How to Select Your Next Travel Fishing Rod Carrier

Hard rod tubes or soft-sided bags

If an upcoming fishing trip takes you far from your local waters, and you won’t be trailering your boat with you, chances are you’ll need a travel case for your fishing rods. If fishing with a captain, sometimes the guide service will provide the rods and reels. Inquire with the outfitter if that’s something you’re interested in.

Most anglers want to bring their own fishing tackle, feeling more comfortable with their own gear. The tricky part is getting your gear to your destination in one piece, without breaking any of the rods, rod guides or reels. Reels, line, hooks, pliers and other terminal gear can be packed in a suitcase; your rods likely require a specific rod carrier. The rod carrier might be different if you’re flying or driving, or packing spinning, conventional or fly tackle. Check out some of the designs available to anglers today, built with different features and materials, and priced at different levels.

Protect Against Rugged Air Travel

Flambeau Outdoor Bazuka Pro Rod Tube
Blow-molded construction makes these rod tubes virtually indestructible, able to handle whatever the airline puts them through.Flambeau Tackle

The beefy protection supplied by the hard-shelled Flambeau Bazuka Pro Rod Tube is perfect for taking your fishing rods on the airplane. The one-piece rod tube telescopes from a base of 63 inches all the way to 87 inches. The rod tube holds up to six 6-foot, 6-inch rods and meets all Transportation Security Administration (TSA) air travel requirements. Although the rod tube is lockable, TSA may cut the lock to take a look at what’s inside. The rod tube comes with a durable handle so you can carry the case with one hand. Add shirts and pants to the rod tube, that might otherwise go in your suitcase, to pack tight and protect the rods in transit. If there’s any extra room in the rod tube, don’t be afraid to add other fishing tackle like weights, hooks, or lures. Flambeau makes one larger rod tube that telescopes to (8.5 feet) 102 inches.

Bring All Your Light Tackle Fishing Setups

Etna Fishing Rod Case Organizer
This soft-sided rod storage holds five setups on the outside, plus more on the inside.Etna Products

If you want to pack all your gear in one bag, but don’t need a hard-shell covering, consider soft-sided storage. Soft-sided storage works great for travel in a car or truck. The Etna Fishing Rod Case Organizer storage bag allows anglers to store and carry up to 5 rods and reels in the sleeves on the outside of the bag. A 34-inch pocket on the outside has an adjustable clip lock. An interior compartment has room for extra reels, tackle and gear. When not in use, the bag folds flat like a duffel bag. Add a cardboard tube from your local home improvement store to make the inside bag rigid.

A Rod Carrier for Fly Fishermen

Allen Cottonwood Fishing Rod & Gear Bag
This soft-sided rod storage holds four 4-piece, 9-foot fly rods, but is not a good option for traditional 2-piece rods.Allen Company

Fly fishermen who have delicate fishing rods that break down into 3 or 4 pieces can utilize less bulky rod storage in hard or soft sided versions. The Allen Cottonwood Fishing Rod and Gear Bag is soft sided, but handles up to four 4-piece 9-foot, 6-inch rods. Eight adjustable dividers inside allow the angler to pack rods one trip, or maybe reels, line, tackle trays and other gear on another trip. Interior see-through zippered pockets are great spot to pack tippets or pliers. The main compartment inner dimensions measure 30.5 inches by 8.75 inches by 3.75 inches.