You’ve been working long hours this year and are looking forward to your summer break. You’ve booked your flights booked to Florida to fish the keys. Or maybe you’re heading to Cabo in Mexico to try and land a sailfish.
You find yourself in bed the night before you fly and you wake up with a start.
Hang on a second, “Can you bring fishing hooks on a plane?”
When you go away on a long-awaited trip it’s understandable to want to bring your favorite fishing gear with you.
Everyone wants to land a photo worthy catch on their vacation!
And what better to guarantee a trophy fish than to use your own gear.
But in a post 9/11 world traveling through airport security is always a chance to be a little bit interesting, especially when you are carrying something sharp like a fishing hook.
So who better to have the final say on whether it is okay to bring fishing hooks on a plane than the guys who will be patting you down at the airport – the Transportation Security Administration (better known as the TSA)
What the TSA says about Bringing Fishing Hooks on an Aircraft
The TSA website goes into specifics on what items can and can’t be brought onto a plane. However, they don’t have a page dedicated to the legality of fishing hooks.
But they do have a page that talks about bringing fishing lures on a plane (which is close enough if you consider the TSA probably aren’t fishermen and don’t know the difference between a fishing hook and a lure!)
Sharp fishing tackle that may be considered dangerous, such as large fish hooks, should be sheathed, securely wrapped, and packed in your checked luggage.
If you are going offshore fishing or taking a charter for some deep sea fishing,and you plan on bringing your own hooks, then you will need to pack them in your checked luggage.
But most of us probably aren’t doing that, we’re after something a little more straightforward. What about your average day-to-day hooks like an Eagle Claw Size 8! Can you fly with those fishing hooks?
Well the TSA goes on to say that:
Like other high-value objects, you may wish to pack expensive reels or fragile tackle that does not pose a security threat (small flies) in your carry-on baggage.
So small flies (with small hooks) can be brought in your carry-on baggage without a problem.
Anecdotally, quite a few people online report having had no trouble when they tried to bring fishing hooks on a plane. It seems like you are allowed to do so most of the time without any trouble.
But there’s always a catch isn’t there?
The last part of the TSA website says:
The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.
This is the TSA’s get of jail free card. This basically says that it doesn’t matter what they say on their website, if the officer on duty doesn’t like the look of you then he can do what he likes.
And his decision is final!
Isn’t it great living in the land of the free.
The Last Cast
So after all that can you bring fishing hooks on plane?
The TSA doesn’t specifically say that you can, but their websites does say that small fishing lures can be brought on a plane in both carry on and checked luggage.
And plenty of people have said online that they have had no problem flying with fishing hooks.
But in the end it comes down to the decision of the officer at the airport security checkpoint.
My advice is, if you are taking checked baggage then put your hooks in your checked bag.
That way you won’t have any trouble at the airport.
However, if you are only taking carry-on luggage then be prepared to have your hooks confiscated if you catch a TSA officer on a bad day.
Really, your best bet is to find a local tackle shop when you arrive and stock up on your favorite hooks on location.
A fishing trip is supposed to be about lowering your stress levels remember. You don’t need the added worry of a run-in with airport security. Especially not over something as low value as fishing hooks!
Have you had any luck taking your fishing tackle on an airplane?
Let me know your success stories (or failures!) in the comments below.