Your Fishing Lures’ Passport to Airlines

As an avid adventurer, you are now fully prepared with the next challenge, fishing in the open seas or the quiet murky lakes of America. Equipped with all the amazing fishing gear you can find, you look at your sharp lure with admiration, but you just can’t help this foreboding feeling of uneasiness as you finally ask the question, “Will I be able to carry these up in the air?”

There is nothing worse than leaving your most treasured belongings in the airport. Let alone your consumables and favorite snacks, what if they are your most valuable and expensive lures. It is heart wrenching especially if you are heading specifically for a fishing trip.

To bring or not to bring?

The American airplane security can be shady at times in its regulations on what is admissible and what is not. There are instances where the rules are too strict in belongings that are seemingly harmless such as your homegrown coconuts, and at times too lax with belongings that need immediate attention. In regards to your fishing lures, there are a lot of queries on what is allowed and what is not when traveling by air. However, despite its sharp and dangerous claws, it is surprising that some fishing lures like small flies are even allowed in your carry-on bag during the flight. It is unavoidable that a lot of questions pop out like what should we follow? Or Is there any alternative?

TSA Guidelines on Fishing Lures

According to the guidelines of the Transportation Security Administrations (TSA),

The last statement is a little bit tricky as there is still a risk of a TSA officer confiscating your fishing lures. Even if they do allow your “small flies” in your carry-on baggage, the general consensus we have to follow is that as long as the fishing lure is “harmful” or is “dangerous”, then the safest route to take is to pack it safe and tight in your check-in baggage. Your fishing lure without the hook is perfectly safe, but it is a different story altogether when we include the hook, which can be pretty dangerous with the wrong intention in mind. Nevertheless, while looking at the issue of the permissibility of different fishing lures in Airports, we might as well talk about the most popular and most used fishing tackles and provide our verdict for each of them.

The Importance of Bringing your Fishing Lures

If any fishing gear holds special attention and recognition, I have to say it’s the fishing lure. Fishing lures are generally your main tool in catching your fish alongside the fishing rod and the hook attached to it. Hence, it is not surprising that a lot of anglers prioritize having their fishing tackles. Your fishing lure is what enables the “connection” and “communication” of a fisherman and a fish to take place; thus, it needs special care and recognition. Fishing lures come in a variety of colors, sizes, and types. From jitterbugs, spinners, spoons, plastic baits like brightly colored worms, jigs, flies, each have its own purpose. From the most affordable lure to the most luxurious one, an avid angler has to know not just the difference and purpose of each lure but also its permissibility in Airports and different locations.

Different Types of Lures


Jitterbugs were invented in the early 1930s. It is still considered as one of the most used topwater lures that survived for more than seven decades. It even survived World War II. Jokes aside, a jitterbug resembles a live bait in both physical appearance and movements. A Jitterbug imitates realistic movements of live bait with a double-cupped lip attached to it. It moves from side to side as the angler slowly retrieves the lure. To some bass fishermen, jitterbugs with its upgraded versions- jointed jitterbug, xl jitterbug, weedless jitterbug- are still the best out of the different types of topwater fishing baits. Over the years, the design and objective of a jitterbug lure remain the same.

  • Verdict: Allowed for travel
  • Packing: Check-in luggage
  • Not allowed for carry-on baggage


Spinnerbait is anything but natural. It is a bent wire that is attached to a jig head and a hook on the other. Different blade combinations like Indiana blade, Colorado blade, and Willow blade are attached to it to create varying vibrations and flash.  The different types of blades may look intimidating and complicated but the spinners as bait is a real predator when it comes to catching your fish as it makes use of sudden movement and a ton of vibrations that prompt the attention of your fish. It is especially effective as it triggers an almost inevitable reaction from your prey; the spinning movement of the blades produce sounds and vibrations that can be picked up by fish through their lateral line. A spinnerbait is an excellent tool especially for anglers who are relatively new to fishing. It requires basic movements such as casting and retrieving to successfully catch a fish.

  • Verdict: Allowed for travel
  • Packing: Check-in luggage
  • Not allowed for carry-on baggage


Of all different types of lures, Jigs is probably the most versatile and the most used lure among all types of baits, primarily because it is budget-friendly and extremely effective when it comes to fishing as it is highly enticing for any type of fish to take a bite. In a convincing fashion, a jig can catch almost any type of fish there is. In contrast to spinners, which simply requires action, a jig, however, requires a lot of patience and practice as it depends on your concentration and fishing expertise altogether. A jig lure is therefore considered as a difficult lure to master as it needs a lot of time and multitudes of techniques. A jig has a lead head and comes with a variety of size and color. Almost all jig users complement the lure with what we call “jig trailers”. A jig trailer is made out of plastic bait that is attached on the hook to complete the overall appearance and profile of a bait.

  • Verdict: Allowed for travel
  • Packing: Check-in luggage
  • Not allowed for carry-on baggage


Spoon lures just like Jigs are highly effective in all types of fishing situations. It is made out of basically curved metal lures that shift side to side when moving. The side-to-side movement of the lure resembles an injured baitfish. And a hungry fish loves to strike, more so if it resembles an injured prey. Spoons just like any other fishing baits come in varieties of sizes and colors.

