Can Fishing Lures be Taken on a Flight as a Carry-On?

Today, American airplane security is something that everyone talks about. It can be very strict on some things that seem silly to us, but it can also seem to be careless about things that seem a little more serious. As a fisherman, a big question of mine is related to the tiny bits of metal used in my sport. The hooks on lures could be used as a weapon or they could be dangerous if they’re not properly stored. Won’t airport security have an issue with these?

Are fishing lures allowed onto planes inside a carry-on bag? While fishing lures seem dangerous and may be flagged, they are allowed in a carry-on as long as they are wrapped well and securely stored. So long as they aren’t very big and they’re well-wrapped, secured, and stored away in your carry-on during flight, fishing lures are ok.

Here are some tips and other little tricks that can help you get your gear to your destination with you and ways to keep your expenses to a minimum.

Traveling And Fishing

When you are fishing in a new place, it’s nice to be able to use your own gear. New locations are fun, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, they can be unproductive and disappointing. If you know how to use a certain gear setup, try to bring it.

Rods are large and are hard to pack, but it is very possible to bring a rod, even a one-piece rod. Lures can get stuck in everything, so they also need special packaging.

Packing the Gear Up for Takeoff

Something that works really well for those that are traveling and fishing is carriers. The best kind is a multi-piece carrier so it can handle everything from your lures to your rods. The best part is you can use them as a carry-on if they are short enough and it works great. Not having to pay for an extra baggage fee is always good news.

Depending on the airport, they will probably give you trouble if you take it all on as a carry-on, to be honest. It is by far the easiest way to go if they don’t give you any trouble.

My guess is that 50% of the time you will have to argue with security about why you don’t want to let their bag-throwing guys haul it as a checked in bag. Most of them probably don’t understand, so don’t give them too hard of a time.

If you have to, I might suggest to email them to give them a heads up. Legally you will win every time, so if it means that much to you, do your thing.

So if you are going on a full fishing trip and don’t need any clothes, you can honestly get by with bringing all of your own equipment and not have to check one bag in. I might suggest to just go on a trip where you can rent the equipment. It will make your trip more enjoyable most likely.


Rods are, and especially one piece rods, are large and awkwardly long. There really isn’t an easy way to pack these up, but there are ways to make it manageable. If you invest in a rod case for around $20, this can make traveling much easier.

If you position it correctly, you can get two or three rods in one case. While there is a danger of scratching the rods, just make sure to wrap some of the larger parts, like the handles and lower backbone, in paper towels, or another thin material.

There are such things as travel rods, ones that can break down into four small pieces and be stowed away in a carry-on. More than one of these rods can be placed in a rod case and have no danger of breaking.

If you invest in a rod case for around $20, this can make traveling much easier.

But these can only handle the smallest of lures. If you’re going for some bigger fish, the travel rods just won’t be enough. You’ll want to bring a big rod or two onto the plane with you.

And while the rods probably won’t be on the same plane as you within reaching distance, they will get to the same destination as you if you check them in as sports equipment.

Most Airline Companies consider larger rods as sports equipment and will let them pass without additional charges or costs. But even with this good rule of thumb, make sure that you double check with the companies. All airline companies put their luggage restrictions and rules on their websites.


The reels can easily be placed in a bag at the bottom. Reels are sturdier than you think, and can easily survive on the bottom of a backpack or carry-on.

If you aren’t conformable with this, you might want to put them in between your clothing inside a check-in bag. This is a better option if you are concerned about not breaking anything.

Some reels are expensive and usually, the risk of breaking the reel is too much stress for some people. Myself included. When I’m met with this type of situation, I put more money into the storage of my reels. Even if it’s just spending a little money on a box and sacrificing more space for the reel, I find that it’s worth saving a $150 reel from breaking in a suitcase or carry-on.


The small hooks of lures can be dangerous and can get stuck anywhere if not properly stored. The best way is to use a full-sized tackle box to sort and separate all of the different types of lures from the others.

It would be ideal to separate the leads by their weight, and the hooks by sized and styles, but there has to be compromise within the American airport security system.

Use a full-sized tackle box to sort and separate all of the different types of lures from the others.

Try using a smaller tackle box, or tackle container, and mix and match the lures inside the box. Don’t take as much as you want to. Instead, calculate what the bare minimum would be and take that, both for lures, leads, and floats.

Not every lure will be used on your trip, so bring five or six different types of lures that you know will work, either based on experience or research and then bring backup lures. This can keep the lure count down while keeping the effectiveness the same or better.

A Cost-Efficient Method

It is always ideal to catch fish on your own equipment, but sometimes it is not the most cost-efficient way. There are a few ways that are cheaper than spending more money on making sure that your own expensive lures aren’t broken.

Hiring Guides with Equipment

In most places with good fishing, and really any place that you should go to with the intent of catching fish, that place should have a guide service or two.

Most guides provide their own equipment for their customers and for renters. Their equipment is usually very good for the area that the guides will take you.

While this isn’t ideal, you will get good equipment and be directed to food spots. When you hire a guide, it can be sort of expensive, but after you calculate in the cost of bringing the equipment, the cost is actually a little cheaper. You can also bring a bit more stuff.

Related Questions:

How would I pack a one-piece rod for a plane ride? One piece rods can be placed in rod cases, but the one-piece rod cases can get to be around $100, as well as the additional cost to check it in as luggage. The cost of bringing a one-piece rod is not worth bringing it. A two-piece rod is easier to bring and just as good to use.

Can I take my pliers or hook sharpener in my carry-on? No. Leave all tools in your check-in bags because they look dangerous. The airline security at the airport will call you out, and it will just be too much work. If they’re in your check-in bag, then it will be easier on you.

Tim Butala

My name is Tim and I have been a fisherman my whole life. My favorite fish to go after is a Striped Bass.

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