“Careful rod Packing Can Save Your Next Trip”
One of the worst things that can happen to a traveling angler is to find your rods broken upon arrival. Many of us enjoy a fishing experience more by using familiar or even customized tackle suited for a particular style of fishing. Using standard charter tackle is not a good alternative. Broken rod guides are most common, but I’ve also experienced crushed rod cases and snapped rods themselves. Prevention of damage is much better than attempting repairs.
Start with a proven, sturdy rod tube or case. Manufactures have greatly improved rod tubes and there are many to choose from. Personally, I build my own using ABS plastic tubing in three-and four-inch diameters, and have yet to break a rod. These will accommodate up to five and nine conventional rods, respectively. All components are available at most hardware or plumbing stores, including end caps with threaded seals. Due to airline limitations on oversize baggage, I don’t pack rods longer than seven feet; therefore the tubes are cut slightly longer to allow for rod butt overlap to protect the rod tips.
Rod guides are your main concern. Composite guides with ceramic inserts pose the greatest challenge. They can shatter and crumble into powder with too much vibration or pounding against a hard surface such as a reel seat or tube surface. Stainless steel guides are much easier to transport.
There are many ways to pack a rod case. Here are a few tips you may want to consider:
Step 1: Typical Baja rod selection will fit onto a four-inch diameter rod tube. Hotel Punta Colorada.
Step 2: Ceramic guides need special care to survive travel.
Step 3: Sheets of foam cushion or padding available at upholstery shops, make excellent packing material when cut into a variety of sizes.
Step 4, 5, 6, 7: Protect each ceramic guide by inserting foam through guide, wrapping several times and inserting again.
Step 8: All ceramic guides are wrapped. Stainless steel or roller guides do not require individual wrapping.
Step 9, 10: Reel seats can cause damage if allowed to contact guides. Wrap reel seats in foam.
Step 11: Place rods “back to back” equally so that rod butts extend slightly beyond rod tips for protection from contact with rod case end caps.
Step 12: Fill voids between rods with various sizes of foam padding to reduce vibration and contact with hard surfaces. Rod guides should face inward to avoid contact with tube.
Step 13: Use longer strips of foam padding to wrap around exterior of rods. Slide bundle of rods into rod tube. Make sure there is adequate padding so that rods are snug in tube and cannot “rattle” against tube walls.
Step 14: Optional screw hole, marked on cap for easy alignment, can provide modest security measure. Tape over screw to conceal. Install caps on both ends of rod tube.
Step 15: Rod case ready to travel.
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The Roving Angler