100 Day Gear Review: Smith Creek Rod Rack (with VIDEO)

by | Sep 7, 2022 | 9 comments

** Note ** Links for buying the Smith Creek Rod Rack are after the video and at the end of this article.
(Your support is appreciated.)

Transporting a fly rod is not as straightforward as it may seem. But it can be. For many of us, our preference to keep the fly rod rigged and ready to fish presents some challenges.

For years now, the Smith Creek Rod Rack has been my perfect solution. The Rock Rack stores up to seven rods inside the vehicle, keeping them secure and away from passengers — from kids, dogs or mishaps. Attachment is easy, the design is smart and the Smith Creek build is solid.

READ: Troutbitten | Category | Gear Reviews

Here at Troutbitten, I have a 100 day gear review series. But by now, I’ve put at least 500 fishing days on my Smith Creek Rod Rack, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Here is the video review. More details and purchase links are in the paragraphs that follow.

(Please select 4K or 1080p for best video quality)

The Best

For many years, I simply leaned my fly rods against the back seat and hoped for the best. But once I had a dog and two kids in the mix, I knew I needed a better answer, or my luck was sure to run out.

Rod vaults have become a popular solution, but they’re not for me. Because what seems like a convenience at first can actually add more steps to your routine and become a bother.

I want my rods in the vehicle. They’re easier to access that way, and they’re safer. I can carry more fly rods with the Rod Rack. I don’t need to close my hatch to access them, and I don’t need to open another latch on a rod vault. Likewise, I don’t need to mount anything to the top of my vehicle or give up a pile of money for a rod locker. Lastly, I can still remove a fly rod from my vehicle after I back into the garage. (Think about that one.)

Everyone has a system. And if your needs match my own, then the Smith Creek Rod rack is the perfect option.

Photo by Josh Darling

Splitting the Rod

I should mention that part of my system is what I call splitting the rod. I’ve done a full video on this, and you can see me split the rod in the video above. Breaking down a fly rod into two pieces, still strung up and ready to go when you are, takes about twenty second. Reversing the process is about the same time. It’s insignificant.

I use this splitting-the-rod technique for walking to and from the river, or even for relocating through a woodsy section. Because it’s much easier to navigate with a five foot stick than a ten footer.

VIDEO: Troutbitten | Splitting the Rod

Rod Rack Build

Fly Rods attach at what Smith Creek calls the Shock Cords. These are small bungees that go around the rod handle and lock tight into a grommet. This system accommodates all rod sizes and types.

The shock cords are mounted on two thick nylon straps with buckles on the end for adjustment. Various mounting options accommodate different vehicle types and setups. Handles and hanging points in the vehicle provide the simplest method, and the Smith Creek Rod Rack comes with two sets of suction cup mounts, if needed.

Buy It

** Note **  The links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Troutbitten earns a commission if you click through and make a purchase. So, thank you for your support.

** Buy the Smith Creek Rod Rack HERE to Support Troutbitten **

I hope the Smith Creek Rod Rack becomes your best rod storage and transport solution, just as it has mine. I expect my own to be strapped into my 4Runner for many years to come.

Fish hard, friends.


Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky


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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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  1. Dom, using the splitting-the-rod technique with reeling in the slack, how to you avoid or remedy putting a kink in the fly line/mono rig/tippet? Also you mentioned they don’t bounce around on rough roads… So no need for reel cases or containing the tips of the rods within the rack loops, tips nor reels click together?

    • HI Matt. I get all of your concerns. But none of that matter. Right, the rig doesn’t bounce, so the reels never touch each other. The rod tips ride right against my ceiling. You could/should set it up that way. No need then for further protection

      Lastly, with splitting the rod, if you reel it in very tight, you could form a kink, yes. But who cares? Just straighten it out with your hand before fishing. And if you don’t reel it in super tight, it doesn’t really kink anyway.

      Good thoughts. I hope that helps.


  2. Oh Hell Yes!!!
    Smith Creek rod rack looks Da Sh..Bomb
    Does ordering through Amazon support Troutbitten?
    Thanx again-Mac

  3. On a related note, I recently purchased a set (2) of BASSDASH Casting Rod Sleeves from Amazon. They are too long for a “split” fly rod but can easily be cut to size; the new tip end is then sealed with the heat from a flame. When not in use they form a small roll that weighs next to nothing. They provide remarkably good protection for a split 9′ or 10′ fly rod, for less than $9 per pair. Inexpensive addition to the rod protection and transport toolbox.

    Amazon Description

    Constructed of abrasive resistant, durable yet lightweight PET mesh sheaths, with an adjustable bungee loop for the reel end.

    The rod sleeves are tightly woven and expandable, designed to store and protect fishing rods including fragile line guides and rod tips, they will also avoid line from tangles and abrasions.

  4. Hi Dom, I’m interested in this unit; but I have concerns that with the Rod Rack loaded up, it will substantially obstruct my sight out the rear-view mirror. Have you found this to be the case?

    • Hi Leroy,

      No, not at all. In my 4 Runner, anyway, the rods are way up, not blocking the back window. You can see that in the video.


  5. Hey Dom

    Where did you source the eye bolts for your 4Runner?


    • From Home Depot, I guess. I just replaced the regular bolt with an eye bolt. Easy peasy.


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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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