How to transport a fishing rod on a car roof rack

Updated February 21, 2017

Fishing is a great sport, but unless you are lucky enough to live off a lake or within walking distance to water, you'll have to drive your tackle around with you from place to place. Fishing rods range in price from £13 to £650 or more and your equipment is important to you no matter what the price point. Transporting your rods safely is vital in getting the years of enjoyment out of your investment and if you don't have a truck, your car roof rack will be your only choice. Here's how to transport your rod, whether 1 mile or 400, safely on your roof rack.

Remove the reel and any lures on your rod. Although reels are usually OK for short distances, it's better for your rod to remove the reel and any lures you have attached before transporting. Reels add extra weight and stress on your rod "butt" to eliminate that risk easily by simply removing and storing your reels separately.

Protect your rod. If you are going a long distance you want to pack your rod for the bumps and jiggles of a road trip. Place the rod in a rod sock and then roll the whole rod in bubble wrap to protect the line guides. For trips to the boat dock you can simply use a rod sock to protect the surface of your rod.

Add some cushioning. With your rod in bubble wrap you still want to create a stiff case for your rod so that it sits nicely on your roof rack. You can purchase a rod tube for travelling or ask for a protective cardboard tube from your rod dealer for free. Either way these tubes will provide more protection for your rod.

Close your rod in your case and place it on top of your car roof rack. The plastic rod cases you can buy have holes on the side for you to pull a rope or bungee cord through, while a cardboard tube will not have this convenience. Either way you want to use two to three straps or bungee cords to tightly hold your case or container onto your roof rack.

For longer trips feel free to place luggage alongside your rod case as long as it isn't taller than your rod case. The security of your case is your first priority so be sure it is tightly held against the roof rack.

Remove the tube cap when you arrive at your fishing destination and slide your rod out without removing your bungee cords. You can leave your container on your roof rack if your vehicle is in a secure location. The purchasable plastic tubes have a spot for a small lock but ultimately any roof rack holder for your rods will not be totally secure against robbery.


Ask your local rod dealer speciality store for a few cardboard rod holders so that you have a few spares on hand in case you get caught in the rain. If you need to transport your rods frequently, invest in a special fishing rod roof rack to protect your gear.


Be sure your tubes, whether plastic or cardboard, are securely closed at both ends so your rods don't slip out from the ends.

Things You'll Need

  • Rod carrying tube
  • Heavy cardboard tubing
  • Bungee cords
  • Bubble wrap
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