Is a Fishing Rod Allowed on Airplanes?

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Going fishing with my dad was one of the best parts of long weekend holidays from my childhood. Whenever it was time for us to go fishing, my mom got my fishing vest out of the shed and went on endless tirade of warnings on why the lake wasn’t for swimming and how I should not try to jump out of the boat. In the meantime, my dad got our fishing rods out and told me how I should always have my own, designated fishing rod with me.

Both of those lessons stuck with me. I don’t try to jump out of a boat anymore (mom would be proud), and I always try to take my fishing rod to my trips back home (giving some pride to dad too!). While I always prefer to drive in my RV, there are times when the trip has to be cut down a bit, and that’s when I have to try and wriggle my fishing equipment onto an airplane.

It was almost a decade ago when I was first struck with the question: Is a fishing rod allowed on an airplane? The answer: Yes, a fishing rod is allowed on an airplane. But as you may have probably guessed, there are certain factors attached to this permission. Your fishing rod has to meet specific requirements. Additionally, you can’t bring any sharp fishing tackle in the carry-on bags; while the same goes for large fishing hooks as well.

Here are the details that you need to be aware of while trying to get your fishing rod on airplanes.

What are the Requirements for My Fishing Rod to Get Accepted On-Board?

Your fishing rod can be allowed on both carry-on and checked luggage. However, for the former, you needed to make sure that your fishing rod fits within the airline’s specified size of carry-on items.

But since not many airlines allow something as tall as a fitted fishing rod in a carry-on bag, you may need to get your fishing rod into a covered packaging or special bag and have it boarded as part of your checked luggage.

With that being said, if you have a collapsible fishing rod, then it would be very much possible for you to bring it along with your carry-on bags.

What Are the Special Measures I Should Take to Get My Fishing Tackles On-board?

If you want to get your fishing tackles with sharp hooks in your carry-on bags, then you are out of luck. Anything as sharp as large fishing tackles or fishing hooks isn’t allowed on an airplane’s carry-on bags.

However, as long as you keep these items sheathed, wrapped and packed into your checked luggage, you can have them fly with you and receive them at your specific airport destination.

What if I Have Any Fragile Fishing Tackles That I May Lose in Checked Baggage?

If your fishing tackles or lures are small (such as flies), then you may have them included in your carry-on bags as long as they are secured in their own boxes and packed in your bag.

This usually does not need to be checked with an airline, but to rather be safe than sorry, do make sure that they are fine with you bringing along smaller tackle in your carry-on bag.

I Don’t Want to Risk Losing My Collectible Fishing Tackle in the Checked Baggage, What Should I Do?

If your collectible fishing tackle is large and has sharp hooks, then it may not be allowed on the plane in the carry-on bags. Your best bet here would be to check with the TSA agent on the spot and be ready to transfer your tackle in your checked baggage. It is for everyone else’s safety.

But if you are weary of sending your tackle in checked luggage due to fear of loss, then make sure to have traveler’s insurance that comes with “all risks” covered. This would make sure that if your expensive tackle gets lost on the way, you could have it refunded without having to go back and forth with the different respective and related parties.

What About My Reels? Are They Allowed on Carry-on Bags?

Reels are allowed on carry-on bags, but they need to be covered and securely packed within the bag. You can’t carry them in hand or in your pockets, even if they are very expensive.

Make sure that you have them packed within the carry-on bag if you don’t want to lose them with the TSA agent.

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I Don’t Have Enough Space in My Bag for Fishing Items, What Should I Do?

If your bags are full, then I’d advise you to go ahead and purchase a special bag that lets you pack your collapsible fishing rod, tackles, and fishing hooks securely.

You can then have this bag checked with your other luggage if the items within it are not passed by the TSA or airline to take as a carry-on bag.

What About Other Fishing Equipment?

It depends on what you mean by “other equipment”. For some, the term may simply refer to a fishing vest, in which case it would be totally fine. While for others, it may refer to items such as metal rod holders, which would be restricted.

The key here would be to compare the “other equipment” with items that are generally restricted or non-restricted. Do you think a fishing knife would be allowed on a plane? No. That’s what I thought.

Make the decisions regarding other equipment accordingly. If you are not sure about taking an item on-board, check with your airline. And no matter what, always make sure to have a contingency plan in place if your intended carry-on bag is disallowed and asked to be checked instead.

This way, you won’t have to make your way around unpleasant surprises.

Any Other Things That I Should Keep in Mind While Traveling With Fishing Equipment?

Since you, like me, would be checking your bags with some unusual fishing equipment in it, it would be best if you dedicate some extra time to the activity and reach the airport about an hour earlier than you normally would.

This would make sure that while the TSA agents have to check back and forth whether to allow an item onto your plane or not, you don’t have to live under the constant fear of missing your flight.

Another piece of advice that I’d give you is to pack as minimal of your fishing equipment as possible. Get your fishing rod, your reels, and some fishing tackles and lures. That’s it. You can then purchase the other equipment from your destination as well. This way, you won’t have to worry about the stress of going through the check-in process for your extensive fishing luggage.

Whatever You Do, Make Sure Not to Go Against the Rules

Do not fight the law. The law will always win.

While some people may tell you to argue with the TSA agent to let you carry your precious cargo with you, I’d advise against doing so.

These measures are taken for everyone’s safety, after all. Not complying with them can mean that you can get booted from your flight.

Be in line with the rules and you will be fine. Just think about the fact that you are making your way to a relaxing destination full of fishing expeditions and peace.

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