How To Lock Fishing Reels On Car Roof: Two Methods & Guide

by Thavius | Last Updated:   October 8th, 2022
How To Lock Fishing Reels On Car Roof: Two Methods & Guide

Going on a fishing trip with your friends or family can be one of the most pleasurable experiences for anyone. This trip will take you away from the constant buzzing, noise, and pollution of the busy cities and take you closer than ever to the serenity of nature. You may spend between a few minutes to a couple of hours by the shore of your preferred water body, but you’ll enjoy every moment of it.

When going for that much-needed fishing trip, one of the most important things to ponder is how to transport your fishing reels and other gear to where you’ll use them. If you’re looking for a convenient spot to keep your fishing rods for a long journey, the roof rack of your car is a perfect spot. What’s more? You can store multiple fishing rods from different manufacturers on the roof rack simultaneously.

This piece will show you various ways to lock your fishing rods on a car roof rack.

Best Tips On How To Lock Fishing Reels On Car Roof

Yes, you can develop many effective ways to lock your fishing rod to your car roof. However, you need to note that these methods will vary in their degree of effectiveness. Therefore, there is a chance of you breaking your rods if something goes wrong.

If you are an angler with some extra money to spare, you can invest in a fishing rod holder and attach it to the roof of your car. They usually come as wide, two-piece racks that are stuck to your roof with a strong magnet.

A fishing rod holder will make your next fishing trip easier. The foam padding in the rod holder clamps tightly on the fishing rods. Most holders will allow you to hold as many as 8 – 10 fishing poles. You may even find smaller versions that can hold about 3 rods vertically. The price of most models varies based on their durability and the number of rods they can hold.

Another alternative for you is to tie the fishing rods to your car roof rack. However, don’t forget to remove your fishing line and artificial lures. They can get blown by the wind and get tangled in awkward positions. If you have more than two rods, you can tie them together tightly below the reel. Make sure that you’ve tied them tightly without bending anyone.

Tying up these rods will make it easier to attach to the roof of your vehicle – through whatever method you have settled for. This tip is only for those who feel good about their knot-tying skills and can lay their hands on a tough rope or cord.

Different Methods To Lock Fishing Rods Reels To A Car Roof

Now, let’s discuss how to lock fishing rids to a car roof. If you’re planning a fishing expedition and looking for an effective way to attach your fishing rods to the roof rack, you can try any of the following;

Using Bungee Cords

Well, you can attack fishing rods to the roof of your car with bungee cords. However, you’ll need to follow a step-by-step procedure to do it properly.

The first thing to do is to remove the artificial lures from your rods. By doing this, it’ll become easier to transport your rods safely and securely. You can store your lures in a tackle box or other equipment till you get to the fishing site. If you’ve already spooled your fishing line, you may choose to remove it too.

Next, tie your fishing rods with a bungee cord. If you are traveling with more than one rod, wrap the cord around your entire set and tie it tightly. After this, attach your fishing rods to the side of your roof rack using a bungee cord. To do this, press your fishing rods against the side of your roof rack with the handle facing forward. Then, use more bungee cords to tie the bottom and top of the fishing rod bundle to the roof rack.

It’s essential to ensure that the cords are tightly strapped to the side of the roof rack to avoid them being detached by heaving winds. However, be careful with each pole when tieing them. If you strap them too tightly, you will break one or two rods.

Watch this video to learn how to build a DYI rod holder with bungee cords:

Design A DIY Roof Holder

Another practical idea on how to attach your fishing rods to the car roof is to make a DIY roof holder. However, this method will cost you some money and will require some basic DIY skills. But overall, it’s a simple process.

Step-by-step guide for DYI fishing rod holder for car roof:

Total time: 30 minutes

Getting the right equipment

Start by purchasing a PVC pipe that is 10 ft (length), and 6in (diameter). This size PVC pipe is perfect for storing multiple fishing rods at a time on the roof of your vehicle. Search your local hardware store, home depot, or home improvement store to find a suitable pipe and purchase it.

