As my interest in fishing grew, and the quality (and quantity) of the gear increased, I knew I needed a better way to store my rods and reels than just using a plastic trashcan in the garage. At a visit to a Bass Pro Shops last year I had picked up some rod holders, thinking I would mount them on the wall in the garage and that would take care of that. Well, I really didn't HAVE a good place to mount them on a wall, and things get rearranged in the garage so much anything that did get mounted would be getting "unmounted" before long. No, I needed something freestanding... and sturdy... and cheap. Having a bunch of PVC tubing and connectors already on hand, that seemed to be a good option for building something that would work.
But then I saw how people mounted these rod holders on different things, such as the sides of rolling ice chests, or on the sides of carts/wagons (to make a fishing cart). Hmmm... I have a cart that would be perfect for that, but I don't want to mount a rod holder onto it permanently. I need something that needs to be more... modular.
And so, after a few sketches and checks of my PVC inventory, I came up with this Fishing Rod Modular Storage System. Each of the four rod holders are mounted onto PVC frames, with a freestanding base holding the frames. Each frame can be easily removed and mounted onto the side of the cart, as needed. And as other situations arise, other sort of stands/bases/mounts can be rigged up... PVC is wonderful stuff!
Now, this write-up is more about the concept... to show you what I did with what I had. Your mileage may vary, depending on what you have (or are willing to get) and what you need. Here is what I used:
The BPS 3 position rod holders (came 2 to a box, and I had 2 boxes so there were 4 total)
3/4" schedule 40 PVC -- about 15 feet.
3/4" THIN WALL PVC -- about 3 feet. What I used is marked PVC 1120 SDR-21 PR 200, and has an inside diameter of around 0.93 inches.
1/2" schedule 40 PVC -- about 5 feet
3/4" Tee Connectors -- 20
3/4" Side Outlet Elbow -- 4. This looks like just a regular 90 degree elbow, but has an additional outlet on the side.
3/4" x 1/2" Reducing Bushing -- 8.
8-9" cable ties -- 16 (4 for each rod holder)
The use of the 3 feet of SDR-21 thin-wall PVC is important as you'll see below.
Step 1: Build the PVC frames
I did not use any sort of adhesive; these are all just pressed together (I used a rubber mallet to make sure everything was seated fully). I haven't experienced any problems so far with that approach; you can use the appropriate PVC cement if you wish.
Step 2: Modify the Rod Holders
Each rod holder had two mounting "bars", and each bar had 6 spots that needed to be relieved for the tube; 2 of those spots were much thicker plastic as it was where the mounting screws were supposed to go. I used a hobby knife to carefully cut away the plastic, and a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a short piece of the 3/4" pipe to get the final fit. I was going to use a sanding drum on my rotary tool for all of it but it turned out to be a bit too much; I only used it for those parts where the plastic was thickest.
Finally, I drilled some 3/8" holes through the mounting sections to slip some cable ties through for mounting the rod holders to the frames. I had to be sure to drill through the top and bottom of each mounting section fairly straight (although it wasn't very critical). Speaking of cable ties...
Step 3: Mount the Rod Holders
Step 4: Make the stand
The connecting pieces of the loop (3/4" sched 40, because it's what I had) were cut so that the vertical pieces (the 1/2" PVC) were spaced 8" center-to-center along each side, and the two sides separated 16" center-to-center. The pieces separating the sides should be the same (or close to) the same length as the cross pieces of the PVC frames where the rod holders are mounted.
This stand has room for the four frames, for the four rod holders I have. If you have a different number of frames, or just want to be different, you can add or subtract as you want. Knock yourself out. Won't bother me any.
Again, I did not use any adhesive, just press fit and "encouraged" with the rubber mallet. The nice part with this is that if need be, I can pull a section apart and put in a longer (or shorter) section of PVC, or add on additional spaces for more frames should I need. Like the title says... modular.
Step 5: The Final Result
Step 6: Bonus (the advantage of modular)
As long as you use the 1/2" PVC uprights spaced 16" apart, you can make up almost any other sort of stand/mount that you need.