The choice comes down to whether you want shorter pieces for transporting the rod or if the longer section of the 3 piece are of no concern to you. The 5 peice is very slightly slower; but you would only notice this if you cast them side by side or already owned one or the other.
In other words, buy the version you want and enjoy a great casting tool.
Most important is rod action: something only you can decide after casting both. On this board, among others Flytyer has experience with both rods.
Advantages of 5-piece
• Carrying / transporting a 34 inch [87 cm] package is easier than a 56 inch [143 cm] package.
Neutral Issues—No advantage or disadvantage for either.
• There is no airline baggage benefit to checking a smaller rod tube, in my experience. Southwest Airline’s web site states airline policy as “Fishing rods will be accepted as baggage at no extra charge if properly encased in a manufacturer's container.” Canadian, United, American, Aerolineas Argentinas and Southwest Airlines all have checked as normal baggage my 67-inch [1.7 m] long plastic multiple rod travel tube.
• A 5-piece 14-foot spey rod is too long for airline cabin carryon. Southwest’s web site states carryon pieces must fit in a 10x16x24 inch box.
• The float planes in which I have flown the last 4 seasons, a 4 seat Found Brothers, a 4 seat Cessna 185 and a deHavilland Beaver [huge] all accepted 3-piece spey rod tubes.
Advantages of 3-piece
• Given that ferrules are a major site of rod damage, fewer ferrules are better.
• Setting up in the morning and disassembling in the evening are less time consuming because of fewer ferrules and the reduced waxing and / or taping involved. As an aside, nighttime disassembly is particularly frustrating if one has used black tape.
• With the long length of the 3-piece multiple rod travel tubes a one-piece wading staff fits easily.
there is now a regulation that the length, width and heigth of a check bag cannot exceed 62 inches. If the length alone is 67 inches, you have a potential problem. Who knows when you will try to check your long rod tube and the jerk behind the counter will charge you $75 (each way) for your oversized bag. If you're flying out of Terrace, BC on Air Canada, it is likely to happen
Re checked baggage
Southwest Airlines and Air Canada both have a 62-inch [combined length, width, depth] maximum baggage size.
AC’s web site stated checked baggage policy, describes a similar policy to that of Southwest Airlines regarding sporting equipment.
AC states a “Sports Equipment Free Baggage Option.” The sports equipment free baggage policy lists fishing rods and skis with no limit on length. The only sports item described with a length limit is windsurfers that can have a maximum 109-inch length if carried as baggage.
On my six Air Canada flights this year, there has been no charge for a 67-inch long rod carrier.
Re carryon bags
Air Canada’s web site regarding cabin carryon bags states a maximum length of 55 cm [22-inches] allowed as carryon. Southwest states 24-inches as the maximum.
A Sage 7-wt, 4-piece [790-4 RPL+] rod tube is 30-inches long. At the present time one cannot count on carrying aboard a 30-inch tube. I wonder if such a short rod tube in checked baggage is more easily lost than a 5-foot+ long rod carrier. When it comes to guys things, is longer always better? :hehe:
Most frequently when I travel to fish with spey rods, I wouldn't dream of letting any of them travel alone
In other words, because I can not outfit myself with the complete range of desired rods for a trip with 5 pc rods, having the smaller spey rod tubes doesn't do me much good. In fact I never use the tubes the rods came in, some still have the wrappers on them in that big pile of them in the closet.
I have the Phantom, the Bazuka, and double-walled heavy cardboard boxes that are ideal for checked baggage. I have never had any problem with the airlines accepting them, although AC did lose them on my last flight
That being said, if squeezing a singlehanded rod into my luggage for a quick sortie on the flats in my shorts while on a tropical fling with the wife, the 5pc is the only way to go.
A "spey" trip for me involves waders, vest, reels, spools, boots, cleats, wading staff, and a whole arsenal of river gear. Having anything more than a 4pc is just more tape to bother with and the small segments don't buy me anything banging around in the empty space of my rod case.
It appears that 62" is the official maximum dimensions (length+height+width) of an item for BA. However, my father has twice flown between London and Aberdeen in the last two years with a rod tube slightly over 62" long without any problem. This was in addition to his regular suitcase, although the website says that only one item of checked baggage is permitted on UK domestic flights. There is a footnote on the web page saying that sporting equipment is treated as an exception, so this may explain it. There is also a link giving contact details for your BA office - do this if you have concerns, but I'd be surprised if you ran into any difficulties.
On other airlines, beware of Ryanair. Although their tickets are very cheap, they get you in other ways! This is what their website says:
"Many items of sporting equipment including but not limited to large fishing rods, golf clubs, bicycles, surfboards, bodyboards, snowboards and skis are inherently unsuitable for carriage by airlines operating fast turnarounds such as Ryanair. However, upon payment of an additional charge of £15/€25 (or local currency equivalent) per sector (flight) and per item irrespective of weight, Ryanair is prepared to carry such items on a ‘Limited Release’ (i.e. entirely ‘at your own risk’ for loss, damage or delay) basis. You may therefore wish to ensure, should you wish to ask Ryanair to carry such equipment on this basis, that you have suitable private insurance cover in force. Due to space restrictions, we recommend that all sports equipment is pre-booked and pre-paid by calling your local reservation centre, as not to do so may result in the item being refused for carriage at the airport. If the fee is not paid at, the time of booking or on your outbound it will still be imposed on your return journey."
Incidentally, I travelled back on BA from Boston in August 2002 (so presumably with the post-9/11 tightening of regulations in place) with a 49" long rod tube, and was permitted to take it as hand luggage. Perhaps I just got a fisherman on the check-in desk!
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