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Thread: Carry on fly rod/reel case

  1. Default Carry on fly rod/reel case

    Plan to buy the Joan Wulff Favorite (Winston), 6'6" three piece rod. Would like to know what size case to fit this rod and that is a legal carry on. Any favorite brands? Thanks for the feedback. Victoria.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Carry on fly rod/reel case


    It's hard to say what definitely will and won't be allowed on any specific flight.

    From the TSA site:
    “Fishing Rods / Poles - Fishing Rods are permitted as carry-on and checked baggage. However, please check with your air carrier to confirm that it fits within their size limitations for carry-on items. Ultimately, it is the carrier's decision as to whether or not it can be transported as carry-on baggage.”

    Generally though in my experience, cases for 4 piece 9’ rods will make the cut for overhead luggage, whereas 3 piece 9’ rods may not, and there’s a good chance they will have to be checked. (3 piece rods weren't a problem until after 9/11 when the airlines got more strict.)

    As far as transporting your rod, most should come in a rod tube when you buy it, so you could use that if it’s metal or a tough material like PVC.

    Generally for air travel, you’re much better off with a tube or rod case, as opposed to those reel/rod carriers that leave the reel on the rod. There is a much more of a likelihood that the reel portion could catch on something and break the rod. So carry your reel in a separate case or neoprene pouch, in a carry on bag.
    To transport the rod in it’s own tube, you could get something like these straps:
    Cabela's -- Rod-Case Carrying Straps

    More elegant and expensive solutions would be single or multi rod carrying cases or rod tube bags (the bags are designed to allow you to slip in your rod tube). If you got one that was designed for 4 piece 9’ rods that is about 32” long or so, that would be a good size for a 3 piece 6’6” (just put some socks at top and bottom of tube to take up any extra space. You should be able to sneak it on as overhead. These can run anywhere from 39 bucks or so to 160 depending how many rods you want to carry in them and how fancy you want to get.

    My favorite fishing stuff was made by Abel, but is no longer made because of the costs associated with US production. Fishpond makes some decent and similar looking (from a well thought out design standpoint) and the prices are similar to the comparable old Abel luggage prices. They have a range of products including bags to carry rods in their original tubes, gear bags for carrying reels, fly boxes etc (good if you’re fishing out of a boat, and they are generally overhead-able)) and wader bags that have waterproof compartments for carrying wet stinky waders and boots and other gear/clothes you want to keep dry separately (wader bags are generally large so you'd have to check them). You can have a look here:
    Fishpond USA - Bags and Luggage

    Cabelas also has stuff that looks similar for much lower prices, but I don’t know about the quality. Perhaps others will chime in.

    And, at the risk of being presumptuous, I saw from your first post that you’re new to fly fishing. That being the case, you might find that a 3 weight is going to be a little limiting if it’s your first and only fly rod--- it would be a great weight for panfish and small stream trout with short casts and small flies if that was all you were going to do with it. For an all around freshwater trout rod though, most folks would probably recommend a 9’ 5 weight to allow longer casts if needed, and a wider range of fly sizes. Typically freshwater bass fly rods would be 9' 6 weights to 8 weights, and saltwater fly rods for redfish, specs etc would be 9' 7-8-9 weights. The line weight choice is determined by the fly size you'd be throwing and conditions (like wind and length of casts typically required) more than the size of fish.

    Hope this helps a bit.


  3. Default Re: Carry on fly rod/reel case

    Mark, thank you for such detailed information. I may ask redundant questions at first as I learn my way around the forums. The info is just what I was looking for and I will act on it. Have a great day. Victoria.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Carry on fly rod/reel case

    Hi Victoria,

    I think I missed your first post so here is my belated welcome.

    I have done a lot of air travel fishing in Alaska and have tried a bunch of ways to carry fly rods. If you are going to fish a remote site that involves small planes or river boats then the reel attached carrier is tops. I like the design of the Orvis Rod/Reel carrier because you only have to unzip one side to get access. Some of the Rod/Reel carriers require to unzip all away around and across. The interior foam keeps the reel from moving around and putting any undo strain on the rod. They are not my favorite for big plane flying because it only carries the rod and reel. No place for fly boxes and tools. Here is why I like this style in a boat or small plane. You can rig up the night before and break down the rod and put it in the carrier. When your jet boat or plane lands at a fishing spot you are ready to go in no time. The other people will be wasting a lot of time rigging up. First one on the river gets his choice of spots.

    For big plane flying and transportation to a lodge I think the Fishpond Dakota style is the best way to go. You can put rods and reels, fly boxes, tools, camera and a couple of pairs of shorts along with some medication and sunblock. You can carry it on the plane and every where you go. When you get to a distant destination you can go fishing even if your checked bags get lost. Lost baggage is not an unusual occasion these days. With one of these cases and a bag like the Fishpond Yellowstone wader/duffel bag you would be set for a week long trip to Alaska. One problem with this setup is you don't have a Rod/Reel case for fishing. I would carry an empty rod/reel case with the checked baggage.


    Orvis Safe Passage Rod/Reel Carrier

    Fishpond Dakota Case

    Orvis Safe Passage

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Carry on fly rod/reel case

    No problem Victoria, ask away. I think you'll find folks here are very friendly and helpful-- we all went through the learning pains, and a lot of the lingo, different gear, and especially all the choices for different stuff can be really confusing, so don't hesitate to ask questions.

