Airline Long Range Tackle Box?


Jan 7, 2008
Boat Name
22 Aluminum Landingcraft
Ok I have just over two weeks to come up with a tackle box idea for my first ever 3 day long range trip. It is my son's 16th B-Day and we are flying from AK to San Diego. At the moment I am thinking about using a Milwaukee Packout for our deck tacklebox. I have this smaller packout and a Calcutta Large jig bag and a Mustad jig folding thing, and I think I can make all that work; or I can bring a larger Milwaukee 22" Rolling tool box. I might be able to also stuff my reels in there. But I am trying to be nimble enough. We will each bring a large duffel for clothes and bunk stuff. I am kind of limited by what ever I can stuff in the duffels and keep under 50lbs each, and I figure my Milwaukee Packouts are durable enough to check in as baggage.


I have an airline approved rod tube. Finally we are staying at a nearby hotel and will have to walk our stuff to the boat the day of departure, or cab.

So who has some good insight on deck tackle boxes? Should I mount a set of rod holders to it or is that overkill? We have 4 rods total, but might also bring 2 spinning rods for our lightest setup.

Upvote 0

swami 805

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Mar 9, 2016
Boat Name
sunk it
I had good luck with SKB boxes. No wheels though. I have a big one and small one, both cagey veterans of many trips
Upvote 0


  • Jan 12, 2022
    Boat Name
    I have flown to San Diego for numerous 3 day trips this year, and I bring a large wheeled cooler with a retractable handle as my “tackle box”.

    It works great for holding some smaller tackle trays and anything else sharp I need to check in. I put my huge heavy rip roller jigs with bite leaders in small Tupperware containers inside the cooler.

    I also bring a very large ziploc bag, and use the cooler to bring a bunch of chilled fish fillets back home in the big ziploc bag in the cooler home with me.

    by the way, unless you are staying in San Diego for a longer time, be sure to make a reservation with a fish processor for same day service before your trip if you can.

    The wheeled cooler is just as easy to drag around as a wheeled suitcase, and you could probably put a duffel bag on top when you need to walk your luggage up the docks.

    If you aren’t too heavy, you can even use the cooler as a substitute deck chair when trolling or lounging on the deck of the boat.

    For a wheeled cooler with a retractable handle you might want to consider something like this:

    here is a link to Target‘s giant ziploc bags, imprtant To prevent fish juice leakage on the way back home if you throw some fish fillets in the cooler:

    I also take a spinner as my lightest set up, a 30lb or so spinning set works great for casting out a nose hooked sardine when fly lining for dorado, kelp paddy yellowtail, or schoolie tuna. I caught two small bluefin, and two dorado on my recent three day on the Polaris Supreme with my 30lb spinning set up, straight mono, used an Owner ringed 2/0 live bait hook.

    I put my reels wrapped up with some clothes in my CARRY ON bag because i Don’t want to be without them if the checkin luggage gets lost or delayed. On most long range boats, if you bring your own reels and line you can probably borrow some conventional rods free or cheap If you rod tube doesn’t make it in time.

    if you are only bringing at most 6 rods total for two people, you should be able to have space for them in the boat rod racks without the need to bring your own rod holders. Most long range boats have assigned rod holder areas, and three rods should fit in the assigned area unless maybe they are really long or your reels are abnormally wide.


    Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
    Jan 29, 2009
    Boat Name
    ORCA 31'
    For starters I always take reels as my carry on💯. I switched to a large fish lab roller bag and stuffed it inside a giant grundens tote bag stuffed w clothes/towels around it for added protection. Airlines don’t give a crap about your stuff and it gets thrown around no matter what. With rods one of the problems we have had is TSA will do an inspection of any tube and sometimes they are not good at putting the rods back in properly and we have had damaged eyes. Be polite and remind them. Mark your tube with FRAGILE all over. A 6 inch heavy green pvc with with lock caps and homemade strap has has worked best for us. At fisherman‘s Landing there are storage lockers for boats and can leave it there or you can leave it on the boat itself which we have done on the Independence and a couple others. We back to back our rods and pack with towels and usually take 10-15 per trip. Rod holders aren’t needed as spots for a bag with holders isn’t always guaranteed. This system has worked well for us and we have been doing multiple LR trips a year traveling from Washington st. and Sitka. We only fly Alaska airlines. Tight lines/Good luck
    Upvote 0


