Proceed with Caution

Jul 16, 2020 by Vince Deadmond

Travel is starting to be an option again, and I want to load up the truck with my fishing toys and head to Puerto Peñasco. Having been locked down, I missed the Sea of Cortez, and the good times associated with a Rocky Point trip. When I travel to Puerto Peñasco it usually means a fly fishing trip, complete with inflatable pontoon boat, and/or a kayak.

To get my water toys safely back and forth I have had a variety of roof racks, straps, ropes, ratcheting devices, and bungee cords. I can’t stress it enough have plenty of straps, ropes, and bungees. Don’t leave extra tie down gear at home, loads shift, plans change, and you may need to add something else into the mix.

You can break down your inflatable pontoon boat, and have it deflated, for easy storage, but to assemble it each time cuts into precious fishing time. I usually have room in the back of my camper shell for an assembled pontoon boat, or possibly two boats if I deflate them. Many times you will want to secure a fully assembled and inflated boat to the top of your vehicle.  Having a heavy enough roof rack as a tie off point will help greatly. Cam straps are the ones that pull through and hold tight. I usually cut them to length, so I don’t have too much extra strap flapping in the wind. Inflatable pontoon boats are known to inflate or deflate depending on temperature and altitude changes. Many times, I’ll add an extra bungee or two to add some tension to the load. It’s a good idea to check the load periodically.

The kayak is easy to load to the truck bed and I have a T bar I like to use as an extra tie off point.  Again, cam straps are good for the tie off. If you use ratchet straps, I would caution you not to over tighten, you can damage your kayak. With several feet of kayak sticking out behind my truck I like to add a red caution flag on the back. There are times when I need to load my kayak on the roof rack. The cam straps are good to use, and rope is ok to use, but don’t forget to periodically visually inspect your strap and rope they age and can fail. Kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards can get lifted right off your roof rack, and even take the roof rack off your vehicle. I suggest using a rope or strap on the bow and stern for these larger loads. When in doubt add more straps, ropes, and bungees. I avoid speeding and try to follow more closely to the speed limit when I have large items strapped to my roof rack.  Hope to see you on the water soon.  Vince Deadmond The Retired Fly Fishing Hardware Guy can be reached at vince@ajbest.com and (480) 818-1796.

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