Airplane: Carrying on Flys instead of checking in your baggage.

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Brennen Busse, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. Brennen Busse Member

    Posts: 67
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    I've done quite a bit of research on whether or not you can carry fly fishing flies on an airplane. According to the link below, TSA says fragile items such as reels and flies can be carried on. Has anyone had any luck carrying fly fishing flies onto an airplane? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    TSA's link to hunting and fishing items.
    http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/hunting-and-fishing-equipment
  2. Greg Armstrong Active Member

    Posts: 912
    Pugetropolis
    Ratings: +255 / 0
    It depends, not so much on TSA rules but the individual screener's interpretation of them.
    I've been forced to check even my reels before (line could strangle someone?) when at the gate, but this was coming back home from the Bahamas.
    Flying domestically and to/from Canada it's not been a problem for me.
    Some airlines (ie; Alaska) are probably more informed (and lenient) than others. Also, some destinations that regularly have fisherman will be more "in the know" and not as apt to misinterpret.
    On the other hand, the newest rules allow hockey sticks onboard now!
    Where you going? Have fun wherever it is.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  3. Bonefish Jack Strictly FF

    Posts: 200
    Kent WA
    Ratings: +33 / 0
    I have carried on my tackle, including rods, many times, both domestically and internationally. No problems whatsoever. Some of the flies I have in my boxes have been as large as a #2 hook, and no problem.

    Last time I went to the Bahamas, I was glad I had carried on, because my checked back showed up a day late. I was able to fish the first day because I had carried on.

    I also print and carry with me the page you linked, just in case ;)
    Brookie_Hunter likes this.
  4. Brookie_Hunter aka Dave Hoover

    Posts: 1,312
    Phinney Ridge, Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    I fly almost exclusively on Alaska Airlines. I always carry on all my fishing equipment and I've never had a problem. Though my rod/reel case for my 2pc 9ft rod has drawn a number inquiries over the years from fellow passengers as it kind of looks like it could be a gun case to the unknowing. :confused:
  5. formerguide Active Member

    Posts: 294
    Bonney Lake, WA
    Ratings: +723 / 0
    Never had an issue with anything other than fly lines, had to unspool all of my line in Costa Rica and once headed to Brazil. Flies have never been an issue, but as others alluded, it's entirely at the discretion of the actual TSA screener, which is inconsistent at best... But I fly with rods all of the time. I used to print out the TSA page regarding gear, but honestly can't see it making a difference if you get the wrong screener...

    Dan
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  6. Steve Unwin Active Member

    Posts: 276
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +75 / 0
    No experience with carrying tackle aboard, but generally I agree with Greg's assessment Even if you know what the rules are, they are not consistently enforce by TSA or airline staff. And just because they let you take it outbound doesn't mean you will have the same experience on the way back.

    Carrying the rules with you may give you a leg up, but TSA personnel are likely to be pretty stubborn. I imagine they are given their own discretion.
  7. Brennen Busse Member

    Posts: 67
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    Thanks for the helpful replies. I am heading out to S.C. for some fly fishing in N.C. and then some bass fishing in S.C. I am going to give it a go and save some baggage fees.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    Brennen
  8. Greg Armstrong Active Member

    Posts: 912
    Pugetropolis
    Ratings: +255 / 0

    Don't get "that guy" in Nassau I had to deal with - rules in my hand as well and they were not going to change his mind!
    I had to check my reels and almost missed the flight home.
    Fellow flyfishing travellers beware...
  9. Jake Dixon Member

    Posts: 203
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    I've flown often with reel, rod, flies, etc. Never an issue.
  10. chief Active Member

