Are Fishing Rod Holders Illegal In WA? Some Rules You Need To Know

Are Fishing Rod Holders Illegal In WA? Some Rules You Need To Know

It is not difficult to see groups of people flocking to fishing spots. Many of them transport their fishing rods in four-wheel vehicles like cars or SUVs.

Transporting long single-piece fishing rods is not a simple job. But the invention of fishing rod holders has been very helpful for anglers. However, not all places allow the use of rod holders.  

Are fishing rod holders illegal in WA? Anglers in WA can freely use fishing rod holders, but there are rules for rod holder installation on vehicles.  

According to the WA Department of Transport, fishing rod holders will be illegal if they pose a danger to the driver and other people.

All rod holders must not stick out forward the vehicle’s hood or upon the vehicle’s push bumper.

In this article, will explain more about these regulations. Let’s read on to know more details!

Can you use fishing rod holders in WA?

Are Fishing Rod Holders Illegal In WA?

The use of fishing rod holders is not illegal in WA. However, if you want to install rod holders on the bullbar of your vehicle,  they must meet safety rules.

Below are fishing rod holder legalities according to the WA Department of Transport.

  • Your fishing rod holders are legal if they conform to the following conditions.

  • The fitting doesn't affect the view of the driver. The driver must be able to observe the road and traffic to the front and sides of the vehicle. 

  • Only rod holders attached to the left side of the vehicle are legal. Installing rod holders on the right side of the vehicle will obscure the front view of the driver.

  • The maximum allowed number of fishing rods you can carry with bullbar rod holders is four.

  • All fishing rods and their tackle such as hooks or sinkers must be properly secured. In this way, when you apply a sudden brake, the rods won't fall off and cause some accidents. 

  • Fishing rods or rod holders must not protrude too much and block the lights of your vehicle.

  • When rod holders are not in use, you have to remove them or put them behind the profile of the bullbar. 

You may have to pay a fine of $498 if you don't comply with these rules. 

Installing rod holders on the right side of the vehicle is illegal in WA.

Some Other Ways To Transport Fishing Rods In Your Vehicle

Using bullbar rod holders is not the only way to carry fishing rods in your vehicle. You can consult the following methods to get to the fishing spot with your fishing gear safely. 

Use rod wraps

Using rod wraps will help you transport your fishing rods more easily. You need to bundle your rods and wrap them around their base. In this way, the wrap will hold the rods together securely. 

This method will save you a lot of time when you want to carry many fishing rods at once. However, you should not travel with only a rod wrap because you may break all the rods in the wrap.

Thus, combining rod wraps with another transportation method will be better. 

Install interior roof racks 

Interior roof racks

Another way to transport fishing rods in your vehicle is to install interior roof racks. 

In this method, you will hang and secure some bungees along the width of your car. Then, you place your fishing rods on the tops of the bungees. In this way, you can take other fishing gear or passengers in your car without affecting the rods. 

You can watch this video to know how to make an interior roof rack system for your SUV:

Youtube source: Rated Red

If you intend to travel to fishing spots by an SUV, interior roof racks will be a great choice. But this method seems to be not suitable for trucks because their roof space is small.

Also, if your rods are longer than 9 feet, it's hard to place them on the roof racks.

Transport with portable rod storage tubes

Using portable rod storage tubes is also a good way to transport your fishing rod. 

These tubes have a hard shell so they can protect your rods from external force and water. Besides, if you travel with your fishing rod by flight, you should use portable rod storage tubes.

However, when you carry your rods in this way, you need to secure these tubes carefully. Otherwise, they will roll around your truck bed. 

In some cases, your rod tubes are too long that you have to leave the tailgate down. If you don't get them properly secured, they can fall out while traveling. Things can get worse because someone can steal your expensive fishing rods. 

Use roof-mounted rod tubes

You can use roof-mounted rod tubes to transport fishing rods with your car

Instead of installing bullbar rod holders, you can use roof-mounted rod tubes. Roof-mounted rod tubes look quite similar to portable rod storage tubes. But roof-mounted tubes are attached to the rails on the roof of your vehicle. 

You won't have to leave your truck's tailgate down when transporting fishing rods with this method. These tubes will give your fishing rods perfect protection. 

However, if you have used the roof rails of your vehicle for other storage, or you want to carry fishing rods on a kayak, this method won't work. 

You also need a vehicle with roof rails to do this transportation method. If rood rails aren't available on your car, you need to buy some. And, it will take you a great deal to buy specialized rails for roof-mounted rod tubes. 

You can make some rails by yourself to reduce the expense, but it also takes you a lot of time. 

Buy customizable rod holders for truck bed

Customizable rod holders for truck bed

Transporting fishing rods in a truck will be more challenging than using other vehicles. The small size of the truck cabin will not fit many rods.

Placing fishing rods on the truck bed is a solution. But other objects in the truck bed can move around and strike your fishing rods.

A safer way to carry your fishing rods in a truck is using rod holders for the truck bed. There are many durable and affordable models on the market for you to choose from. 

If you don't want to screw your truck bed, you can pick the rod holders that use tension to secure. You should also choose a customizable rod holder system.

It will allow you to adjust the number and angle of rod holders as you want. In this way, you can transport all your fishing rods, even the longest ones. 

In case you would like to save your money, you can make rod holders by yourself. We give you an ultimate guide to create your rod holders in the next part of this post. 

How To Make Rod Holders From PVC Tubes

It's not difficult to make fishing rod holders from PVC tubes. You can follow the guide below to make some fishing rod holders by yourself. 


You need to prepare the following things for DIY rod holders.

  • PVC tubes that fit your fishing rods

  • A handsaw or PVC cutter.

  • A hand drill and some bits of different types

  • A hammer.

  • Some wood scraps.

  • Some screws and nails.


  • Step 1. Cut a wood scrap into a manageable length with a saw. Then, cut two other wood pieces to support the main piece. 

  • Step 2. Use the hand drill to make some pilot holes on the supporting and main pieces of wood. 

  • Step 3. Attach the supporting wood pieces to the main piece with screws or nails.

  • Step 4. Cut the PVC tubes into pieces that are long enough to hold your fishing rods. The number of PVC pieces depends on the number of rods you have.

  • Step 5. Drill two pilot holes on each PVC piece you've cut. Then, drill the same holes on the main wood piece.

  • Step 6. Attach the PVC pieces to the main wood piece with some screws or nails. You have completed a DIY fishing rod holder. 

You can use this rod holder for transporting your fishing rods on a truck bed or car. If so, you need to secure the wood piece to your vehicle. This rod holder will also be useful to store your fishing rods in the garage.

Final Words

We hope that through this article, you have found the answer to the question: "Are fishing rod holders illegal in WA?" 

Fishing rod holders are not the prohibited objects in WA. However, if you want to attach some rod holders to the bullbar of your vehicle, you need to comply with some regulations. 

Thank you for following this post!

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