When planning a fly fishing trip, our excitement is so strong around the destination and the experience that we might have, that we often overlook the most important details; getting our gear there in one piece.
Nothing puts a damper on a highly anticipated fishing trip like losing your gear to a situation that could have been prevented.
Whether you are traveling by plane or car, your fly fishing gear should receive first class care.
Knowing how and what to pack for a plane trip, and how to store a fly rod in a vehicle that might not be sporting a roof rack, will make your trip smooth sailing and a lot of fun.
Taking Your Fly Fishing Gear On a Plane
It seems like every airport, airline, and T.S.A. agent’s standards, directions, and verdicts vary greatly. This unfortunate reality can make traveling all the more anxiety ridden.
It also doesn’t help that fly fishing gear can have some questionable components that may raise some red flags such as fishing hooks, pliers, knives, etc.
Fortunately, fly rods and their reels are deemed acceptable as checked luggage by most airline carriers, regardless of the carrier’s size.
To be absolutely sure that you will not have an unexpected hassle during your airport and plane experience, it’s always a good fail-safe to check with your specific airline carrier.
A great way to think of it is that T.S.A cares about what is inside your bag or on your person, whereas the carrier cares abouthow much your bag weighs and how much space it takes up.
Once you have determined what you can and cannot bring, you’ll need to think about what type of container you will use for transporting your fly rod.
Four-piece rods and rod tubes are always the most ideal given that they are built for this purpose.
That said, the most important thing is that the chosen container is a hard case, extremely durable, and shock absorbent.
Hitting a batch of heavy turbulence is an anxious situation all on its own. Don’t give yourself even more stress by worrying about what damage that said turbulence may inflict on your fly rod.
Flying with a 4 piece rod and rod tube will save you a ton of space and headache. Although all things have their pros and cons, it’s better to fish with your own gear than with rental gear used by all sorts of anglers because you had to leave yours at home.
Where to put “questionable” fly fishing items
So, what questionable fly fishing gear items might raise T.S.A eyebrows? It’s a good idea to leave all tools (such as snippers, pliers, and hooks) in your checked luggage.
It will also serve well to remove your fishing line from the reel and transport them in their respective packaging to prevent any security issues.
Other than that, so long as you don’t pack anything you can’t fit in your carry-on or checked baggage with ease, you’ll be down and off the runway with no problem.
Traveling With Your Fly Fishing Gear via Car
There are some really impressive fly rod roof racks on the market that are hands down the best way to travel via car with your fly rod.
Roof racks like Riversmith are exceptionally durable, can accommodate multiple and varying fly weights, and have protective liners that ensure your fly rod has a smooth and highly protected ride.
But, sometimes you might travel in a rental vehicle, with a buddy who doesn’t have a roof rack, or simply in a vehicle that is not your own. This can require fishermen to get creative with how they’ll go about getting their fly rod to its destination in one piece.
Here’s how you should protect your fly rod when traveling by vehicle:
Disassemble your fly rod down to the number of pieces it was manufactured to break down to.
Then, gently tape or strap the rod’s components together in several places.
Once these parts are secure, place them in the vehicle pointed in a direction safe from windows, doors, and other passengers or obstructions.
With the handles or butts of the fly rod down and a sock placed over the tip facing up, the rod should then also be strapped to the vehicle to prevent it from rolling around.
This security works both ways; it will ensure the vehicle doesn’t inflict damage to your fly rod, and that your fly rod won’t inflict damage to your vehicle.
There is no such thing as caring too much about your fly rod and fishing equipment and doing everything in your power to get all of your gear to your destination safely. So, take the extra minute to call your airline carrier and get information relevant to your rod and gear.
Invest some money into a fly rod roof rack for your personal vehicle so you can get from fishing spot to fishing spot with gentle ease. But, most importantly, don’t make impulsive and uneducated decisions on the fly so that you find yourself or your gear in a bad situation.
Do all your homework up front and your gear will thank you!
When I used to work at a sporting goods store I used to get asked this question a lot:
“What is the overall best type of fishing rod that I can use for any type of fishing?”
When I was working at this store, the people that were coming in looking to buy something weren’t die-hard fishermen. They weren’t guys looking for a million different setups. And, they weren’t looking for reasons why they should buy an expensive setup.
All they really wanted was a rod to get out there and fish from time to time, and they wanted it to be logical and of decent quality.
So, I want to walk you through a specific rod setup that should allow you to fish for whatever you want. This is going to be a rod and reel combination based on size and power. That way, you’ll be able to get out there, and just fish a pond or whatever it may be with the same setup.
The rod that you will want to use in this setup is a 6’6” to a 7-foot, medium-action rod. You can certainly go medium-heavy if you want, but medium is usually a good all-around size rod to be able to handle the majority of fish you would catch.
Along with a rod of this size, I would recommend a 2500 to a 3000 size reel.
If you aren’t sure what those numbers mean, simply look on the reel. It will often say 2500 or 3000, or it may just have like a code name with some letters and after it, it’s going to say “30” or “25”, that way you’ll know what size it is.
These reels are going to allow you to hold an 8 to 10-pound test line, or even 15. And, if you guys are going to use braided line, they can hold up to 25-pound, 30-pound braid. So, it’s going to be a good size spool to have enough line to use the lures you need and catch the fish you want to catch.
Why Not Baitcasters?
So, why did I not recommend a baitcaster? Well, baitcasters can be complex, and it takes some skill and practice to use one.
However, a spinning reel will allow you to fish the majority of baits without much trouble. Most people are able to quickly learn to cast one of these and it’s just a good size rod to have all the time.
In addition, this size rod comes in one-piece as well as two-piece variations.
This type of setup is what I grew up learning to fish with initially; just a medium spinning rod that allowed me to fish for just about everything.
Now, some may say, “Oh, you can’t catch giant catfish or carp on those size rods because they’re going to break it.”
My answer to that is, you absolutely CAN.
Use some braided line, make sure you set your drag correctly and have a strong knot tied, and as long as you know how to angle that fish correctly, I can guarantee you you’ll get it to the shore or into the boat.
So there you have it. That’s really all you need to know about what the best all-around fishing rod setup is.
I hope I gave you enough information on the best all-around fishing rod setup. This rod size and reel size combo is fairly inexpensive and it’s going to be a fishing rod you can keep in your car or in your house… perfect for the everyday angler.
So, whether you’re fishing on the weekends, or riding your bike around pond to pond; bass fishing, crappie fishing, or even looking to hook into a big catfish, it’s going to be an affordable and good-size setup to do everything you need to when it comes to fishing.
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