Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fishing Gear and the Transportation Security Administration

My wife's uncle is an avid fisherman, he does a lot of trolling from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario for Salmon and Lake Trout so he is always looking for a deal on the internet for fishing gear. He thought he scored on a downrigger weight shaped like a torpedo but was not happy when he got the box and it weighed half as much as he expected. Knowing I am a kayak fishermen he figured I would figure out how I could use it and he was right. He handed it off to me the morning we left West Chazy, New York for Burlington, Vermont to catch our flight. My wife rolled her eyes and said "You want that thing you're carting it." I shoved it in my carry-on, a 3 day rucksack (having no bags to check) and we headed to the airport. 

I almost forgot about it when we got to the TSA checkpoint, there was no line and being a seasoned traveler I stripped my belt, shoes and pocket contents and was through X-ray in no time. The bag however was not as quick. The lead in the weight blocked too much of the bag for the agents liking. I told him he could remove it and told him it was a weight for trolling lures in deep water. He seemed to relax, removing the torpedo shaped object and swabbing the area for explosive residue. Thank God my uncle in law did not have the weight next to his ammunition! He handed it back to me after his machine gave him a green light and told me to pull it out if I have to go through another check point. I thanked him and we went to our gate. 

We landed in LeGuardia and had an hour to get to our terminal, I was furious when I crossed the boundary marking the "secure passenger area" figuring out I had to leave the building and literary go down the street to the next building. I got to the next checkpoint removed shoes, watch and wallet. I placed the weight in the bin along my shoes and headed to the body scanner, I was through when I spotted the TSA agent looking at my torpedo confused. I shouted (as it was rather loud) "it is a weight for fishing". He seemed to have some hesitation as he handed it to me and saying "Next time put it in your check in bag."...

Moral of the story, if you fly somewhere and get something that could look suspicious to TSA throw it in a flat rate box and just wait for the post office to deliver it. 

Thanks for reading,


  1. Travel does have its down sides but at least you made it safe with your new "toy" ;)

  2. I am just glad the guy in New York didn't confiscate it.

  3. There was a similar discussion that took place on and I had essentially concluded the same thing - either check it or ship it; it's much easier

  4. That just kind of looks like a torpedo but look at all the trouble it got you into! Will have to make a note to self.

  5. I have the same thing and planning to take it for our fishing trip in Alaska. Now I'm thinking of having it delivered through post office. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Just read a blog about a fly guy that had to leave 4 spools of floating and sinking flyline due to TSA, and we live in a free country.

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