  • Verdict: Allowed for travel
  • Packing: Check-in luggage
  • Not allowed for carry-on baggage


Another type of lure that is popular as it has a lot to offer, is the Plug. From poppers, jerkbaits, crankbaits, diving plugs, and surface plugs, these are all considered as plugs. Plugs are firm bodied lures that are made out of either wood or plastic. As other baits do, they tend to resemble frogs, baitfish or other prey. You will normally find two treble hooks attached to a plug; some would go for three treble hooks. Plugs are more diverse when it comes to presentation. You can either make the lure float, sink, or even in both ways. It all boils down to the design of the lure.

  • Verdict: Allowed for travel
  • Packing: Check-in luggage
  • Not allowed for carry-on baggage


Flies are considered to be one of the most exciting types of bait in the fishing world. This type of lures is very light, and primarily imitates insects in different stages of their life cycle. In recent years, however, it has evolved into more dynamic and varied imitations such as hoppers, frogs, dragonflies, and frogs. Flies are commonly used with fly fishing equipment and are divided into two types: dry flies which are utilized above the surface of the water and wet flies which are intended to be fished below the water. Flies are traditionally constructed from feathers and fur. Flies that are small in size are allowed as carry-on baggage, but it is still better to practice caution and tightly pack it in together with your other equipment for check-in luggage.

  • Verdict: Allowed for travel
  • Packing: Check-in luggage/ Carry-on baggage
  • Allowed for carry-on baggage

Planning Before the Flight

Prevention. time and time again is better than finding a cure. Having all your equipment up and ready is definitely what you should aim for before engaging in a heated scramble in the open sea.

Things you should do before your fishing trip:

  • Refer to the guidelines set by the TSA though online. This can be done through email or a simple call. Make sure that you are calling or emailing a certified TSA agent. Giving them a heads up is indispensable as it is the first step to careful planning. What is good with email is that you can take a screenshot of the written response. You don’t have to worry about giving a call as it normally records the conversation that will take place. But if you are being too particular, you might as well record the dialogue. The recordings and screenshots will serve as concrete evidence to prove that you were allowed to bring your lures to the airport or better yet as carry-on baggage
  • Call your airline and ask queries about your fishing lures and gears. Every airline has its policies. knowing which one is which can sometimes save a life or two. Nonetheless, they will still have to adhere to the guidelines of TSA.
  • Converse with the fishing community and ask for suggestions and advice. You may be surprised at how helpful and relevant information from your fellow anglers can be, which brings us to the old adage consultation is the key.
  • Securely wrap your fishing lures in a sturdy case used as protection. Carriers specifically made to house your expensive lures are available in the market. You can even bring your rods with you on carry-on baggage with one of these.
  • When you are checking in your luggage, you may ask the airline officer to put your luggage in the fragile section. They will put an indication (in stickers or tags) that will distinguish it from normal bags and carriers. Do note that you can be a little bit dramatic when the officer asks you of the contents you are going to put in the fragile section.

Related Questions

  • Can we bring live baits as an alternative to bringing fishing tackles?
  • What is more advantageous: live baits or fishing tackles?

Live Baits as Alternatives?

You might think that as an alternative to bringing your fishing tackles why not look for live baits to carry around as they seem to be harmless and inexpensive. This will not only pose a greater risk of putting yourself into custody, but it will also spell a lot of troubles for you. Moreover, it is a fact that thousands of foreign food are being destroyed every year as they are strictly prohibited to enter the country.  In New York alone, an estimated value of 600 pounds of illicit food is being incinerated or disposed of.

According to Isai Rocha of the popular site the Foodbeast, for a gruesome fate of something as harmless as your avocados and oranges, what more can we say when it comes to bringing wriggling delicacies for a sea full of fish to prey upon. Thus, the Transportation Security Administrations (TSA) of America will less likely admit your live bait than your fishing lures

The Importance of Fishing Lures over Live baits

Fishing with Lures can give you a lot of benefits in contrast to making use of live baits:

  • First, making use of fishing lures is more convenient than live baits as it is tedious and exhausting to process the arrangements needed to procure the necessary materials for live bait.
  • Fishing lures enables you to cover more water, regardless of its area and depth.
  • Keeping a fishing tackle is more organized and less time-consuming in comparison to keeping a live bait which tends to be messier.
  • Fourth, fishing lures are easier to change out than baits.
  • Lastly, lures are more effective as they can target species more efficiently.

The only disadvantage a fishing lure has over a live bait is that it can be more expensive. Lures are susceptible to getting stuck in different types of underwater obstacles. Losing a fishing tackle there and then is especially painful to your pockets as a fisherman; not to mention, it is extra painful if it’s your first time using the lure.

Savaş Ateş

When I was a kid I had a small aquarium in our home. I had different kinds of fishes. I like fishes. Then I started to research all kinds of fishes and fishing too. I read lots of books about them. I like to share my experiences.

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