Plane and… Fishing Rods: Navigating Airport Security with Your Tackle

We use affiliate links, and receive a small commission if you make purchases through them. Find out more here.

Plane and... Fishing Rods: Navigating Airport Security with Your TackleEver been at the crossroads of a brilliant vacation plan and a seemingly insurmountable obstacle? Like, say, pondering ‘can you bring fishing rods on a plane?’ It’s a common conundrum for fishing enthusiasts – packing that fishing gear for the perfect angling vacation, only to worry about airport security putting a damper on the fun.

TL;DR: Fish Your Way Across The Skies

  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) permits fishing rods in both carry-on and checked baggage
  • Fishing rods need to be properly packed in a case or tube
  • Only 18 fishing rods were confiscated by TSA in 2019 out of 800 million passengers
  • Check with your airline for any additional size or weight restrictions
  • Be mindful of additional fishing gear, such as hooks and knives

You should also read: Can you bring umbrellas on a plane?

Fishing Rods Fly the Friendly Skies

Jeff Miller, owner of The Fly Fishers fly shop, aptly puts it: “Fishing rods are allowed on planes, but it’s important to pack them properly to avoid any issues with the TSA or damage during transport.” It’s the one stat to reel in here: fishing rods are TSA-approved. This fact alone should assuage much of your ‘fishing-on-a-plane’ related worries. But like all things air travel, there’s more to it than just this.

Proper Packing is Key

While fishing rods are allowed, they must be properly packed to prevent damage. Remember, the belly of the plane is not a gentle place. Stowing your precious gear next to hard suitcases and heavier items can lead to heartbreak unless adequately protected. A sturdy rod case or tube is your best bet to ensure that your rod arrives in the same condition it left.

A Statistic to Hook Onto

Here’s an interesting catch: in 2019, the TSA screened over 800 million passengers and found over 4,000 firearms in carry-on bags. But guess how many fishing rods were confiscated? A mere 18! It goes to show that traveling with a fishing rod is not as uncommon, or as difficult, as you might think.

The Finer Details of Air Travel with Fishing Gear

While rods are generally good to go, you need to be cautious with other fishing gear. Items such as fishing knives, large hooks, or bait that could leak must be stowed in checked baggage. When in doubt, it’s always best to consult with your airline or the TSA’s guidelines.

The Insider’s Guide: Traveling with Fishing Rods

Navigating airport security with a fishing rod need not be daunting if you follow the right steps. Here are some insider tips that I’ve learned over the years:

Choose the Right Case

Picking the right case for your fishing rod is vital. Look for cases specifically designed for air travel – they should be hard-bodied, waterproof, and lockable. The cases should be able to withstand the rough handling that often occurs during the loading and unloading of luggage.

Disassemble Your Rods

If possible, disassemble your fishing rods before travel. Multi-piece rods are more convenient to pack and less likely to get damaged. Single-piece rods can be more problematic due to their length, so check your airline’s restrictions.

Label Your GearLabel Your Gear

It’s always a good idea to label your fishing rod case and other checked fishing gear with your contact information. This can help speed up the process if your items are inspected or if they happen to get lost in transit.

Protect Your Reels

Reels can be delicate and should be removed from the rod and packed separately. You can use bubble wrap or a soft piece of clothing for extra protection.

Don’t Forget About Your Bait

If you’re traveling with live bait, check the guidelines. Often, it’s easier to buy bait at your destination rather than trying to transport it.

The Bottom Line: Get Hooked on TravelThe Bottom Line: Get Hooked on Travel

So, ‘can you bring fishing rods on a plane?’ Absolutely! With the right preparation and the right gear, you’ll be reeling in the big one at your dream fishing destination in no time. And remember, a good angler respects the rules – of the fish and of the flight!


Can I bring my fishing rod as carry-on luggage? 

Yes, the TSA allows fishing rods as carry-on luggage, but they must be properly packed in a rod case or tube to prevent damage.

What other fishing gear is allowed on a plane?

In addition to rods, most fishing gear is allowed on planes, but some items like fishing knives and large hooks must be stowed in checked baggage.

Are there any size restrictions for fishing rods on planes?

There may be size restrictions depending on the airline, so it’s always best to check with them ahead of time.

What is the best way to pack a fishing rod for air travel?

The best way to pack a fishing rod for air travel is in a sturdy rod case or tube that can protect it from damage.

How many fishing rods can I bring on a plane?

There isn’t a specific limit on the number of rods you can bring, but be aware that airlines may have restrictions on the amount of carry-on and checked luggage.

Why were fishing rods confiscated by TSA?

While the TSA allows fishing rods on planes, if they are not properly packed or if they pose a safety concern, they can be confiscated.

Can I carry fishing tackle on a plane?

Fishing tackle is generally allowed on planes, but sharp objects like hooks should be packed in your checked luggage.

Can I bring bait on a plane?

Bait can often be a tricky item to travel with due to different regulations. It’s best to check with your airline and purchase bait at your destination.

Can I pack my fishing rod and reel together?

Yes, but it’s usually safer to pack your reel separately to avoid any damage during the flight.

Are fly rods allowed on planes?

Yes, fly rods are also allowed on planes. They should be packed in the same way as other fishing rods – securely in a rod case or tube.

What should I do if my fishing rod is too long for carry-on?

If your fishing rod is too long to carry on, it will need to be checked. Ensure it is securely packed in a rod case to prevent any damage.

Final Cast

Whether you’re flying to Alaska’s wild rivers, Florida’s coastal areas, or any fishing haven in-between, knowing you can safely bring your fishing rod on a plane can open a world of travel possibilities. Remember to check with your airline for any additional size or weight restrictions and to pack your rod and gear carefully. Your perfect fishing trip might be just a flight away!

Relevant Sources

And that’s the end of the line! We hope this post guides you smoothly through your next fishing trip. Remember, a well-prepared angler makes the best catches, not just in the water but in air travel too. So, pack up your rods and reels, jet off to that dream fishing destination and make some unforgettable catches! Safe travels and tight lines!

This post is also available in:

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 4.40 out of 5)