We at Angler Adventures pack expensive rods, reels and flies (tied on hooks 3/0 and smaller) in our carry on luggage 100% of the time and recommend our clients do the same. When you visit the TSA website and use their search function, “Fishing Tackle”, this is what you’ll find:
Fishing rods are permitted as carry-on and checked baggage; however, passengers should check with the air carrier to confirm that the fishing rod fits within size limitations for carry-on items.
Sharp fishing tackle that may be considered dangerous, for example, very large fish hooks, should be sheathed, securely wrapped, and packed in your checked luggage. Like other high-value objects, you may wish to pack expensive reels or fragile tackle that does not pose a security threat (small flies) in your carry-on baggage.
Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.
From our experience 99% of traveling anglers are allowed to carry on “travel” rods, reels and flies. Unfortunately, some airlines or TSA officials may interpret their regulations differently. For example, as fishing hooks go up in size, it is more likely some airport personnel may consider them dangerous. At Angler Adventures, we avoid carrying on any flies tied on hooks bigger than 3/0. Also, some anglers have been unable to carry fly reels on flights because the fly lines were considered to be dangerous. If you’re concerned about these eventualities, you may want to pack fly reels and large flies in you’re checked luggage. However, by doing so, you run the risk of those checked items being delayed, arriving damaged, or not arriving at all.
We recommend that sharp metal objects (such as pliers, scissors, snips, pocket knives, screwdrivers, etc), be packed in your checked luggage. This will avoid delays and possible confiscation at security checkpoints.
You can also visit the TSA Website and use their “When I Fly, Can I Bring My…?” search function. Click here to visit the TSA Website.