    Posts: 296
    Portland, OR
    Ratings: +96 / 1
    As others have said, it depends, but I think with trout and bass sized flies within the USA you should be fine. My experience is that big saltwater hooks can sometimes be a problem, and also the destination makes a difference. Most USA screeners won't question fly gear and flies, but as others have said, foreign screeners may operate under different rules. Typically you are OK on the way down to Mexico, Bahamas, or Costa Rica, but on the way home different rules may apply. Often you don't find out until you are at the security check point or even at the gate, and then your options can be limited because of lack of time or a checkable bag to put stuff in. And it is harder to argue when you don't speak the language...... I usually take my fishing gear as carry-on on the way to the destination and check it on the way home. It is not a big deal if something gets delayed on the way home.
  11. Flyborg Active Member

    Posts: 2,284
    Kalama, WA
    Ratings: +583 / 0
    I won't check reels anymore, had them stolen too many times. Flies shouldn't be an issue, I've had friends take their flies, materials and tying tools on the plane and tie mid-flight :)
    Brookie_Hunter likes this.
  12. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,286
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,390 / 0
    I've heard and read enough horror stories about TSA to bother carrying tackle as carry on. I check everything except my rod case on some flights to Alaska. Some TSA wonks consider fly line or any fishing line and hooks, including flies, as weapons. The way I'd go about talking them out of it would get me arrested, and that, for sure, would mess up my fishing trip.
  13. Upton O Blind hog fisherman

    Posts: 2,132
    Wetside, Washington
    Ratings: +191 / 0
    Carried flys and reels, and rods on as carry on baggage without problem on two trips to Belize.
  14. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,729
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +613 / 1
    I've been carrying on rods, reels and my fanny pack stuffed with fly boxes and not had any issue.
  15. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,127
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,404 / 0
    Shit you can make a weapon out of just about anything. I believe those TSA dudes are nuts.

    When I went to the Court House in Everett, I had to check in my fingernail clippers. When I went for Jury duty here in Montana I carried my knife in my pocket. What a difference 600 miles makes. They don't make you empty your pockets here.
    flyfool and Randru like this.
  16. Joe Goodfellow Active Member

    Posts: 502
    DES moines wa
    Ratings: +94 / 0
    Don't worry about it but keep a eye on your stuff. TSa stands for thieves standing alert
  17. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,022
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,010 / 0
    Exactly right. The same 'rules' are subject to vastly different interpretations and enforcement depending on things like airport location, the mood of individual screeners and perhaps, the phase of the moon. I sail right through TSA at SeaTac. But the Nazis in the Boise security checkpoint practically have an orgasm taking me and my luggage completely apart before my flight back home.

    I'm convinced that TSA was a massive jobs program for law-and-order type personalities who couldn't get hired at their local police or security contractor. Stung by that rejection, they take out their latent hostility on whatever poor schmuck happens to be in their line. God help you if you don't have your toothpaste or KY jelly in a separate, 1 quart zip lock bag.

    The insult to the injury is that it's my tax dollars who pay their salaries.

    K
  18. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,286
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,390 / 0
    Amen!

    KY jelly? Really?
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  19. Brookie_Hunter aka Dave Hoover

    Posts: 1,312
    Phinney Ridge, Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    I'm not that cynical with it. I think the vast majority of those who joined the TSA did so just as many joined the Armed Services after 9/11. There have been many in uniform that have have done far worse than anyone in a TSA uniform can be accused. In any cross section of people you'll always get a fair number of misfits. Add complicated rules and procedures, which still aren't entirely accepted by the public, it'll certainly add to the bad reputation that they've receive. But all those low level employees on the front lines aren't the ones who organized the mess you experience at the airport daily nor created the policy and procedures that are in place. If anyone one here was doing that job, would you be doing significantly any better if you were the employee having to deal with all the SOB's that make their way through the airport everyday?
    Randru and Bonefish Jack like this.
  20. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,022
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,010 / 0
    Dave, all the points you make are perfectly valid and I appreciate your time and effort to make them. My primary issue with TSA is how uneven field managers apparently choose to apply what are undoubtedly consistently-written rules and procedures. IMHO, if it was the army or marines, the execution would have been a lot more even from location to location.

    K
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