If you’re looking to mix up your standard fly-fishing trips and go somewhere new, there’s no need to shy away from plane travel to get to an exciting destination. With a little preparation, it’s completely possible to transport your fly-fishing gear via airplane with little to no hassle. Before you start packing, however, it’s important to do your research. The last thing you want to do is pack ineffectively and end up on the other side of your flight with forgotten or damaged gear. To help you prepare for your journey, we’ve compiled some tips for you to ensure traveling with your fly-fishing gear goes as smoothly as possible.
The best place to start when preparing for your trip is by doing a little airline research. Most airlines will have specific details about what type of equipment you can take with you on their websites. Look for packing information under headings like “sporting equipment,” “special luggage,” and “fishing equipment policies.” This will help you differentiate what items you can carry on, what items you might have to check, and whether you will need to pay for any oversized baggage fees.
When it comes down to it, having as much of your gear as possible with you as carry-on luggage is always a good bet. Making sure you can keep it within sight helps minimize the risk of lost gear or damage occurring during airport luggage processing. Most airlines will let you bring fishing poles in a carry-on bag, or even in a rod tube. You should also be able to carry-on other fly-fishing gear such as your reels, lines, flies, and a spare change of clothing or two. As long as the hooks aren’t excessively large on your flies, the risk of TSA confiscation should be minimal. This means that you should be safe with the majority of salmon or trout flies and do your best to keep sizes below 22.
Checked & Oversized Bags
Depending on what type of flight you’ve booked, you may need to shell out some extra money to pay for a checked bag for rods. Generally, if your rods are shorter than 115 linear inches, they should qualify for the checked bag rules. If you’re bringing extra rods and can’t fit everything into your carry-on, then fitting your remaining items into a single checked bag is the way to go. Things get pretty expensive when you have to start shelling out for oversized bag fees, so be really careful to do your research on size stipulations from the airlines beforehand so you can avoid this.
Items You Can’t Bring
If you’re aiming to bring items with you through carry-on, you’ll definitely need to go through your gear to remove some things that the TSA will likely confiscate. Obviously, knives are a no-go, and you won’t be able to bring your multi-tools either. Pliers are also often confiscated by TSA as they are often quite sharp, so best not to risk it. Finally, as we previously mentioned, if your flies have larger hooks then it’s advisable to not risk bringing them in your carry-on. If you want to bring these items, make sure they are in your checked baggage. Don’t forget however you can also buy some of these things when you reach your destination if need be.
Protecting Your Gear
One of the most important aspects of traveling with your gear is to make sure it’s well-protected while you’re on route. When it comes to your fishing rod, there are many different types of rod cases out there that will do the job well. You can get many rod cases for up to 8.5 feet or break your rod down into 2 pieces if necessary. You can also re-use the tubes that any online rod orders have come in. While not as indestructible as the ones you might get from say Plano or Flambeau, these PVC tubes still do a great job if you’re bringing the rod as a carry-on or packing it inside a checked bag.
You’ll also want to make sure that your reel is protected for travel. The best way to do this is by investing in a neoprene reel case, and then wrapping the reel in a shirt or socks for an added layer of protection. A reel can easily be added in as a carry-on item, so it’s definitely advisable to keep it with you during your travels rather than checking it in a bag.
If you really want the ultimate option for storing and protecting your gear, there are a number of companies that sell luggage specifically for fly fishing. While not strictly a requirement for fly-fishing travel, they are an amazing option for those looking to stay organized and for an added layer of protection.
Using the right fly fishing gear for your fly fishing gear kit will make your trip – local or cross-country – more enjoyable and successful. Prepare for your next fly fishing adventure with the right gear for travelling, don’t leave anything behind, and you can feel confident that you and your setup will be ready to reel anything in.