Travelling with Your Fly Fishing Gear
Most anglers arrange an extensive fly fishing trip to escape their busy day-to-day life, to relax
and unwind, and to hook a few fish while they are at it. These trips are organized for a good
time hoping very little, if anything at all, goes wrong. But without proper attention paid to critical
details that come with planning a successful outing into the wild, a minor oversight can take a fly
fishing trip from one of the best days of your life to one of the most upsetting very quickly.
What’s one of the biggest mistakes anglers make before and during their fly fishing excursion?
Pulling out all the stops when it comes to properly protecting their fly fishing gear during travel.
Nothing puts a damper on a fly fishing trip faster than damaged, unusable gear. With enough
thought put into how you’ll get your gear to and from your destination, you can minimize
potential disaster and enjoy yourself out on the water with your gear in perfect condition.
Your Gear Has to Clear Airport Security, Too
Most major airline carriers make it a little easier on anglers by classifying most fly fishing gear as
checked luggage. In fact, most major airlines see fly fishing gear daily, so coming across yours
shouldn’t come as a surprise. That being said, and especially if you are traveling with a smaller
airline carrier, it would be wise to get in contact with an agent who can assure you of what they
deem permissible and what they do not. You don’t want to leave precious gear behind or find
out at the gate that they don’t allow what you’ve got in your pack.
It’s also important to think about what items will go in your checked luggage vs. what will be
stored in your carry on. To make it easy, think of it this way; TSA only cares about what is inside
your carry-on, whereas your airline carrier only cares about the weight and size of your checked
luggage. If you even have to ask yourself whether or not a TSA agent might find an item
dangerous.. it should probably go in your checked luggage. The items that come to mind and
should be designated for your checked luggage are fishing line, pliers, knives, hooks, flies, etc.
As for items easily deemed safe and permissible as carry on, think of fly rods, reels, maps, fly
vest, etc. These items are perfectly acceptable to join you on the plane as carry-on items. An
obvious way to protect these items is to carry them in a fly rod tube sporting storage pockets;
not only are these typically designed within airlines’ weight and dimensions parameters, but they
are also highly shock absorbent and can withstand any turbulence your flight may endure.
Getting to Your Fishing Destination by Car
More often than not, you’ll be driving to your fly fishing spot rather than flying, which makes
things easier since there is no TSA monitoring your personal vehicle, but it deserves just as
much consideration to protect your gear. Although fishermen back in the day would just set their
fully rigged gear in the back of their pickup truck and head for their favorite tributary, over time,
they’ve come to realize how much damage their rod and reel takes during the trip stowing it that
way. So a lot of companies have come on the scene to give your rig a smoother, protected ride.
If you’re not renting a vehicle or you often take your personal vehicle out to fly fish, a fishing rod
carrier such as a Riversmith River Quiver is hands down the best looking form of protection for
your fly rod and reel. Lightweight, easy to install, and engineered to be aerodynamic and
compatible with any vehicle, they are also the most durable on the market and more than able
to withstand any shock, wind, or impact your vehicle may come across.
If you’ve already got your rooftop outfitted with another rack, you’re renting a vehicle, or you’re
not ready to commit to a fly rod roof rack just yet, a rod case will definitely do the trick. A lot of
anglers favor the fishing kits coming out of Wild Water, which include a rod case, reel pouch,
and side storage pouch for all the small accessories you may want to haul. Wild Water fishing
kits also make exceptional gifts for those starting out in fly fishing and need all the gear at once.
Can Always Go Old School; The Disassemble Method
At the very least, if you don’t have a fly rod roof rack or a rod case, disassemble your rig after
use and before you drive off into the sunset. Most anglers know how to disassemble their fly
rods, but a brief brush up on the process doesn’t hurt.
Start with the obvious which is to break down the rod into the number of pieces that it was
manufactured to break down into. Then make sure you have a few straps of velcro handy, or
some sections of rope, so you can tie the rod pieces together. This ensures they will not shift,
rub, or slide around as easily as they would if they were apart. Once they’ve been properly tied
together, place the butt of the rod to the ground and elevate the tip so it’s not taking any damage
during the drive. Take it one step further and place a sock or microfiber towel around the tip to
further prevent potential damage.
It’s also not a bad idea to then velcro or tie the entire disassembled rig to the vehicle itself; not
only will this further protect your rig, but it will protect your vehicle from inflicting any damage an
unsecured rig may do during transportation.
Don’t Act Like a Greenhorn - Protect Your Gear!
These methods and suggestions may seem minor, but it’s amazing how often such simple
measures are often overlooked. Nothing gives an avid angler the shivers like seeing a comrade
neglect their gear. Don’t act like a greenhorn; protect your gear at all costs. Whether you’re
flying or driving, protecting your gear should be at the forefront of your mind.
There is plenty of equipment on the market that was designed and manufactured with the sole
purpose of protecting your gear; invest in your equipment wisely and hopefully, it’ll provide you
with the experience you’re hoping to catch!
Written by Kyle Rutten of Riversmith.com