Next, you’ll also need to purchase a conduit carrier kit. Then, you’ll use the materials in this kit to convert your PVC pipe into a rod holder. The conduit carrier kit usually consists of two end caps that you can attach to the PVC pipe. Their purpose is to keep your poles safe from slipping out.

You’ll also find four U-bolts in the kit and you can use these bolts to attach the PVC pipe to the roof rack. If you purchase a high-quality conduit carrier kit, you’ll find everything needed to hold the pipe in place. All you have to do is choose an equipment kit that suits the dimensions of your PVC pipe.

Cut the PVC pipe to the ideal length

Measure the length of your fishing rod to determine how much length of pipe you’ll need and mark it out. It’s essential to leave some extra room for your poles to move around a bit when designing your rod holder. Now, use a vice to hold the pipe in place and cut it at the point you have marked. Even if you don’t have a vice, you can use a workbench to keep it in place. It’s important that you hold the pipe firmly because PVC pipes easily slip out of position or grip.

Cover the ends of the PVC pipe

Attach the end caps of your carrier kit to the ends of the pipe. To attach these end caps, drill screws through the premade holes on the cap into the pipe. The conduit kit should contain appropriate screws for the job. For a firmer fit, line the inner and outer ends of your pipe with silicone and let it dry before attaching the end caps.

Secure the PVC pipe to the roof rack

The final step is to use the u-bolts to secure the PVC pipe to the roof rack. Gently place the pipe on top of the roof. Then, place the u-bolt at one end of the pipe so that it presses the pipe against the roof rack. Keep the u-bolts in place and screw them tightly. Repeat the same thing at the other end. Then, attach it to the rack in four additional places to maintain a tight hold.

When you are installing the rod holder, the next thing to do is to slip your fishing poles into them. Close the end caps and drive off to your destination.

Estimated Cost: 100 USD



Here are two examples of how to build a DYI fishing rod holder for a car roof:

Best Fishing Rod Holder For Car Roof

Let’s say you can’t build a DIY rod holder and are still looking for how to transport fishing rods in a car, it means you may have to buy one instead. So, which rod holder do you settle for?

The following are some of the best fishing rod holders that money can buy:

Hapo Vehicle Fishing Rod Holder

Here’s an innovative solution that lets you attack your fishing rods to the top of your car roof and transport them safely to your fishing destination. There are many things anglers like about this product. To start with, it’s easy to use and install. There’s no need for any additional equipment when installing this rod holder. It’s also convenient to use and will let you store your equipment easily.

What’s more? This rod holder is designed for anglers who may wish to travel with more than one fishing rod. There is enough space to store up to 5 different fishing rods. This rod holder is designed to be efficient. So, you don’t have to worry about your rods slipping front and back when driving.

The holder is also made from durable polyester material. Due to its construction, it won’t get damaged, torn, or cut easily. It’ll offer your rods all the protection they need for many years.

Finally, the Hapo Vehicle Fishing rod holder is a great way to save space. You no longer have to cramp your fishing poles into your trunk. There will be enough space for other items. It will hang conspicuously on the top of your car’s roof.

  • Easy to install
  • Can hold up to 5 rods at once
  • Durable design
  • Can help to save space
  • It may not fit within certain vehicles

Fishing VRC Vehicle Rod Carrier

Lovers of car mounting fish rod holders will enjoy using the Fishing VRC Vehicle Rod Carrier because it has many interesting features to help you get to the destination of your fishing trip without damaging your rods. First, the body of this rod holder is made from high-quality, durable nylon cloth. You’ll also find a soft neoprene rod cover.

The Fishing VRC Vehicle Rod Carrier is a space-saving solution. It doesn’t allow your rods to take up all the space within the trunk, and you’ll get to store other things there. This rod holder can’t be mounted on the roof. Instead, it’s portable and stylish and can be attached to the back of the vehicle’s front seats.

