Informational Guide

How To Ship Fishing Rods

Sending fishing gear across the country can be difficult and expensive. Learn the cheapest methods for shipping fishing rods with our detailed guide.

by Andrew

Informational Guide

How To Ship Fishing Rods

Sending fishing gear across the country can be difficult and expensive. Learn the cheapest methods for shipping fishing rods with our detailed guide.

by Andrew

by Andrew

A fishing rod can stand up to pressure from fish, but the bumps and shakes of shipping are a different story. Primarily due to their length and fragility, fishing rods need to be packed in a particular way to arrive at their destination unscathed.  

There is no need to be concerned about your gear if you take the proper steps to protect it. This guide will tell you how to ship fishing rods and review the most affordable ways to do it. 

How To Successfully Pack Fishing Rods 

2-Piece or Telescopic Rods 

Shipping fishing rods is easiest when they break down into sections or telescope to a more manageable size. You can typically find a flat-rate box that they’ll fit inside rather than having to rely on cardboard fishing rod shipping tubes.  

You should take care to make sure telescoping rods won't slide out during shipping. This can be done by securing the rod tip in place with rope. Make sure not to put pressure on the rod's eyes - try to find other tie points. 

For two-piece rods, you can wrap the sections in bubble wrap individually or together with newspaper or other material in between the sections to avoid scratches.  

The best way to ship fishing rods that break down or telescope is to disassemble them, wrap each piece tightly, and stuff extra space in the box with bubble wrap. 

Longer 1-Piece Rods 

Things get a bit more challenging with longer rods. Anything over 8 feet is going to give you trouble and cost more with shippers like USPS. 

To pack a rod that’s 8-feet long or shorter, you need to invest in PVC with a 2-inch inside diameter. Unfortunately, cardboard fishing rod shipping tubes aren't going to cut it. Luckily, you can typically find PVC pipe with a 2" inside diameter for a few bucks per foot.  

Wrap the rod tip in bubble wrap and cover it with packing tape. If you want, you can put a rod cover over them as well. Use as much filling as possible to prevent movement in the tube. Put a screw-on or conduit cap on each end of the PVC, and you should be good to go. 

Multiple Rods At Once 

You can protect multiple rods from scraping one another by wrapping them individually. However, more than one rod might not fit in a 2-inch PVC pipe, and most shippers charge a hand-carry fee if the PVC pipe is wider than 2.5 inches. Measuring out which width is suitable will depend on the rods you’re shipping.  

Shipping them in rod carriers requires an additional box and adds more weight. But you can put rod cases into boxes and wrap them with packing peanuts or bubble wrap if there’s no other option. 

In some cases, you can probably insert rods from either end of a PVC pipe and fit them in better that way. Do a cost comparison for buying another tube rather than packing multiple rods into the same one. It’s safer and frequently even cheaper. 

black fishing rod

How To Ship Fishing Rods (Cheapest Methods) 

There’s no one-fits-all method for shipping fishing rods that will always turn out to be the least expensive. Many factors impact which way will be the cheapest way to ship a fishing rod.  

For example, the size and weight of the rod immediately affect the shipping cost. As with any other kind of package, the starting point and mailing destination determine the price as well.  

Different delivery services start from different base rates and may charge more for odd-shaped parcels like fishing rods. As a general rule, rods over 7 feet long will cost significantly more because the containers needed to ship them reliably are over the minimum limits of most delivery companies.  

When the parcel exceeds certain dimensions, companies frequently throw a hand-carry fee on top because the larger packages can significantly impede the driver’s speed. The cheapest way to ship fishing rods is to only ship telescoping, 2-piece, or sub-seven-foot rods. 

You also need to balance the cost with the amount of protection available. A cardboard shipping box for fishing rod posting is usually cheaper - in some cases, you can go to your local tackle shop or homewares store and take cardboard tubes off them for free. But these cardboard tubes are no match for schedule 40 PVC pipe. 

You can buy a few feet of pipe at a hardware store for a few bucks and end caps for just a bit more. Don't forget to buy insurance from the shipping company. It's typically between $2 - $3, and it can get you compensated if your rod gets busted in transit.  

The best way to ship fishing rods in the U.S. is the United States Postal Service. Though issues can sometimes arise, the USPS offers insurance, and if you take precautions packing your fishing rod, the USPS will get it where it needs to go undamaged and for a lower price. 

Individual cases may vary. But that’s why anglers who ship rods frequently stick to PVC pipe cases with end caps and plenty of bubble wrap filling in gaps so that the rod won’t shift and its casing won’t be crushed en route. The extra you might pay for the weight of the PVC packaging and the insurance is nothing compared to what you’ll lose if the rod doesn’t make it there in one piece. 

holding fishing rod

Cost Guide Associated With Shipping Fishing Rods  

The cost to ship fishing rods is going to be somewhere between $15 and $35 on the cheap end, very broadly speaking. Here are some general price comparisons for different size fishing rods: 

  • 7 Ft. & Shorter
    USPS will ship a 7-foot long 1-pound nonrectangular package with a 2-inch width the 300 miles between Chicago and Louisville, Kentucky, for $33 according to a sample input on its online calculator.
  • 7 - 9 Ft
    We made another sample calculation of the same package on the USPS calculator with the package length change to reflect a nine-foot rod. The price jumped to $125. The sample FedEx shipping calculator shows prices between $250 and $500.
  • 10 - 13 Ft
    At this stage, the fishing rod might be too large to be mailed. You might be able to go into the shop and get a better estimate, but this is going to be a specialty shipping project, and they're definitely going to price it like one.
fishing rods

People also Ask (FAQs)

Can you put fishing rods into boxes for shipping? 

If you have a collapsible or telescoping fishing rod, you can probably use boxes to ship fishing rods. However, keep in mind that you still need to wrap them up with bubble wrap, secure them with velcro straps or string, and fill in the box so that the rod doesn’t shift in transit and the box can resist being crushed.  

How do you ship rod & reel combos? 

To ship a fishing reel and rod together, you’re going to need more space than a PVC or cardboard shipping tube will give you. Shipping them separately might be the smarter option in some cases.  

If you can find a flat box that will fit your reel, you should secure the reel handle, wrap the whole thing in bubble wrap, put it in a small box, and then secure that box within the larger box snugly so it won’t shift and isn’t cutting into the rod. 

How do you pack a fishing rod on a plane? 

According to the TSA, fishing rods are admissible in checked and carry-on luggage. You need to check with the airline whether it exceeds their size allowance. If they say you’re alright, you can pack it up as if you were about to ship it and take it with you to the airport. Our advice is to get a collapsible or telescoping model to make the flight less of a headache.  

Do online retailers offer free shipping on rods? 

There are so many fishing gear manufacturers that it's hard to say whether shipping will always be free, but many companies (including intermediaries like Amazon) sometimes give free shipping on orders over a certain amount. So keep your eyes open for sales that include free shipping as well. 


Conclusion

It’s frustrating enough to have a fishing rod snap while you’re fishing. Receiving a smashed rod in the mail is even worse.

Follow the tips in this fishing pole packing and shipping guide to make sure your gear gets to its destination in top shape and save a few bucks in the process. 

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