An alternative solution for those in need
By Cliff Maurand
Over the course of the last couple of years, I've had to deal with a dilema of sorts. One of my favorite activities while camping on Hatteras Island, is to head down to the beach and do some surf fishing. Because they allow vehicular traffic on the beach, and the sand is soft and easy to get stuck in, I bought a 4 wheel drive vehicle just for this purpose. My vehicle of choice was the Jeep Grand Cherokee, a great vehicle, but it came up short in one area!
The Jeep Grand Cherokee that I drive out onto the beach with, has a plastic front bumper. Worse yet, directly behind the plastic is a piece of custom formed styrofoam, and then a thin metal backing plate. Because of this, I was unable to mount a fishing rod holder onto my front bumper as other fisherman in the area have done for many years.
I did aquire one though, before I found out that it wasn't going to work on my Jeep. For a while, I just struggled along. First, I just disassembled the poles and packed them into the back of the Jeep each time I went to and from the beach. This turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. Then I started to tie them to the roof racks, this worked pretty good, but was still more trouble than it was worth.
About that same time, I had built a fishing rod holder on the tongue of my Pop-up camper, but it was made of wood and plastic, didn't hold up too well. And it only worked while the trailer was in tow. To head for the beach, I still had to tie them to the roof racks.
Last fall I did a little brain storming, came up with a great idea, and went about finding parts to accomplish the job. What I came up with, was a way to utilize my fancy rod holder, without having it mounted to the front plastic bumper. Instead, I built it into a trailer hitch piece that plugs directly into the hitch receiver. Now I had a piece that could be used on the Jeep. But there was still the problem of transporting the poles when the trailer was in tow. The solution was simple, I installed a receiver on the trailers tongue.
Now I can transport the poles on the tongue when in tow, and then move the rod holder to the Jeeps trailer hitch for the daily runs to the beach. Best part about this, was there were no holes to drill into the trailer frame, this way it didn't create a problem with the warranty on the frame. And if I decide to sell the trailer, I just unbolt the receiver and it's gone without a trace!
By the way, I aquired the receiver and hitch fitting free, all I had to do was buy the frame bolts and a can of spray paint. I had a mechanic friend of mine take care of the welding for me! It only took me about one hour to install this.