Also, it totally keeps your rods out of the way and avoids any form of damage to them. By hanging at the back of your seats, it keeps your fishing poles straight and in a natural position till you get to your destination.

This rod carrier is easy to install. All you have to do is attach the straps correctly, and you’re good to go. Additionally, the rod holder can be used with different cars or boats. You can adjust the length of the rod holder to suit the size of your vehicle.

  • Easy to install
  • Space-saving solution
  • Durable material will last for a long time
  • Minimizes rod damage
  • No snug fit

Tight Line Enterprises Fishing Rod Racks for Vehicles

The Tight Line Enterprises rod holder is a good example of a magnetic car fishing rod holder. This unique product is attached to the roof of a car using strong magnets.

You are guaranteed long shelf life when you opt for this rod holder. The body of the rod holder is made from injection-molded nylon construction. Therefore, it will last for a long period.

It’s designed to help you hold multiple fishing rods – up to 4 poles. This is perfect for anglers who like to travel with multiple gears. You’ll have no reason to leave any pole at home. It will even work with large surf rods.

What’s even better? Because it’s installed outside the car, this rod holder will save space and will prevent any inconvenience to your journey.

  • Long shelf life
  • Durable product
  • Easy to use
  • It may be affected by rain and weather conditions

What Should I Look For In A Roof Rod Holder?

Let’s say you decide to buy a roof rod holder for your fishing rods on your next trip. How do you settle on a final choice among the myriad of options available today? The following are some factors that you should consider:

Ease of Installation and Vehicle Compatibility

You see, it’s essential that the roof rod holder you choose is easy to install. You don’t want to engage in stressful and time-consuming installations before you begin your next fishing trip.

It’s also essential that your choice is compatible with your vehicle. You need to note that some roof holders are designed with certain vehicle models in mind.

Simply go for a multi-utility product that can be mounted easily without any professional help. The best options on the market can be installed within one hour.


Let’s face it. Rods aren’t the only items you’ll need to carry on the roof of your car. So, what do you do when you have to transport another piece of equipment to another part of the city? That’s why you need to opt for a multi-purpose rod holder.

If you can afford it, it makes a lot of sense to buy a rod holder that can be used to carry other items. This type of product would definitely come in handy one day.

Durability and Stability

A fishing rod holder that is not durable is a worthless investment. The holder’s purpose is to protect your rods against damage during travel conditions. A weak holder will develop faults quickly and fail to live up to expectations.

Durable rods are made out of tough materials like stainless steel. They are usually coated with rust-proof finishes too.

Stability is another important factor that should inform your rod holder’s decision. Keep in mind that you’ll be in motion and if your rods are not firmly attached they would fall off.

While some manufacturers recommend that drivers don’t exceed a certain speed, let’s say 50mph, it can be impractical in certain cases. Therefore, you need to purchase a product with military-grade stability that can withstand the rigors of road travel.


The final and most important factor that will affect your rod holder’s choice is its price tag. While you will have to sacrifice some money for additional quality, it’s essential that your final choice falls within your budget.

A good idea to avoid spending too much is to look for effective products with good reviews. They should also come with reasonable warranties.

Watch this video to learn how to choose a rod holder:

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I secure my fishing rod to a roof rack?

Let’s say that you wish to travel to another side of the city to fish and you don’t want to lock up your fishing rod in the trunk, what do you do next? Attach it to your roof rack. Well, there are several ways to go about that. You could attach the rod to your roof rack with bungee cords, use a DIY rod holder or buy a rod holder.

How much is a fishing rod holder for car roof?

The cost of a rod holder will vary based on manufacturer, construction materials, versatility, and size. On average, these products should cost between $12 – $50.

How long should a fishing rod holder be?

The length of the rod holder depends on the length of your fishing rods. However, they should be a minimum of 4 – 5ft long and 2in wide.

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I've been a fisherman for over 35 years. From catching small bullheads with my grandfather at his pond to catching strippers on the backwaters of the Chattahoochee, I love to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water.