    The great news is that you're absolutely going about all this in the right way. The Wulff school will give you a great intro and basic skills set to get started. The other good news is that there is a wide range of great rods and reels at different price points, from 100-150 no-frills "starter" outfits (rod reel and fly line), to 250-300 for a decent complete set up (rod, reel, fly line often mixing and matching brands) to the fancy-smanchy stuff with rods and reels at 700 a pop (each). The main point though is that you don't have to spend a ton of money-- despite the image often associated with fly fishing-- to get out there and get into the sport. One of the common pieces of advice people get is to "try before you buy"--- test casting a bunch of different rods to see which one performs best in your hands. Great advice--- but for someone new to the sport it doesn't really help much if you don't have any experience casting to begin with. So my advice would be to wait until you've gone to the school (I'm assuming they have gear available for use during the school) and have learned the basics, then shop around for a rod-- At that point test casting different rods will be more meaningful and you'll notice that some rods will fit your casting style better than others.

    And it sounds like you'll have plenty of stuff to chase and keep you busy in northern LA. You mentioned in your other post that you'll mostly be chasing largemouth bass and perhaps fish in the Gulf down the road. So you might want to consider a four piece, 9 foot rod rated for 7 or 8 weight line with "salt water proof " corrosion resistant guides and reel seat (most 7 and 8 weights are, but some have fancy wood inserts in the handles that might swell in salt water so it's always good to make sure) and a salt water proof reel (anodized, with a disc disc drag, and capable of holding 150-200 yards of 20lb backing plus fly line) matched to a good quality floating weight forward taper fly line (from Rio or Scientific Anglers, or Wullf Triangle Taper).

    That way you'll have an outfit that can throw the large wind resistant flies for freshwater bass like poppers and deer hair bass bugs, and have enough ooomph for casting spoon flies, Clouser minnows, streamers and other stuff in wind for red fish and specs in the Gulf with the same outfit. The reel may be a little overkill for freshwater bass (you won't need that much backing for them, and a simple, less expensive "click and pawl" drag would probably be fine), but it will be great for light saltwater fishing in the Gulf, and for any travel you might do down the road for fish like bonefish in the Keys (or steelhead if you ever venture up north).

    A four piece 9' rod will meet overhead requirements of most airlines, but more importantly, will give you a much better ability to keep line off the water for longer casts and the ability to generate higher line speeds than a 6' 6" rod- Most rods that short are 1-4 weights designed for small streams with lots of overhead brush/trees, short casts 20-30 feet or less, and small flies size 16 and smaller.

    It's difficult/impossible to find one rod to "do it all", and you may want to add different outfits (built around different line weights) for different types of fishing down the road. Since you live in Northern Louisiana, you may decide to chase trout in Ark. or out west. Adding a 9' 5 weight down the road to your arsenal would be great for them, as well as panfish. Starting with a 7 or 8 weight (i'd probably go with an 8 for bass and saltwater if you'll likely be doing both) and adding a 5 weight at some point down the road will cover you for most freshwater and light saltwater fishing in the US and beyond.

    And, I always recommend folks look for a fly fishing club in their area-- it's a great way to get a lot of great advice, participate in group trips, casting clinics, meet new friends and possibly get a mentor to take you under his/her wing. It'll take years off the learning curve. Many clubs are affiliated with the Federation of Fly Fishers, and you can do a search for clubs near you here:
    Locate a Club

    The FFF site also has links to find certified fly casting instructors (under the "casting certification" tab) if you need/want a tuneup at some point after your school.

    There is a FFF affiliated club in Shreveport, but their website hasn't been updated in awhile, so you might want to send an email to see if they're still going strong. Good luck on your adventure, you'll have a blast!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Carry on fly rod/reel case

    Hi again Victoria,

    I forgot the picture of the Fishpond Yellowstone bag.


    Fishpond Yellowstone Wader/Duffel Bag -Khak

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Missouri City (near Houston), Texas

    Default Re: Carry on fly rod/reel case

    As my moniker indicates, I have to fly for most of my trout fly-fishing, and have spent a great deal of time looking for equipment that I can carry on. As others have wisely said, carry on your fly-fishing essentials, because if they end up as lost luggage, you may have a wasted trip or have to buy new equipment.

    I agree with Peregrines as to combined rod-reel carriers, and have not had a problem carrying on my double rod/reel combos.

    While I don't have experience with the Fishpond Yellowstone bag that Frank mentioned, I have used a similar bag from Cabela's with a wet compartment for waders & boots and with a fold-out mat for changing. The problem I've had with it is that it's uncomfortable to have to carry through airports. For that reason I've looked hard for the equivalent with rollers, and the only bag I found that fit the bill was the Fishpond Saddlehorn. It has virtually the same dimensions and capacity as the Fishpond Yellowstone and similarly has a wet compartment sized appropriately for waders and boots (unlike a ridiculous Orvis bag I looked at whose wet compartment might have held a pair of socks). It does miss the changing mat that the Yellowstone comes with, but that's easily rectified with a rolled-up piece of thin indoor-outdoor carpet. And - importantly - it has rugged wheels with a good extendable handle, which the Yellowstone lacks. However, like the similarly-sized Yellowstone at 26" long, the Saddlehorn is marginal for carry-on if it's an airline which gives carry-on a lot of scrutiny. The general rule when I last checked was a linear (L+W+H) measurement of 50", plus or minus 5" depending upon the airline.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    On the whole, I'd rather be in Wyoming . . .

  8. #8

    Default Re: Carry on fly rod/reel case

    I have the Fishpond Dakota bag and I would highly recommend it. I not only have it for use when I fly, but it fits neatly in the back of my vehicle and carries all I need in the way of rods, reels, fly boxes, etc... It is a great bag. I also looked at the Orvis version and it was very close. The main reason I went with the Fishpond was the difference in colors available as opposed to the Orvis.

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