    active geezer
  • Jul 29, 2010
    Long Beach, CA, USA
    Boat Name
    whichever has the longest bunk
    X2 what was just said about Alaska Airlines. They are the most experienced about dealing with fishing gear, and take the most care. There used to be hassles about having line on your reels in the carryon with other airlines, I never had an issue with Alaska. And take seriously what he said about loading the rod tube with the rods back to back and tightly secured together, so that the rod butts at both ends act as cushions and the rod tips and eyes don't get damaged.

    I also spent the time and money to get certified as a Known Traveler by TSA and it was absolutely worth it, made my last trip very easy. I did have one TSA agent take my travel short needlenose pliers out of its belt holder in the carryon after the xray machine and measure it, but then smiled because of course I made sure that it was OK before I packed it.
    • Like
    Reactions: Montaukmaniac
    Upvote 0


  • Jun 4, 2020
    Ellamar AK
    Art Strauss
    Boat Name
    Travel from AK on Alaska Air as well.
    Agree carry on all reels for safekeeping.
    Second large Fish Labs roller bag. Use zip ties to close all zippers with no problems thus far.
    Large Plano rod case packs 8 rods, and I wrap tee shirts around each rod for padding. Tape & zip tie all seams on case and have had no issues with this system.
    Large duffel contains remaining clothes, boots, jig bags, and smaller duffel for dirty clothes.
    Arrive with an extra day in SD in case of delay of any checked bags decreases the angst of watching your rods and tackle box disappear into into the void of baggage world…
    Total of 3 checked bags.
    Uber XL or car service to and from airport.
    There it is.
    Upvote 0

    Tykkyt E Blue

    Sunny and 75...( actually 71 miles back to dock )
    Aug 18, 2012
    Vancouver BC, Canada
    Boat Name
    23' Monaro HT w 250 OB
    Ditto on the wheeled cooler as a 'tackle box'
    Provides good impact protection and they can be much larger than typ tackle boxes without being over the airline size limit.
    Ive been questioned several times by check in counter staff but opening up the cooler to show nothing but fish gear inside ends the discussion of the purpose.
    One Delta knob insisted it was a 'cooler' therefore NOT fishing tackle box.
    I read him the words from Deltas baggage website.
    'hard or durable container' for rod and tackle.
    We agreed the supervisor wouldnt be needed after that
    Upvote 0


  • Dec 3, 2013
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Boat Name
    All great advice above.
    Please take a look at the boat’s website / gallery and review tackle storage — it varies widely.
    Then give the boat a mid-day call and chat about tackle & rod onboard storage…. And seek the boat’s recommendations & options.
    Have a great time !!!
    Upvote 0


    Almost A Member
    May 1, 2006
    charles boyd
    Boat Name
    20 ft. jetcraft,ciocc
    To make sure of the location of your checked luggage/ tackle box/ rod case you might want to look into Apple AirTags. About the size of a Quarter, you can tape them in a rod case etc. and know where it is at all times as long as you have cell phone reception and there is any apple device within range of the tag. They saved us from having to board a river cruise without our checked bags. Lifesaver! They are also extremely accurate, and even have a feature that leads you right to them if within range of your phone. Have a great trip!
    Upvote 0


    Thats my son, not me.
    Feb 8, 2011
    Westchester NY
    Boat Name
    miss ion/fish on, "Wish on"
    And take seriously what he said about loading the rod tube with the rods back to back and tightly secured together, so that the rod butts at both ends act as cushions and the rod tips and eyes don't get damaged.

    I also spent the time and money to get certified as a Known Traveler by TSA and it was absolutely worth it, made my last trip very easy.
    Upvote 0