If there’s one piece of gear that I can’t leave home without, it’s my car rod holder. This is a slim rectangular block of rubber or foam with slits that is magnetized on one side. After parking, you slap it on the side of your car towards the rear by the gas cap. After assembling your fly rod, you then place the blank in one of the slits while you get ready. After locking your car, grab your rod and away you go.
I now just leave the rod holder on the side of my car when I fish so that I can immediately place it back vertically when I’m fumbling for my keys at the end of the day. This is optional if you’re worried about it being stolen. However, I’m more worried about breaking my rod in a car door, window, or by shoving the tip top somewhere it shouldn’t be on my dashboard. The magnetic rod holder is a stroke of genius and I’ll tell you the benefits and how I use it below.
I have a “Sportsman Bumper: Fishing Rod and Gun Holder” from sportbumper.com. A discounted and equally effective foam option is available from Amazon for $9.99. Makes a great gift or stocking stuffer! Lastly, Rigstrips.com has some good looking burly options.
I don’t own any other fishing specific rod holders or storage caddies for use in my garage, basement, or vehicle. The challenges I face aren’t special – old building with a tight garage, heating pipes in basement, and a smallish SUV. Of course, I wouldn’t mind having a rod vault for the roof of my car. But the magnetic car rod holder is small, reliably sits in the corner of the trunk of my car when not in use, and is the first thing I take out after parking. It’s a routine that I don’t wish to break, having broken a few rods years ago in familiar ways.
If there are other life hacks out there for putting your rod somewhere safe while you get ready to hit the water, I’m not aware of them. I’m not impressed by leaning it against the side mirror or placing it on the hood or roof.
My process for rigging up:
- Assemble rod, reel, and line
- Place rod in rod holder
- Tie on fly to leader dangling in air while I comfortably sit on tailgate
This last step is notable – I can leisurely sit and fiddle with my tackle while the leader dangles within arms reach. I do often drive around with my rod assembled, tip top on dash, but for peace of mind I don’t mind keeping it stored within the carry case when not in use.
Lastly, depending on the rod holder you own, it can also serve a dual purpose – for holding firearms and skis/snowboards. Anything to avoid laying valuable gear on the ground or where it can get pinched!