Newbie - Advice on Flying with Rods (USA) [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Newbie - Advice on Flying with Rods (USA)

06-11-2003, 11:04 AM
Hi -

I'm new to the site. I'm flying to Virginia, and then on to Alaska this summer. I used to carry my rods onto the plane to avoid No Rod situation; however I have not flown any rods since September 11, 2001. Wondering what insight, experience you all can offer. Time between 2 trips is short so it makes shipping rods ahead pricey. I don't like them out of my sight.
The rods in question are 47" broken down. Airlines are Continental and Northwest if that helps....
Thanks for your time,
Mike P

(Aspiring Flyfisher)

06-11-2003, 11:07 AM

IMHO you should buy yourself a strong tube and check them, no way a 47" rod is going to be allowed on board. It's a good idea to go to a UPS store and get some of that large bubble wrap to provide padding inside the tube as well.


06-11-2003, 11:22 AM
I just flew with a 2pc 9' rod and a 2pc 7.5' rod a few weeks ago. Kept them both in their socks and put both in the tube for my 9weight - one rod on each side of the divider. Threw some foam in at both ends and taped the zipper to the rod tube - checked the rod tube and they were fine.

Note: the tube for my 9wt is of the heavy-duty, padded PVC and codura variety. Would not try this with a standard aluminum tube w/o dividers.

Good luck,


John Desjardins
06-11-2003, 11:28 AM
Welcome, a 47" long package would be tough to get through as a carry on now. In my limited recent flights the only thing I've seen aproaching that length that gets through is blueprints & drawings. Fly boxes won't make it through as a carry on either.

06-11-2003, 11:52 AM
I checked two rod tubes on a recent trip to Florida. They were x-rayed as I waited in line..The x-ray operators thoroughly hand inspected some golf clubs ahead of me. They did not hand inspect the contents of the rod tubes.

06-11-2003, 12:29 PM
For my "infrequent" flying for fishing trips, I picked up a Cabela's 5-piece. At under $100, it is a neat rod, casts well, has caught some nice ones, and very portable. The rod case that came with mine (I bought one of the "cheap" combos for a few bucks more which comes with the case, and gave the reel etc. to a kid) goes through the airport and no one questions it. Check 'em out - I think they are on sale now at an even lower price..


Nooksack Mac
06-12-2003, 07:34 PM
For my two most recent trips, which involved fly fishing, I used a backpack (medium-size, padded back and belt) as carryon luggage, containing several multi-piece fly rods, reels, and my vest, fly boxes and all. The fly boxes didn't bother the inspectors, although I did have an awkward moment when my prefab first aid kit revealed a pair of scissors that I'd forgotten about. The inspector felt the points (blunt), thought a moment, and passed me on. By the way, airlines no longer ban nail files or nail clippers: rationality reasserts itself, by degrees.

Bob Pauli
06-13-2003, 03:12 PM
There is not one answer.

The decision as to whether you can carry on fishing rods is controlled by each airport's head of the TSA. You will not get the same answer at every airport. The best procedure, in my experience [San Francisco and Oakland, CA], is to visit your airport of departure prior to your Alaska trip, and talk to a responsible official of the TSA--I have found them quite pleasant. Write down names, dates, telephone numbers related to your conversations.

Next best would be to telephone a responsible official. Make notes.

Even if you get permission to carry on your rods from the above, be prepared to be challenged by the TSA guy/gal manning the inspection process. You might need some extra time while you cheerfully discuss your earlier conversations with the inspector's boss. Always be cheerful; tell the inspector how much you appreciate the difficult and important job he performs. This always brings an appreciative smile and a thank you.

Even with that, be prepared to check your rods into the baggage process.

There is no problem carrying on reels and lines.

Good luck!

06-24-2003, 07:49 AM
I'm sending Dad's rods ahead. I'll carry mine on in a 26" tube and have the case well labeled. I'll let you know how it works out.
Mike P

06-24-2003, 08:08 AM
I HOPE you are taking more than one rod, and a couple of reels and spare lines.... Nothing is worse than going to Alaska with only one rod and reel, and only one line ..... Any and all can get broken, ripped off the reel and lost, smashed, battered, and reels DO strip and burn out on LARGE fish!


06-24-2003, 01:44 PM
You are correct of course! I'm taking only one rod on a mostly family excursion, then heading to AK with tat rod. Dad is sending his rod and our back-up rods ahead. I've also got local buddies to spot me if I'm totally abused by the fish...

On my first Kenai trip my cousin got to watch the rest of us fish for a couple hours. He figured we were only going out for 2 hours so no backup was needed. 3 cast, a Sockeye showed him different! It really is better to learn from the mistakes of others!!
Thanks and All the best,
Mike P

07-01-2003, 11:17 AM
The best rod tube is a homemade one from PVC pipes. You can get a length of 3 inch tube at Home Depot, buy a cap for one end and glue it in place put some padding in, and buy a cape with the screw cap in for the other end. Sorry don't know technical terms, not a plumber, but you will see it all there. Total cost around $12. I was given a hard time carrying on lures, scissors, and even nippers in Pittsburgh. So best to be safe and check all your gear.