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Can You Bring Fishing Gear on a Plane ?

Rules for Checking Fishing Gear – Can You Bring Fishing Gear on a Plane?

When going on a fishing trip in another state or country, you may find it more convenient to fly rather than drive. However, flying brings a few additional details to consider, including whether you can bring your fishing gear on the plane.

Fishing Gear on a Plane

Airlines have different rules and policies regarding what you can or cannot bring on a plane. Before your next fishing trip, make sure that you can check your gear.

You will need to carefully read the fine print of the baggage information before you book your flights.​

Fishing Gear Is Often Considered Excess Baggage

Most airlines allow you to bring one carry-on item on the plane and check everything else. In most cases, your fishing equipment will need to be checked as baggage.

Some airlines do allow certain fishing gear on the plane as carry-on. For example a travel fishing rod is usually contained in a small rod case that can easily fit in the overhead luggage compartment.

However, your equipment still needs to comply with the standard carry-on size and weight limits. The typical carry-on size limit is 22 x 14 x 9 inches, which may not be big enough for a tackle box or a fishing pole.

If you need to check your equipment, you may pay additional fees. The number of bags or items that you can check depends on the airline. However, you typically get to transport one or two bags in the cargo section of the plane, before getting charged additional fees for excess baggage.

Unless you are traveling with no other baggage to check, your fishing equipment will likely be considered excess baggage. The fees for this excess baggage vary, with some airlines charging $100 for each bag that needs to be checked.

Size and Weight Limits for Your Fishing Gear

Airlines often have additional rules and packing instructions for specialty and sports equipment, including fishing gear. For example, many airlines have a size and weight limit for your fishing equipment.

The size and weight limits depend on the policies of the airline. One airline may allow fishing rod cases measuring up to 126 inches, while others only allow cases up to 115 inches. The most common weight limit is 50 pounds, which applies to the rod case, tackle box, and any other bags that you bring.

Exceeding these limits results in additional fees for overweight or oversized baggage, along with the excess baggage fees.

What Items Are Considered Fishing Equipment?

Besides excess baggage fees and size and weight limits, some airlines clearly outline what type of equipment they consider fishing gear.

For example, American Airlines and Delta count a fishing rod and reel as one item, if they are safely contained in a fishing rod case. Most airlines also consider a tackle box to be one item.

However, some airlines also allow two of these items to count as one piece of excess baggage, lowering the cost of flying with your fishing gear.

How to Determine the Cost of Bringing Your Gear

As the policies for checking or carrying fishing gear varies with each airline, the best way to determine the cost is to contact the airline before purchasing a ticket.

When inquiring about the fees, you should let the airline customer service representative know how many regular bags you plan to check, along with the number of fishing rod cases, tackles boxes, and other equipment.