Plano 45102 Adjustable Rod Case
Suggested Retail: $49.99
Color: Green and Tan
Features: Adjusts from 5'3" to 8'5"-lockable-hinging door-handle for carrying
I actually picked up this prized piece at a fishing show last month. I've been without one for a couple years, despite my vow to never move my fly rod without it. Most rod cases I have found start around $50, and I'll be honest...I'm cheap. Luck was in my favor at the fishing show. Just as I was about to exit the show, I noticed a table selling them. I payed only $26.75 for it, and so far it feels like one of the best investments I've ever made for my fishing equipment.
Advantages: One of the obvious advantages to this product is the ease of adjusting. Depending on the type of fishing you do and the type of equipment you have, if you can manage to keep the rods under 8'5", you're good to go. I personally do mostly bluegill, bass, and catfishing. My fly rod is a two piece, and all my other rods don't exceed the limit. This case has the ability to hold many rods at once, making it ideal for taking long trips. I just took a trout fishing trip with a friend a couple weeks ago, and the case held four rods with ease. It kept the car organized and the rods safe, which is all I could personally ask for. The case is too small to keep reels on the rods, but I didn't find it that much of an inconvenience. The case itself is made of a hard plastic. While I haven't tested its durability, I don't foresee any damage happening to the tube itself. It is made of plastic, however, and might not be able to withstand being run over by a car. I am confident it will keep the rods safe, especially from closing car doors.
Disadvantages: While easy adjusting is one of the major advantages of the product, it can also be seen as its downfall. Fully extended, this is one long piece of equipment which you might find trouble putting in your car. I drive a Jeep Wrangler...there is definitely not enough room to fit the case fully extended. On my fishing trip, we used a Chevrolet Blazer with the tube fully extended--it ran from the back window all the way to the windshield. It didn't obstruct the view or make riding overly awkward for a long period of time, but it wasn't something we could just "keep out of the way." It is important you know your vehicle ahead of time. You might not even be able to use it in a small vehicle. For me, my fly rod can be broken down into two pieces a little over 4' long, making the tube perfect for the Jeep. While I don't like that I have to neglect my other rods, they are far less expensive than the fly rod.
I would like to recommend this product to all fishermen who travel with their rods. Not all rods are the same. It seems impossible to just go and pick up a new rod that has the same feel and action as one that gets broken. While I picked up this rod case for an extremely good deal, I think I would pay the full price. I feel that my gear is protected well by it, and I know the price I pay now is only peanuts to what I could be paying in the future for broken rods.