Quick Tip: Never Check a Single Rod Tube on an Airplane

This little guy was lost twice on one trip…

A few weeks ago I was on assignment photographing some anglers and different locations in Argentina. One of the locations was way down south fishing for sea-run brown trout in Tierra Del Fuego.  Naturally I thought I must bring my brand new Sage ONE switch rod—just in case I had a little time to fish in between shooting.  The problem is that many switch and spey rod tubes will not fit inside luggage due to the length.  Against my better judgement I checked a single rod tube as a piece of luggage. Long-story-short, I didn’t see my rod for five days in Argentina after arriving and two days after I returned home stateside.

After a bit of consternation and annoyance with the airline I finally asked about doing this again in the future. The employee who I talked to said checking a single tube overseas is an especially bad idea as customs on either side usually flags things like this for the unusual shape, or they are easily lost in the shuffle due to their diminutive size. A BIG rod tube with lots of rods no problem. Single rod tube, you’re asking for trouble.  Apparently even on domestic flights this is not a good idea either, as they are easily hidden under other pieces of luggage and tend to roll under things, sometimes never to be seen again.

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  • Peter Wilner

    This is why I use 4 piece travel rods-they fit in the overhead.

  • Scott

    Good advice! I learnt this the hard way travelling to Hawaii. Mine rolled off a carousel and was found several days later. It’s important to ensure short tubes can’t roll. Simply fix a handle, buy a square case, or better still, pack inside a bag.

  • Edmund Hudon

    Fishpond has a travel bag that carries 3 or 4 four piece rods very nicely, with room for fly reels. I’ve had a couple of reels damaged in luggage check

  • Steve Z

    Sage advice (pardon the pun, it was just too easy). All rods go in a single carry on – the Orvis travel tube I have will hold a 4 pc 11 ft switch plus two 9 ft rods.

  • Greg

    If you headed on a fishing trip, and you really really need certain gear. You are better off shipping it to the location. Fedex and UPS are lot better at keeping up with a piece of luggage than your airlines. Delta will not give you a tracking number. I feel like lots of people don’t think of this option.