purchasing one of those high-end one piece fly rods. I think I might just look into that.

Has anybody had this same issue transporting their fly rods pre-rigged?

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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23 thoughts on “Driving With Your Fly Rods Rigged, Good or Bad?

  1. I have never had a rod break at the ferrules, but you have provided some great info and warnings. Last year,my first year fishing, I broke the same rod twice. Both times were at the tip section, and both times were caused by traveling with my rods rigged up in my car. The first time, I grabbed my pack from the trunk, and my lead fly had gotten hung in the mesh. When I pulled out the bag, I guess the tippet was stronger than the tip section. The second time the tip section was caught under my console lid and when I opened the lid, “crunch”. Since then I have changed the way I transport my rods.

  2. 3 years ago my wife went on a “girls” camping trip. She took my truck and fishing gear. On day 2 I received a call, she was almost in tears. I thought someone was eaten by a bear. Nope. She left her Sage in the back of the truck, rigged, and drove to the next spot. Got out and saw the rod had wiggled between the tail gate and the bed. Then she noticed her rod tip had broke. That’s when the swearing and tears flowed.

    If we leave our rods rigged, we take her car.

  3. Used to do the same thing until I got caught in a thunderstorm on the Toccoa, scrambled to get back to the truck, placed rod on the roof while undressing, threw waders, etc in the back and drove off…with rod still on the roof rack…Winston BIIx, Lamson reel, Sharkskin…$1000+ gone…never again…lesson learned

  4. I used to have the problem when i had a sun roof…twice I closed the sun roof on rod and broke them. However, I usually keep the rods ‘in half’. A three piece, the butt section is disconnected and the other two are together, inside the car leaning against the front seat. Been doing it a couple of years now and no problems. As long as I’m careful putting them in and pulling it out, I’ve had no issue. Certainly, tho’, check the entire rod when putting it together before taking a dip. And now in this cold weather, be careful with cleaning ice from the guides…

  5. Don’t ask me how I know:
    With a convertible, it’s way too easy to throw a fully rigged rod in the car and go. Unfortunately, around 65mph rod tips will swing wildly, and if they find themselves whipping at the lowered head bow of the convertible top, something will have to give, and it’ll usually be the rod tip.

  6. Two different topics, really. Re losing rods that aren’t secured: Don’t do that! I can put rods up to 9′ inside my Explorer, suspended from front and rear strings. Longer rods are strapped to roof rack. To avoid sections loosening, do what spey anglers do: spiral-wrap a few inches of electric tape over the ferrule junctions. Takes just a few seconds, and the tape can be reused 6-8 times.

  7. Guys, great info. My big question to you all is has anyone employed the rod holder magnet dealio thingy for their car or truck? If so, please share your thoughts. It seems like it would work (plus it just looks cool . . . )

    • @metafishic,

      Funny you should ask. A client of mine emailed me instead of posting on the blog about the magnet rod holder

      “Even tried the magnet clamps for awhile until I had a rock fly up on a gravel road from a passing car and break a rod in transit as well as crack the damn windshield.”

      I do think they are cool and serve a purpose. Hoping from one section of river to another driving conservative speeds of course.


    • Emil,

      Don’t get me wrong, I like those rod holders too, but everything has it’s limits for protecting the rods. Driving around with our rods rigged is convenient and saves us time, and that’s great but there’s no doubt doing so increases the chances of the rods being damaged eventually. Thanks for your comment.


  8. I had a guide in Colorado use a Yakima button down snowboard rack. It worked perfect for pre-rigged rods. Just a idea.

  9. I have a solution for the guys driving pick-ups with toppers and large SUVs. I have designed and built a rack specifically for fly rods that will carry six rigged rods. I have detailed instructions for those wanting to build it, or I will sell a fully assembled rack. My email is provided. Thanks

  10. I generally break my rods in half, and put them in the back seat, or lay them in the bed of my truck. Thankfully, I have never broke a rod, and I am extra careful. Untangling and putting them back together are worth it!

  11. One of the reasons rods cost what they do is because of not taking care of their equipment. They include a tube for a reason.
    You don”t want to be inside a vehicle with rods and get in a accident. It can be like a bomb went off. Graphite shards in all directions,.

  12. Put mine through the back window of tundra with reel seat neat tail gate suspended by a ratchet strap. Works great until you forget about your rods and roll up back window. I have busted a couple this way. Thanks for all the great info!

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