Whatever the reason for transporting your fishing gear, the packing must be done carefully. This is rarely the fun part, but it should be done with precision in order to keep your precious equipment safe. There is nothing worse than arriving on a much-anticipated fishing trip to find that your equipment is damaged!

There are various ways to transport your fishing gear, from driving, to flying, or shipping with a courier. Whatever the mode, you’re the one responsible for the packing, so it pays to get this right from the offset. Our guide to fishing gear transportation will ensure that you pack up your equipment to the best of your ability, mitigating risks so that your trip goes without hitches.

Here’s what you need to know in order to protect your fishing gear on the move:

Packing up your rods and reels

The fact is that fishing rods are incredibly long, so they’re never going to be the easiest thing to travel with. They also have a lot of parts that are easy to break, and expensive to replace. Packing them carefully is essential, so the question is… which method works best?

The method you choose is dependent on how much time and money you want to spend. If you don’t have much time, you are probably better off investing in a case that has been specifically designed for rod transportation.

Buy a fishing rod case

Check out Amazon.com, as they offer a range of fishing rod cases designed exactly for this job. It doesn’t make sense to buy the cheapest on the market, given that you’ve probably invested a lot in your rods beforehand. A good case will prevent scratches, dents and breaks, as it will be padded inside. You’re probably looking at a spend of between $20 and $200 per case, according to quality.

If you opt for a cheap one, you’ll probably find that it’s made of fabric and fairly soft. If you’re transporting your rods by car, these should be sufficient, as you’ll have control over what happens to them.

However, if you’re entrusting your gear to and airline or courier, it makes more sense to invest in one of the hard shell cases that can withstand any knocks or drops. Most of these are approved by the airlines, so you shouldn’t have issues checking them in.

Hard shell cases are easy to pack, very safe, and can be found to fit just about any rod. They even make cases that allow anglers to leave the reel attached to the case.

Make your own fishing rod cases

If money is tight or you like a DIY challenge, you can make your own rod cases without too much effort, and with minimal expense. All you’ll need is a length of heavy-duty cardboard tubing (or a PVC pipe), some bubble wrap, packing paper and tape. You will also need a hacksaw to cut the tubing or pipe to the correct size.

Make sure that you have some end caps for the tube or pipe, as you won’t want the rods to slip out. Most fishing or tackle shops will have some kind of tubes left over from deliveries, and will probably be happy to let you take it. Alternatively, you can check with carpet shops, which may be able to offer you some inner carpet tubes. With these, you may be able to fit more than one rod inside.

Packing the rods in your DIY tubes

Be sure to wrap each individual rod carefully in bubble wrap and tape it up. If you’re putting more than one rod in a tube, make sure the rods are of equal length and place one facing up, while the other faces down. This will help them to fit more closely together in the tube. Once all rods are wrapped, secure them together using packing tape.

Give the tube a shake to make sure your rods aren’t moving around inside. You can put something soft in at both ends if there is extra space, and when that’s done, secure the end caps with packing tape too. If you’re using an airline or courier, remember to write your details on each tube, as well as details of the contents.

Hooks, lures and flies

As for your hooks, lures and flies, these are sharp items and won’t make it through airport security. You should check the restricted items list for the country you’re landing in to make sure these items are allowed. It is always a good idea to wrap each item individually if trusting the items to an airline or courier. If you’re traveling in your car, this isn’t really an issue.

Transporting your rods by car

If done carefully, you may not even need to pack your rods into tubes to travel by car. However, to prevent any mishaps, it is sensible to make the effort. Either way, the tips will need some kind of protection from knocks when the car goes over bumps in the road. You can even buy fishing rod holdalls for made-up rods if you’re planning to transport them yourself.

If you’re not planning to use tubes or cases, these are the minimal precautions you should take: before loading the car, you can bunch your rods together, all facing the same way up (tips upwards, butts downwards). Use loop straps or bungee cords to secure them together, then place a sock over the tips.

Dependent on the size of your car, you can place the rod bundle in the footwell of the passenger seat, with the butts on the floor and the tips passing through the seats in a diagonal direction toward the trunk. You can use another bungee cord to secure them in position. You may need to drop your back seat if the car is on the smaller side.

You can also find external rod holders for cars on Amazon that are perfect for stopping at various locations along the road.

Transporting your rods by flight

It’s also possible to fly with your fishing gear. Some serious fishermen might want to travel with trolling rods. Whether that’s the case or not, you’ll probably at least be taking a four piece travel rod with you.

The good news is that travel rods can even be carried on as hand luggage. Again, taping them together in a bundle is a good move to prevent scratches and nicks en route. Trolling rods will need to be checked in as sports equipment, so will need to be put in proper cases or well constructed DIY cases.

The bottom line is that with a little pre-planning, you should be able to transport your fishing gear to anywhere in the world without incident. Happy fishing!