Fly Fishing Tackle Box Reviews

by | Apr 16, 2018 | Accessories, Fly Fishing, Gear |

The fly box seems less than significant in the big picture but it serves an essential purpose. A quality box will hold your bugs securely and keep them dry while you are tramping around.  The best boxes do not crush your flies and they store a great number of flies in a portable fashion. Fly boxes come in variety of shapes and sizes, with some being superior to others.

As you build a large collection of flies, it makes sense to organize them in a box that will last and keep them safe. Flies are not cheap and you should do your best to protect them.

umpqua fly fishing box

An Organized Boat Box.

C&F Fly Box Reviews

C&F; is known for making high quality fly boxes. They occupy the top shelf when it comes to price, but they also are some of the best performers on the market.

C&F Waterproof Fly Box

These are the top models from C&F; and they live up to the reputation. The boxes come in several different configurations. We have reviewed the 10/10/10 model with the flip page.

cf tackle boxThe C&F; Design Waterproof fly box in the 10/10/10 model over the course of several years. The waterproof model comes in a large or medium size option with different slotted foam and compartment options. The 10/10/10 model is ideal as an all-round nymph box but could also be used for an extensive midge collection and dry flies.

The box has a hard plastic exterior with a latch to hold it closed. The exterior has a ribbed texture for better grip and a hinge for open and closing motion. The interior has 10 slotted fly rows on each side and an additional 10 rows on each side of the page This creates a total of 40 rows with space for over 900 flies. You could realistically store everything you need for a day on the water in this single box. If you are fly hoarders, it is more than sufficient for a nymph collection.

The C&F; Design Waterproof fly box performs great. It is extremely durable and I have had no problems with the latch or hinges after at least a couple hundred days of use. The slots hold your flies secure and it is rare that one comes free.

The slots also hold their shape well after being used for different hook sizes. The adhesive that holds the page did wear on my box. Eventually, I pulled out the page, cleaned the tab, added some super glue and put it back in the slot. It has held steady with the glue.

This box has endured some hard blows and outside of a few scuff marks, there is no visible damage. It is one of the few boxes I have owned that actually keeps my flies dry.

It seals and no moisture enters period. Some boxes allow a seep of moisture and seal enough to ensure it cannot escape. This leads to rusted hooks and ruined flies. That is not the case with this box.

C&F 10 Row Fly Box

This is their basic box. It comes is several different configurations but all are pretty similar in design.

cf 10 row modelI use it as a dry fly box with the primary purpose being to carry parachutes. Storing parachute style dry flies is difficult without damaging the hackle and this box has evolved into my technical/parachute dry fly box.

Description

The grey colored box has 5 rows of slotted foam on each side. The total number flies it can carry is 235. It has a hard plastic exterior and a hands free clip that holds it in a closed position. An easy pull on the tab opens the box to expose the flies. It is simple and the size is perfect for the front pocket of a fishing shirt. It also has clips for the C&F; Nail Knot tool attachment. We have not tested the attachment.

Performance

This is a great little fly box. It is functional, simple and durable. The exterior is scratched and scuffed but the plastic has not cracked. I have stepped on this box and dropped it on several hard surfaces.

It has been smashed under piles of gear and is not any worse for wear outside of the visible scratches. The slotted rows hold flies well and although it may hold 235 midge patterns, this is not the case for dry flies.

As noted earlier, I primarily use the box to keep my parachute hackles in fine order. I find that you need to space the flies roughly every other slot to prevent crowding. This is not a big deal but it means you can carry around 115 flies without smashing them together.

115 parachutes is more than enough to get any angler through a day on the water. If you are burning through more flies than that, you have some issues.

Flambeau Fly Boxes

They are well known for their tackle boxes and products for gear fisherman but they also have a few quality fly boxes on the market. They are tough and affordable options.

Large 12 Compartment Blue Ribbon Fly Box

Flambeau has really advanced their fly box options. This design is durable and effective.

 

blue ribbon fly boxFlambeau has numerous fly box options but the Blue Ribbon Series are really the cream of the crop. The Flambeau Blue Ribbon fly box series comes in different sizes and configurations with options for ripple foam, slotted foam and compartments.

They are all designed to be waterproof and durable. I have tested the Large 12 Compartment model over the course of 2 seasons.

I use it as my all-round box when I go into the backcountry for more than one day. It has been mildly abused but has not seen any extreme impacts.

Description

The box has a hard plastic shell with rubber bumpers and a latch closure. It has a gasket seal for waterproofing and the interior has ripple foam on one side and 12 compartments on the opposite side.

The compartments are on a hinged system with removable dividers. The box has a good look and the design is obviously durable.

