Protecting Your Fly Rod

Posted by  Thursday, November 07 2013 3:00 pm
expert

Out of all the different specialty items that a fly fisherman incorporates in their beloved pastime the most expensive and probably the most likely to become damaged would have be the fly rod. Made from high modulus graphite, these intricately balanced and finely tuned pieces of equipment don't take well to the elements, rough play or travel.

Fly rods need to be protected when not in use to ensure their long life and usefulness in the river. Some consumers spend in excess of thousands of dollars on a quality fly rod, while other spend just a few hundred. In either case, does it not make sense to protect your investment with a simple rod case or tube?    

flyrod
A good fly rod case will protect your rod to and from the river and throughout the nonfishing season.

In most instances rod cases are generally forgotten about by the average fly angler until a serious need arises for one like an out of town trip. Worse yet, these fishing cases due to their long size and bulkiness get packed away in basements making them difficult to find when you need them. As a result, desperate anglers try and rig existing luggage to accommodate these rods, only to find that their gear arrived cracked, bend or broken at their intended destination.

In general rod cases and tubes come in a few different designs and styles. The first type is your basic long, hard-cased rod tube. These types of tubes are best suited for transporting your rod long distances such as on a plane or the back of a truck. The second type of rod case is a tube-cover with a tough fabric that forms a reel cover. These cases allow a broken-down rod to be slipped into the case and secured without the removal of the fly reel. The last type of rod case is the rod sock. Like the rod tube this type of case requires the reel to be removed before storing the rod. Unlike the other two cases this type of protective covering really does not do much in the way of protecting your rod. It simply covers the rod and keeps it dirt and debris free.

Standard Rod Tubes  

The rod tube is a basic protective case for your fly rod that is generally intended for everyday use to and from the river. These cases have been designed specifically for long terms storage purposes like the long winter or for travel abroad.

These cases are specifically good for packing away rods for winter or for periods when do not think you will be able to get out on the water for a while. Giving your rod a quick cleaning and packing it away softly will have rod coming out of the tube looking like new in the spring.

 Having a fly rod travel with you to a destination is never a safe venture especially when going by airplane. Conveyer belts, luggage slides and rough air conditions can severely damage your precious equipment so having a protective case to combat the rigors is a good idea. Rod tubes for travel should have padding at the tops and bottom and space eaters involved so that rods do not bang around inside the tube.

Another good idea is to have a locking mechanism attached to the top of the tube you are interested in so that you can place a pad-lock or similar device to keep unwanted intruders out. If you are looking into purchasing a rod tube then a good idea is to find one that is either made out of heavy duty PVC type plastic or, better yet, lightweight aluminum or some type of metal composite. These cases need to able to take serious abuse so choosing a tube that skimps on the materials used for the cases construction will only find you back in the stores in a few years searching for another. Additional features are listed below that make will set a quality rod tube apart from all others.   Rod Tube Features  

  • Hard PVC or metal shell
  • Soft and padded internal compartment plus caps
  • Screw on cap with D rings for locking
  • Identification Tag
  • Adjustable shoulder strap and web handle

Rod/Reel Cases

Rod and reel combo cases are a great idea for the fly angler who likes to fish a few different times in a week or venture out to multiple stretches of river in one afternoon. These cases are designed in such a way that anglers can simply break down their rods at the ferrules and slide the ferrule ends down the rod tube to stow the rod away safely. This simplistic design saves anglers a tremendous amount of time by not having to attach reels and flies repeatedly.  Another key feature of these combo cases is that since they are meant to have rods broken down in half, they are smaller in length than your traditional rod tube.

This small size makes them great for small trips and tight spaces in the back of your car. If you are looking to purchase a rod, reel, and case combo try and buy a case that has more than one rod well as reel holder. It is a great idea to have multiple rods rigged and waiting to go just see what the conditions are and choose the best set-up. For the best possible rod and reel combo case look for one that incorporates as many of the features listed below as possible.

Rod and Reel Combinations

  • Rugged 450 denier fabric cover over hard PVC shell
  • Soft and padded reel case section
  • Two zipper side pockets for additional storage of reels, spools, fly boxes
  • One mesh panel pocket
  • Adjustable shoulder strap and web handle
  • 2 D-rings for attachment to back pack
  • Multiple wells for more than one rod storage
  • Heavy-duty metal zippers

Rod Socks

Rod socks are almost exactly what the name implies, just a sheath of fabric to place your fly rod into. The rod sock is normally used in conjunction with rod tubes to further protect rods from damage. A quality rod sock will have multiple compartments so that the angler can store each fly rod section by itself.

Placing all the rod pieces together in one large compartment would allow for the rod components to rub together either scratching or blemishing the rods finish. Additionally rod sock should incorporate some sort of a tie down system so that the rod sections in the different compartments will stay in place. These cases are great if used in conjunction with one of the other two varies of cases but should not be used alone as protection for you fly rod. The sock is simply to keep your precious rod dirt, dust and scratch free, nothing more.

Buying a quality fly rod is one of the biggest investments any angler will have in fly fishing. If you can justify spending your hard earned dollars on the rod that you have always wanted, take the time to protect it properly for years to come with a quality rod case.  

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Last modified on Thursday, July 31 2014 4:13 pm
Jason Akl
expert

Jason Akl is a writer, commercial fly tyer and guide with 15 years in the industry. Professionally, he's been a seasonal guide and fly tier that ties commercially and teaches tying classes to both adults and children. Most of his flies make their homes in fly shops in the northern Midwest but some have found their way as far as Europe. As a freelance writer, he's had many written pieces appear in both Canadian and American publications, as well as numerous global websites. When not on the bench or behind the computer, he spends time working with companies such as Daiichi Hooks, Monic Fly Lines or Gatti rods as part of their pro-staff doing product testing pieces and seminars.

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