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Fly Fishing Luggage and Modern Air Travel

fly fishing luggage

Remember the days when travel was actually fun? Not the destination but the whole process?

You could pack 200 pounds of clothing into fly fishing luggage you would never use. I think of those Pan Am Clippers flying to exotic places. What a cool time. Those cool times are long gone. The only thing cool about travel today is your toes. They get a breather. They get to cool off. The last security checkpoint I went through I followed a guy who’s feet should be labeled a deadly weapon. Those dogs should never see the light of day in public.

I’m telling you something you already know. Travel is a pain. Cancelled flights. Overbooked airlines. Standby. Sometimes I feel like B. A. Baracus and need someone to drug me before I get on a plane.

fly fishing airplane

One thing you can count on with the TSA or other countries security, they aren’t consistent. Sure, you can look up the allowed items for a carry on bag. Just be ready for something getting confiscated or deemed only worthy of checked luggage.

If you have been following my newsletter, you know I hate to check bags. I take everything I need in my carry-on bag. Only one piece of fly fishing luggage. On a recent trip to Mexico, I did just that, put everything in my Patagonia Black Hole Duffel. The only other carry-on I had was a Sage four-piece rod holder. I read the TSA approved travel items. I was golden. I made it through security with no more hassle than is considered normal these days.

Our Picks for Fly Fishing Luggage

fly fishing luggage

Patagonia Black Hole Bag 60L

patagonia stormfront sling luggage

Patagonia Stormfront Sling Pack


Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack

teton rolling carry-on

Fishpond Teton Rolling Carry-on

My return trip I packed the exact same way. Going through security in Mexico happened to be a different story. I think I could have made it home faster by hiring a coyote to smuggle me across the border.

Did you know that not only are certain fly patterns deadly to bonefish, they are also considered deadly to Mexican airport security? Me neither. But they are, at least on this day. Tomorrow, who knows?

The Mexican security didn’t realize how prepared I was for this type of trouble. In my Black Hole bag, I had another bag. My Patagonia Stormfront Sling fishing pack. Inside of it were my flies and nothing else. This proved to be really handy because my bonefish/permit flies could not be put in an overhead compartment. They were just too deadly. The fishing pack was then taken back to the airline counter and checked for $25 bucks. I was able to keep all my other gear with me in my carry on.

On your next fishing trip requiring air travel, try this trick of packing a bag inside a bag. You will only be missing whatever they deem unsafe at that moment. You can use the other bag in your carry on for your killer flies.

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