Fly fishing Tips for Air Travel
tips to get your gear there and back safely
Welles once wrote, "There are only two
emotions on a plane: boredom and
terror". Fortunately, these
emotions have improved slightly.
However, the feeling of terror remains
when faced with placing your prized reels on
a conveyor belt headed for the black-drape abyss.
below are tips or a "strategy" I
used successfully on a recent fly fishing
trip to Ireland.
Tips (Each is explained in its entirety below):
the TSA and your air carrier for the latest
your rods, reels, flies and camera on-board
• Check your waders and boots
• Combine things: put two rods in one
rod tube, two tippet spools in one
boots by your hotel AC/heater, pack trash
both the TSA.gov (Transportation Security
Administration) and your air carrier's website before getting too far into your travel
plans. Rules provided by your air
carrier will likely overrule TSA's
rules; however, both will provide good
starting points for determining what you carry on board.
view on fishing rods: "Fishing Rods are permitted as
carry-on and checked baggage. However,
please check with your air carrier to
confirm that it fits within their size
limitations for carry-on items. Ultimately,
it is the carrier's decision as to whether
or not it can be transported as carry-on
view on fishing tackle: "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 should be packed in
your carry-on baggage".
view on luggage locks: "TSA screens every passenger's
baggage before it is placed on an airplane.
While our technology allows us to
electronically screen bags, there are times
when we need to physically inspect a piece
of luggage. TSA has worked with several
companies to develop locks that can be
opened by security officers using universal
"master" keys so that the locks
may not have to be cut. These locks are
available at airports and travel stores
air carrier was Continental Airlines.
Their policy at the time (June, 2007) was
the following: one bag (< 40 lbs.), one
personal item (< 51 linear inches), and
one small personal item such as a brief case
or camera case. I met their rules by
checking one luggage bag and carrying on one
rod tube and a backpack.
would pre-pack your gear for any other big
fishing trip, why would this be any
different? When I say
"pre-pack", I mean lay your gear
out in a logical arrangement prior to your
trip. Think about what you'll need and
then re-pack your gear, paying particular
attention to what pocket you care to have
your clippers, weight, and tippet in.
The more time you spend pre-packing, the less
likely you'll forget something. This
time can also be used to determine what
you'll really need, and if your gear falls
within the weight limits expressed by your
recommended to carry on expensive items such
as cameras, reels, rods, and flies.
You'll have the most control over these
items if they remain in your possession at
all times. Consider placing two rods
in one rod tube. For my trip, I placed
two four-piece rods (5 and 9 weight) in one
33 inch GLoomis triangular tube. I used my
backpack for my cameras, reels, and flies.
waders and boots can be checked. At
some point, you need to draw the line with
what you can physically carry on board. While waders and boots are
important, you can fish without them.
Most fly fishing travel destinations have
places where you could buy or rent boots and
waders if needed.
used a Simms roller bag for my trip.
The bag had two large compartments, one for
clothing and one for waders, and was separated
by a moisture barrier. The bag was
nearly 32.5 inches high, which was tall
enough for me to stow my 33-inch rod tube
diagonally. This allowed me to carry a
10-foot rod in my bag while traveling in
taxis and on the train. I hand-carried
the rod tube once on the plane.
items whenever possible -- this
reduces both weight and
clutter. Examples include
buying two tippet spools of the same
poundage and winding one onto the
other. For my trip I combined
two spools of 8 pound Seaguar
fluorocarbon (25 yd capacity) on one
spool. I did the same for 10
Also, combing two rods in one
rod tube is also possible.
little wading boot forethought can make your trip more
enjoyable. First, do you really need
boots or will wading sandals work
instead? For short trips or trips with
limited stream walking, sandals may be a
better option. Sandals dry quicker and
are lighter. Remember your wading
boots will get heavy once wet -- this may
cause your bag to exceed your air carrier's
specified bag weight limit. One way to
reduce this is to dry your boots by the
hotel's AC/heating vents the night before
your return voyage. Also, packing trash bags to place your wet boots or
sandals into assures the rest of your gear
pack early and enjoy your trip!