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Product Review: Field & Stream Vertical Fishing Rod Rack

Field & Stream Fishing Rod Vertical RackBy Mike Thayer

I've been told that fishing rods are to men, what shoes are to women...

I'm OK with that, a man can't have enough fishing poles...

I recently purchased a vertical fishing rod rack made by Field & Stream.

I've got spinning rod and reel combos in one fishing rod rack, baitcasters in another, this Field & Stream rack is for my spincasting rods. 

It holds six rod and reel combos like your typical rod rack, but it's not typical in looks.  This one is dressed up, with a nice wood finish, complete with a Field & Stream brass name plate.  The rod cutouts are even lined with felt, to protect your rods from scratches.  I'm not sure how necessary that is considering all the punishment a typical fisherman puts on his rods, but it looks good.

Field & Stream Vertical Rod Rack
Keyhole fittings provide for a 'floating shelf' look

The two piece unit installs using keyhole fittings in the back of each piece, which gives you a nice floating shelf type look free of unsightly screws.  But it can be a bit of a pain in the butt to install if you're off the slightest bit with your measurement for the screw holes.

For installation, I used a piece of painter's tape, laying a strip along the entire back of the top rack piece, then taking a pencil to punch out a hole where the two keyholes were inlaid, creating an impromptu template. I then transferred the tape and applied it to the space I wanted to fasten the rack to.  Easy Peasy, checked for level, drilled in the screws just short of flush through the punched out holes and into the mounting surface, pulled the tape and secured the top section in place.  With that good looking wood top rack piece now secured to an oak cabinet, "Looks beautiful" I said to myself.

Field & Stream Vertical Rod Rack
Rod cutouts fail to keep rods secure

Time to install the bottom rack piece...   My mistake, was using the same piece of tape 'template' to drill holes for the lower rack piece.  I assumed the measurement for the two keyholes in the bottom piece would be the same as the top piece.  NOPE!  So I had to do a new tape 'template' for the bottom piece and drill a new hole.  Not a big deal and my bad, measure twice, cut (drill) once....  Drilling into a solid wood surface making the need for the plastic anchors (provided) unnecessary, installation took maybe 10 minutes tops.  It wouldn't have taken that long had I measured twice, drilled once...

The vertical rod rack looks great and matched up quite nicely to the oak cabinet I secured it to.  But I do have a couple issues with this rack.  The cutouts in the top piece don't keep fishing rods in place.  Any slightest bump, vibration or inadvertent touching of or accidental brushing against a neighboring rod dislodges rods from the rack.  Pulling one rod from the holder and just slightly hitting the next rod over causes a tumble...  Shutting the cabinet door which this rack is secured to, causes a tumble.  The all metal vertical rod rack I have installed on the opposite side of this cabinet doesn't have this issue.  All rods remain secure and in place, regardless of bumping, vibration, accidental contact...  The other issue I have with this Field & Stream unit is the bottom rack.  I didn't think it through at the time of purchase in being so enamored with the wood finish, but it only accommodates conventional handles, full grip styles and some split handle models.  It's not designed for pistol grips, extension handles or many tapered (fighting butt) models.  You can still set the unconventional rod  handle over the pre-drilled handle hole, but it's not truly secure and only compounds the problem of the top section not keeping rods in the rack...  A handle slides left or right, bumping the next rod, dislodging a rod tip from the top rack, and then there's the possible cascading effect.  Solution:  Make sure all non-conventional handles are NOT side-by-side.  To keep all rod tips in place, I've fastened a small bungee cord along the entire outer edge of the top piece, so rods can no longer slip out.  Kind of takes away from the dressy look, but it's now functional and keeps the rods in the rack. 

Field & Stream Vertical Rod Rack
Rack does not accommodate all handle types

Costing me $24.95 at Cabela's, I'm giving the Field & Stream Vertical Rod Rack 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It looks really nice, but it's not all that functional, failing to truly secure fishing rods in place.  Despite the Field & Stream name, I do not recommend this rack.  Find a metal or plastic rack that doesn't allow rod tips to slip out and can accommodate all the various rod handle grips.

3 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Field & Stream Vertical Rod Rack
Looks good, but there are better racks out there.

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