Airport Security & Filled Reels [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Airport Security & Filled Reels

10-29-2009, 03:58 PM

Has anyone had any trouble recently taking filled reels in his or her carryon? A while back, there was considerable angst about this.

Flying to Belize City and inquiring minds want to know. I'd hate to have all my Made-In-China beauties confiscated by over-empowered zealots.



10-29-2009, 05:37 PM
Although it wasn't too many years ago that even flying in the US could be a problem with filled reels, these days it's way more likely to be a problem on your return flight from somewhere else. I know for a fact that traveling to and from Guatemala it's a consistent NO on that. The last time I was in Belize was eighteen months ago, but my buddy had to remove his reel from his carry-on and put it in a checked baggage on the return leg. A lot can change in eighteen months, and it may not even be consistently applied like it is in Guatemala, but I would be ready for a problem. One solution is to put the spool with the line in your checked baggage and take the frame in your carry-on. I didn't say it was a perfect solution, but it does minimize the chances of theft anyway.

11-09-2009, 12:16 PM
the dreaded fly line and backing [from multiple spools] goes on the bulk drum and travels in checked baggage...
I wouldn't be surprised if the current TSA profile NEVER profile?!] indicates that most "terrorists" are avid fly fisherman [and vise versa] and that baggage handlers would NEVER take anything that didn't belong to them...

11-09-2009, 01:17 PM
After years of experience with this, the only thing that I can say definitely is that there is nothing definitive out there. It seems as if policy is driven by the whims and moods of security that day.

Pete that looks like a great idea.

11-11-2009, 02:59 PM
As JR said the return trips seem to be the major problem. I have never had a problem flying within or out of country but have had a problem returning and have seen posts where others have had problems. I carryon flying out and check returning.

Bob Pauli
11-26-2009, 10:11 AM
I experienced no problems with lined reels in carryon baggage traveling within the US, US to/from Canada, US to/from Argentina.

The closest I came to difficulty was an inspector at Toronto's airport asking his boss what "all the string" was doing in my carryon [6 lined Spey reels]. The boss gave the inspector an "Are you a moron?" look and passed me through.

JR Spey travels widely and I respect his input.

12-01-2009, 10:49 PM
I have not had a problem with carry on reels with line or rods in 5 trips to Belize and a few to Mexico. I would not carry on flies however. Don't you know you can kill someone with a hook. Based on observations, knitting needles are ok. Go figure. None of this makes any sense anymore.

12-02-2009, 11:05 AM
TSA is quite clear that you can bring the flies on board. I don't fish for billfish so I don't know if it gets to be an issue with really big flies but I've been fine with bonefish flies. I print out a copy of the TSA rules before I go and highlight the appropriate section in advance and have it in my carry on bag next to the fly boxes. To date I've never had to use it, though I did talk about it with one guy who swore I should be going to Andros instead of Eleuthera. Apparently he nailed an 11lber on his trip there.

Also, I've never had trouble getting into the bahamas or Belize (international flight) or to specific islands (domestic flight) with flyrods and reels. I make sure I bring a little of everything I need in the carry-on bag.

Unlike a lot of folks though, I check everything on the return flight. I don't need to have gear the second I land in Boston and if my luggage is delayed a day or two no problem. Obviously stolen or lost is a different issue but knock on wood that hasn't been a problem for me. It just seems anecdotally most of the problems are on the return trip and I'd rather not deal with it.


01-04-2010, 12:45 PM
I've always packed all of my gear in carry-on and never had a problem in the US or internationally. That includes rods, reels, lines, flies, and tools. I don't know whether I'm just lucky or what. You'd figure they wouldn't let the big hooks on board, but never had an issue. Maybe it's because I pack all the stuff together a certain way so they can't tell what the heck it is!

01-04-2010, 04:53 PM
I've had problems with lines and backing on reels coming from Nassau back into the States. No difficulty carrying full reels aboard from Acklins to Nassau though. One fellow had a shotgun as carryon for that flight!
I solved the problem by removing line from reels at the Nassau airport, fortunately before my checked bag had disappeared. I brought empty spools along for the purpose. Separating reel spool from frame is probably a good idea also.