The Clever Pool Noodle Hack That Keeps Fishing Rods Neat And Tidy In The Garage

You might catch fish, you might not; you might get lost or sink your boat, or you might not. But one thing is certain about fishing: if you have more than one rod, they will become tangled together with fishing line at some point. Tangled like the Gordian Knot, and usually with the same solution — cutting the mess apart. Oh, you might try to disentangle that mess of fishing line, hooks, hook-like swivels, floats with hooks built into 'em, and hoop-like line guides that seem to magnetically attract hooks. Not worth it. What you need here are some separate lanes for the rods to stay in. And, for that, all you need is a pool noodle, an equal length of PVC pipe, and the vivid memory of the last time this happened. The PVC will support the rods from below, while the reused pool noodles keep your garage orderly and separate the rods horizontally.

Well, okay, you'll also need a few washers, screws, and some way to drill largish (say, 1-inch) holes in PVC pipes. Drilling into a round pipe can get tricky. To keep the pipe from rolling around and the bit (a hole saw, Forstner bit, or spade bit) from skittering all over the place, the ideal would be to clamp it in a vise on a drill press. There are also clamp-on guides to simplify the task. If this is outside the scope of your tools or experience, there are many alternatives, which we'll come back to.

How the fishing rod noodle hack works

Preparing the pool noodle is a simple task. Cut slits about two-thirds of the way through a pool noodle and four inches apart. The fishing rods slip into these slits and are held in place by friction. You can't attach the pool noodle to the wall with just screws because the screw heads will pull through in no time, so put fender washers (large-diameter washers with standard-sized holes) on the screws, then attach to the wall. It's always good to find a wall stud, but there's no substantial strain on the pool noodle screws, so you'll be fine with wall anchors in a dry-walled garage.

The base is fairly simple, too. Repurposed PVC is always handy around your home and garden, and if you go with PVC, you'll want to align your 1-inch holes with the slits in the pool noodle, 4 inches from the center. Attach the pipe to the wall using pipe hanger strapping or plastic conduit strap sized for your PVC. Alternatively, you can just drill the hole in a board at least 3/4 inch thick. You can drill all the way through the board so that the fishing rod handles rest on the floor below, on a second piece of wood screwed to the first, or even on nothing at all... the rod will stop falling through at some point, probably within a few inches. With a Forster bit, you can make a wide, flat-bottomed hold partway through a single board.

Make this pool noodle hack work for you

The pool noodle alone would keep the rods separated, but every time the base of one gets bumped, it would move out of place. So, you might be building yourself a new housekeeping chore — rod-straightening. Still, the PVC solution might be needlessly difficult for a novice DIYer, so there are some other approaches you might want to consider, like using a second pool noodle. If your rod butts are resting on the floor, a noodle with identical slits positioned near the base might do nicely. The goal is to keep the bottoms and tops of the rods aligned vertically. If your rod butts are too substantial for a mere slit, you could also cut rounds from a noodle with a C-shaped cross-section and screw these to the wall individually for the bases.

This hack can be used on walls that aren't traditionally framed and even on surfaces besides walls. Many free-standing garages are steel-framed, in which case you might need to attach horizontal members (a simple board will be fine) for your noodles and PVC to attach to. For a clever way to add overhead garage storage, run two ½-inch PVC pipes through noodles and hang them on the ceiling, 3 to 4 feet apart; your rods will rest on top. With this method, plus a couple of bungee cords, you could even hang rods in or on a pickup truck topper. The only limits are your imagination — and five trout in the Catskills.