When I flew out west last year, I wasn't quite sure what to pack. I was traveling to my home state of California once again, and there was some uncertainty as to where exactly I might be fishing. My normal spots around NorCal were definitely in play, but I'd also be driving out to Reno, then possibly down to Mammoth Lakes and/or the LA area. I always try to pack smart, which typically means bringing the essentials and maybe a couple "just in case" extras.
The biggest problem for me was figuring out what rods to bring. Since I'm by no means a world-traveling fly fisherman, I typically transport my fly rods in a very non-elegant way. After choosing what rods I need, I'll tie the different rod tubes together in a bundle and carry them aboard the plane just like that. It works, but it also limits what I try to bring. Too many rod tubes tied together is pretty clumsy both in terms of transport and simply assembling together, so I often leave a rod or two at home that I think I can do without.
Materials: 1680D dobby ballistic fabric over high-density plastic
Model/Size: 6; other sizes and models also available
Capacity: Up to six 4-piece 10-foot fly rods
Weight: 43.5 ounces
Dimensions: 36 x 6.5-inches (tube)
4.5 x 5-inches (reel case)
Before my most recent trip, I finally decided to bust out the cash for a REAL travel rod tube. There were several I liked, but the new Simms Bounty Hunter 6 Single-Hand Rod Cannon was the one I chose. What made me go with it? The looks, dimensions, and some added goodies brought it to the head of the pack for me.
On top of main specs listed above, additional outside features include dual locking zippers, a Simms logo badge, retractable luggage tag, detachable and adjustable shoulder strap, and a small padded grab handle. Hidden from view are compression-molded end caps, removable foam spacers (one of which has a fly drying patch built-in), and a bonus removable reel storage case that holds one fly reel. Quality throughout is excellent—zero complaints!
Before and during my latest trip, I had total confidence when using the Simms Rod Cannon for transporting my most prized sticks. The plastic tube will flex a little under heavy pressure, but it remains plenty stout for any abuse it'll ever see from my travels when flying or riding in the back of a truck or car. In fact, I was able to stand on the center of the Cannon and it supported all of my 193-pounds just fine. The end caps also exhibit a bit of flex under pressure, but again, no worries as far as protection goes. Although I carried mine on board and stuck it in overhead bins, I'd feel perfectly at ease checking the tube on a flight as well.
Six 4-piece fly rods fit easily inside the tube which is partially aided by inner partitions that help keep entry/exit of the rods smooth. Of note, I was able to fit all 6 rods (5 of which had small to large fighting butts) handle-first. Would 6 heavy-duty rods all fit the same direction? That I can't answer since I didn't have such rods on hand.
The foam spacers can be added (one on each end) to the tube both for protection and to keep the rods from moving around so much. There's a bare foam spacer that fits at the bottom of the tube, and there's the top one which features the fly drying patch and a small velcro piece to securely connect inside the top door of the tube.
Of note, the included reel case fit inside just fine along with my 9-foot 4-piece rods, although I did remove the inner bare foam spacer from the bottom of the tube for an easier fit. Speaking of the reel case, it's a nice little unit that sports a handle on top, zipper around the circumference, a front logo, and thick material around all sides.
Thanks to flat ends, the tube can stand up on its own pretty well. This is a big deal to me when at an airport and I need to free up a hand to grab my ticket or ID. The entire unit is covered in the ballistic fabric, including the bottom end. Though I experienced no problems thus far, I would've liked to have seen just a thick, bare rubber end cap on at least the bottom end for both added durability and to provide an even more stable base.
This is a great tube and makes traveling SOOOO MUCH easier. Gone are the days of tying multiple tubes together in a goofy, clumsy mess. I'm seriously glad I bought this thing and wish I hadn't waited so long to do it. Now I'm able to easily bring up to 6 rods in one single case which is more than enough for any fishing adventures I can see myself going on in the near future. If you'd also like to simplify your travel experiences, I recommend you give a Simms Bounty Hunter Rod Cannon a try. Whether you opt for the smaller 3 size, the 6 like I own, a bigger spey rod tube, or one of the rod/reel combo cases, I think you'll be more than satisfied with the overall package!