Flying with a rod [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Flying with a rod

Night Raider
11-24-2005, 08:06 PM
I'm looking for some firsthand experience of people traveling with fly rods as carry on. Would a travel rod get stopped by security? Probably traveling out of LAX right now, and other unknown flights in the future. If anyone could help me with their experience that would be great.


11-24-2005, 09:30 PM
a four pc. rod shouldn't pose a problem.

11-24-2005, 10:04 PM
Here is a link to the TSA site on Hunting and Fishing. I have been able to carry on 4-5 piece rods. I was not able to bring on Flies and Pliers in a carry on together. My underdstanding was the pliers were the issue since they could be combined with the hooks to create a weapon. I would pack flies, pliers etc.. and take my reels and multi piece rods on board. Seems like it changes every time you check in though.


11-24-2005, 10:44 PM
I carried on 3 rods last December when I flew out of Boston to Nassau via Miami, and then on the way back too. They were all strapped to the outside of my backpack in plain sight and I didn't have any issues with security. I also brought on multiple boxes of flies and some hooks, jig heads, and random lures. There were also 2 spinning reels, a fly reel, a couple of lines, and other random stuff in my backpack.

I think I'm the exception on the flies and lines though as I've read many stories on this forum and others about people getting trouble when they brought on flies, and some people couldn't bring on lines. I don't know if it was the fact I was so blatant about it that made them leave me alone, or maybe the fact that I'm 6'4 260 pds and I just went through with purpose and no nervousness since I didn't know flies are generally refused as carry on, even though the TSA website recommends carrying them on board. I think being confident and moving quickly can go a long way to getting you through.

11-25-2005, 07:30 AM
I'm pretty sure that "walk with confidence" and "act everything is cool" is covered at terror camp (and TSA Counter Terror Academy). I wouldn't count on that working every time. TSA can be pretty random.
There are two sets of rules that you must negotiate. The TSA and the airlines. TSA only cares about dangerous items (like bic lighters and #18 bead head pheasant tails). We have all heard "one carry on and one personal item". I figure that if people can carry on a guitar, and a hockey bag, there is a broad range of stuff that can be brought on. If it fits (somewhere), and you are on early and the crew is in a good mood.....
Having a "plan B" is a good idea.

Bob Pauli
11-25-2005, 10:33 AM
Great post. Thanks for the link to TSA, which I quote below because it surprises me.

"Tackle Equipment - Fishing equipment should be placed in your checked baggage. Some tackle equipment can be considered sharp and dangerous. Expensive reels or fragile tackle such as fly's [sic] should be packed in your carry-on baggage."

This is a major change. It seems prodent to carry a copy of the TSA web page on one's person until US TSA personnel adjust to seeing hundreds of hooks coming aboard in fishermen's carry-on luggage.

But don't try this in Western Canada. Until some time in 2005 Vancouver, BC, airport and Air Canada/Jazz refused to allow reels with lines carried aboard. That has changed. In Vancouver, BC, I was told proudly by a Canadian TSA equivalent person, "reels are OK but NO FLIES"

11-26-2005, 08:02 AM
Here is part of a report on a recent trip I made. I have not had problems other than this previously but you always have the line thing hanging over you with reels. I have written TSA asking for clarification on the line thing but only got back form letters. No answer.

We went down just ahead of Wilma. We were on the next to last American flight out of Miami to Nassau on the 20th. Neither of our checked bags arrived at Nassau with us. Bills came in on the last flight that night and we got it when we went back to the airport Friday morning. Mine was scheduled to come in on the first flight in that morning. One problem!! That flight was not arriving till 9:30 am and we flew out to Inagua at 9:15 am. I had packed one set of fishing clothing and carried on 3 rods and reels. We had split the flies between the 2 checked bags so we had enough to fish. I was told my bag would come down on the Monday flight so it wouldn't be too bad. Well, come Monday and here comes Wilma accross Florida and the northern Bahamas. No flights out of Nassau so I did not get my bag till Wednesday after we came in from fishing. Spent the week wearing the same pants and shirt each day, washed them in the shower each evening, and wading in my 991 New Balance running shoes. The only thing we ran short on were the tapered leaders but we added tippit as they shortend, sometimes 2 different sizes. It was nice to have my flats boots on our final day, Thursday, anyway.

One last word you might want to pass on to your clients traveling to the Bahamas. On my previous trips, this was the third since 9/11 and on the trip down, this time, I have had no problem carrying on rods and reels. On the way back coming through Nassau I was forced to check my rod and reel bag because they would not allow reels through the Bahamian equivalent of TSA. This was at the final Bahamian check point before entering the boarding area for return flights to the USA. I had been trough 4 Bahamian check points already. I was stopped and told I had to check the reels and I asked for a superintendent. He also said I had to check them. I asked if they went by TSA regs and he said yes but when I showed him the page I had coppied directly from the TSA sight saying you COULD carry on reels he said they could not go by that and that they did not get all the latest updates from TSA all the time. I told him that has been on the sight for 2 years, I asked him to check the regs they had but they were in the office and he couldn't do it right now. It was futile. It broke my heart having to check three rods and 6 reels but thankfully they made it back to RDU. I don't know the answer for taveling these days and having your gear get there and get back. I think next time I may split my gear between 2 checked bags and wear my flats boots on the plane.

Stinky Tim
12-10-2005, 08:27 AM
I've flown twice with a two piece 8wt. Three out of four times they let me carry it on along with all my flies, reels, etc. The fourth time they made me check it because they said it was too long and then they lost it for two days.

Always carry your rod and I recommend beating the ticket counter attendant with it if they tell you it's too big - I lost two days fishing on the beach because of one!

Bob Pauli
12-11-2005, 12:16 AM
Night Raider,
Since you are going to be flying through LAX, and all the "go for it" replies are from the east coast, I'll pipe in.

The east coast, from Argentina to northern Canada has always been permissive about carrying on rods. The west coast has absolutely not.

If you choose to carry on rods, leave plenty of time to return to the check in counter should TSA bar passage into the aircraft boarding area.

Hopefully this will change with the new emphasis on explosives detection and less effort toward minor "implements." However count on BC's Vancouver airport to be more restrictive than others.

01-02-2006, 02:13 PM
is it harder to travel overseas with rods?