If you are a dedicated fisherman, you are probably familiar with the problems of packing fly fishing gear for travel, especially when moving. To pack a fishing rod, you can use one of two options: you can use the services of a professional courier or you can ship it yourself. In either case, you need to properly arrange your gear to avoid any potential breakage or damage which the long and delicate rods are prone to.
Best Way to Transport and Pack a Fishing Rod
The best way to transport your gear from the standpoint of damage protection is to keep it with you as carry-on luggage, which is allowed by the transport administration. In that case, rods should be grouped and taped together, or left in their original package if possible and placed in a tube. This can be applied to 4 piece travel poles which are suitable for light fly fishing.
Bringing the Rod on a Plane
For the charter boat, you need heavy trolling rods that are most likely not allowed on the plane. Those can be checked in as sports equipment, and most airline companies do not even charge extra for it, so no additional charges are involved. You should check the company policy regarding sports equipment on their website before your travel.
It may be prudent to check in all the equipment parts which may pose a threat to passengers’ safety, such as knives, metal rod holders, hooks, etc., as airport security staff will not let you on the plane otherwise.
Materials for Packing a Fishing Item
There is a variety of packing materials on the market specialized for rods, if your budget will allow it and if you have really expensive gear to take care of. Generally, you will need the following material:
- bubble wrap
- packing tape
- a solid cardboard tube or a plastic pipe
- a couple of end caps, packaging chips or crumpled paper
- packaging paper, measuring tape (for measuring the length of the tube to fit the poles, or you can simply compare them)
- some kind of a saw to cut the tube or pipe.
How to Pack Spinning and Casting Rods for Travel and Backpacking
Select the Rods for Fly and Tenkara Fishing
If you have both spinning and casting poles, start by deciding which one will serve you best, and maybe profit from the occasion to get rid of the old worn ones which do not function well. If you are going to the mountain, you can try the old Japanese technique called tenkara fishing. However, you will need a rod, a tenkara line, and a fly, but you won’t need a reel, which will lighten your equipment for transport.
The best protection for your poles is a heavy-duty cardboard tube or a plastic pipe, which is cut to match the length of the longest rod plus two extra spaces on the ends of the tube/pipe for cups. The diameter and the length of the tube/pipe depend on the number of poles you are carrying and on their length. So, make sure to measure it before going in search of a tube/pipe.
Remove the Reel
The reel usually doesn’t fit into the tube/pipe, so you need to remove it from the pole, wrap it carefully in bubble wrap or in its original case. You can even carry the reel with you since they do not contain dangerous parts which can be considered a security threat. A trolling reel is larger, which means it will not fit into your bag, so you need to place them in your check-in bag. Keep in mind that particular airline companies may require the line to be detached from the reel, so make inquiries before your travel.
Match the Spinning and Casting Rods
If you are packing several poles together, you need to arrange them adequately before putting them into the tube/pipe. Place the spinning and casting poles so that the two longest ones are facing the opposite way and the next two longest also, and join them with packing tape.
Picture 4 – Make sure to pack your spinning and casting poles carefully.
Bubble Wrap Each Rod Individually
You should bubble wrap your spinning and casting rods in their entire length, bearing in mind that the tips are the most fragile parts which need extra protection. It’s best if you wrap them in two layers and then secure them with the packing tape. Finally, place the bundle in the packaging paper, securing it with tape.
Arrange and Slide the Rods Inside the Tube
Put some packaging chips or crumpled paper in the tube/pipe, then insert the poles carefully. Add more chips or paper to make sure the poles do not touch the inner walls of the tube/pipe and to prevent them from shifting. Add some more on the top. You may shake the tube/pipe back and forth to check if anything is moving, and add more chips or paper if needed.
Place the End Caps
Place the end caps on both sides and secure them with tape. If you do not have caps, cut the round pieces from cardboard and place them instead, but make sure you seal it all properly with enough tape. Wrap the tape additionally around the box for extra protection.
Label the Container for Travel
Label each container properly with the content and your name and address before your travel. Or, if it’s a really expensive piece, maybe you should consider getting additional insurance or even transport it yourself.