How to Transport Fishing Rods

how to ship fishing rods

In a recent notice, the United States Postal Service said that it will stop shipping fragile packages.

According to the notice, customers who want to mail fragile items must find other shippers from July 10, 2022.

Does this rule apply to fishing rods?

Yes. Shipping fishing rods via the USPS means using the organization’s “Special Handling – Fragile” services.

This service will be canceled by the end of 2022. So, what are the existing options for people who want to ship fishing rods?

Let’s explore the ways to send multiple rods or a single rod.

How to Ship Fishing Rods in 2022

shipping rods

Be it international shipments or national ones, shipping fishing rods has always been a tricky affair.

These long and fragile items require multiple layers of packing.

More packing means more weight, hence additional costs. The Post Office doesn’t accept particularly long fishing rods.

Private couriers or shipping companies often charge users extra once their packages cross a certain length.

Long items are always harder & more expensive to ship.

Thankfully, there are many “fisher-friendly” shipping companies that specialize in transporting long, fragile items like fishing rods.

The company you chose will depend on whether you’re shipping your fishing rods domestically/internationally.

The type of rods you’re sending will also determine your choice.

For instance – most shipping or courier companies will gladly accept telescopic fishing rods. These rods are collapsible, easy to pack, and very light.

Sending long, one-piece rods is more challenging so many couriers refuse to transport these rods.

The average fisher will choose either FedEx or UPS to ship fishing rods. Now, there are many private courier companies that offer both international & domestic shipping services for fishers.

As long as users undertake the shipping costs and wrap their items securely, they can avail these lesser-known services.

How do find such dedicated shipping companies?

Research online – on eBay and other fishing forums. Compare costs, amenities, and quality of service before making your choice.

What Types of Fishing Rods Can I Ship?

If you’re willing to spend a few hundred dollars, you can ship all types of fishing gear.

Here are the fishing tools/equipment that you can ship via freight:

  • Fishing Baits
  • Soft Bait
  • Fishing Lures
  • Fishing Reels
  • Fishing Nets (including fishing angling accessories and fishing flies)
  • Tackle boxes

Fishing rods are probably the most shipped items of them all.

They’re also the most difficult to ship. However, with the right packing, anyone can send these sensitive and long items via freight.

Be it bamboo or graphite – you can send all types of fishing rods via freight.

Shipping Fishing Rods: Key Packaging Requirements

You aren’t allowed to catch fish unless you own a fishing license. It’s the most basic aspect of complying with local fishing laws.

Similarly, it’s impossible to ship fishing rods unless you follow some clearly defined packaging rules.

The postal service can’t be held legally responsible if they break your precious fishing rods.

The burden of securing your rods is solely on your shoulders.

Thankfully, packing fishing rods is relatively easy and cheap. You’ll need the following materials:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing tape
  • Solid cardboard tubes or PVC pipes
  • Packaging chips and fillers
  • Measuring tape (to measure the length of the PVC tube to fit the rods)
  • Scissors

Gather all these supplies and start packing your fishing rods. Make them ready for shipping by:

Determining the Rod Sizes

Measure your fishing rod with a measuring tape. Buy cardboard tubes and protective PVC tubes of the same size.

Dismantling the Rod

  • Dismantle your fishing rods.
  • Take out each component.
  • Pack each short rod piece one by one.

This packing process is much faster and more efficient than packing an entire fishing rod. Don’t forget to remove the bait reels.

These components won’t fit inside the PVC tube you’ll use later to secure your rod. So, remove them from the pole and use bubble wrap to pack them separately.

If you’re traveling via flight, feel free to pack your reels in your luggage. These items aren’t considered security threats.

However, trolling reels are not suitable for this mode of DIY shipping.

These reels are usually big so they may not fit inside your check-in bags. Instead, detach the lines from your trolling reels and include them inside your shipping package.

Bubble Wrapping the Fishing Rods

If you’re shipping multiple rods, make sure each individual rod is tightly covered with a separate bubble wrap sheet.

Ideally, your fishing rods should be wrapped with multiple layers of bubble wrap. Add a layer of brown packing paper on top of the bubble wrap sheets for extra protection.

  • Make sure the bubble wrap sheets cover the entire length of your fishing rods.
  • Pay special attention to the tips of your rods as they’re the most delicate parts. Give them extra protection by wrapping them with two or three layers of bubble wrap sheets.
  • Secure all the protective bubble wrap layers with packing tape. Don’t tape the rods too tightly.

Creating a Protective Package

Once your fishing rods are fully wrapped, place them inside heavy-duty cardboard, plastic, or PVC tubes.

  • Whichever pipe you use – make sure its diameter and length correspond with your rod. Here’s how you can create a protective rod holder with PVC pipes –
  • Pick a basic, schedule-40 PVC pipe. These pipes are usually 1 to 1.5-inch wide so they can easily fit most fishing poles.
  • Buy these pipes in 10 or 12-feet lengths. Cut them into separate sections. For instance, if your fishing rod is 6 feet long, buy a 12-feet long PVC pipe. Cut it down to 2, 6-foot sections.
  • Use rasps and file sets to fit the rods inside the pipes smoothly.
  • Clean up the mess (all the little plastic parts that fall off when you cut the PVC pipe).

These protective pipes ensure that your rods don’t break in transit. The bubble wrap layers will absorb 90% of the shocks your rods receive while being transported.

These flexible pipes will take care of the rest. A strong PVC or cardboard tube can easily protect a sensitive, ultralight spinning rod.

Filling Up the Packages with Packing Foam

Packing foams are light.

That’s why they’re the perfect “fillers” for packages that contain fragile items like fishing rods. You can buy three types of packing foams – Polyurethane (PU), Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), and Polyethylene (PE).

Expanded polystyrene is the number one choice of fishers.

That’s because this packing foam offers thermal insulation, acoustic insulation, and water resistance.

EPS is also the cheapest packing foam in the market.

Fill up your final shipping package or container with EPS. Shake the package with your hands to check whether the fishing rod inside is moving.

If it is, pack more EPS inside the package until the movement stops. You can also use packing peanuts to complete this step.

Sealing the Shipping Package

Finally, seal your fishing rod packages with tape. Wrap them multiple times in all directions. Label each package as “fragile.”

Attach all the shipment info and shipping address to the packages and prepare to ship your fishing rods.

Picking a Courier Company

Select a company that’s famous for fishing rod shipments. Don’t forget to obtain shipping insurance for your packages.

Get estimates from various shipping or courier services. Pick a company and send your shipment.


So you have got the answer to how to ship fishing rods. Remember to compare the shipping rates of different courier providers.

Avoid companies that over/undercharge.

Many factors will determine your final shipping cost. They include – the weight of your shipment, the value of the rods being shipped, and their fragility.

Fishing rods that are particularly fragile need extra care from the shippers.

But, if you follow the aforementioned packaging tips, your shipment won’t be deemed “fragile” by the shipping companies.