Performance

best flambeau fly box

This Flambeau Blue Ribbon fly box has performed well for me. The foam does not tear easily and it holds flies pretty tight. I use the foam for my nymphs and streamers and use the compartments for dries.

Having the removable divider option is nice for larger fly storage in a few compartments. The dividers are easy to remove but they do not slide out during use. The hinge snaps the compartment cover open with the push of a button and it easily locks back in place.

The exterior latch holds the box closed and works very well as does the exterior hinge. The rubber bumpers on the exterior are nice for traction in your vehicle or boat. They prevent the box from sliding all over your rig.

If there is one thing about this box I do not like, it is the compartment cover. Although it functions perfectly, all of your flies are exposed when it is open. This means you stand to lose everything in the compartments if you drop the with the cover open.

It is not a huge deal for most people and I have not lost any flies but you must be cautious while choosing a bug from the compartment section.

Conclusions

Overall, this is a good box and good value. It is a flexible design that allows you to store flies in almost all shapes and sizes. The price is solid when you consider the construction quality and build.

Scientific Angler

Well known for their quality fly lines, leaders, tippet and gear. SA has a nice collection of fly boxes, many of which are slotted foam and waterproof. They have a few specialty options that are nice for bulky flies.

Lime Green Max 432 Fly Box

Small- This little box holds a ton of flies and is great for midges. Read our review to learn more.

I use it as a midge box but also throw in any tiny dry flies like tricos and size 22 parachute adams.

It is the smallest of the SA waterproof boxes but it holds a bunch of flies. The constructions is the same for all of their waterproof models but the fly configurations and box sizes differ.

Description

This box has a clear, hard plastic shell with a simple latch style locking mechanism to hold the doors closed. It has two doors, with slotted foam rows on the inside of each and a center leaf with slotted foam rows as well.

The center leaf is surrounded by a rubber seal for waterproofing and the doors swing on a hinge. The center leaf has a lime green color behind the rows and the same color is present on the door latches.

The exterior shell is also lightly textured but not enough to be anything valuable or significant.

Performance

The Box is Ideal for Midges and Small Flies.

This is a durable fly box that performs well. The small size is great considering you can stuff over 400 midges inside. Although I use this box for midges, it would also work well as a small stream companion.

The foam holds your flies well and very few have wiggled free so far. The doors remain shut and it definitely is waterproof.

It is worth noting that this box is not suited for larger flies. The foam slots are designed for smaller flies and your big bugs just don’t belong inside.

The clear shell allows you to see inside and eliminates guessing between the doors. It is a durable box and after a fair amount of abuse only minor scratches are present.

Lime Green Max 752 Fly Box

Medium- This box has a high capacity without adding bulk. It works for a variety of fly storage purposes.

I use one as a stillwater box with chironomids, lake nymphs, damsels, etc. Nothing too large but some of the flies have a little mass.

I began the other as a dry fly box but now use it as a nymph box. This model matches the construction of the other waterproof models with a configuration that holds a ton of flies.

Description 

The max 752 fly box has a hard shell made of clear plastic. It has locking clips and a central page with slotted foam on either side. This models also has slotted foam rows on the inside of the plastic shell.

The clips and backing are colored lime green, same as the smaller model with the same layout. The outer shell is textured with dots and has the SA logo integrated into the design.

Overall, it is a nice looking design that allows you to see your flies and choose the correct door without any guessing.

Performance

waterproof fly box

Like all of the other boxes in the line, this one performed well in terms of use and durability. I like the fact that it can store a ton of flies in a standard size box. The one I use for stillwaters has been ideal.

It holds numerous flies in a variety of sizes. I like that the foam slots will secure a small streamer hook and bounce back into shape after it is removed.

I changed the second box from dries to nymphs because it doesn’t work well with hackles. When you close the box, the taller dry flies on either side press against each other and damage the hackles and wings.

You could solve this by placing very small flies on the lid side and slightly larger versions on the main page but I opted to use a different box for my dries.

I changed the box to a general nymph collection and it has worked very well for that purpose. It holds everything from size 22 midges to size 6 stoneflies without an issue.

Mint Green Big Fly 116 Flat

Large– If you want to carry bulky flies without using a large locker, this is one to consider.

It uses the same shell and overall design as the other SA waterproof models but the configuration is adjusted for larger flies.

Initially, I used this model as a streamer box but changes it to a large hopper and dry fly box after a year. It is now in transition to become my go to warm water box with large streamers and poppers for bass, pike, etc.

Description

This box uses the same hinge and clear shell design as the other waterproof models but the size is roughly 1-1/2 times larger than the standard nymph or 72 streamer fly models.

It still has the thick rubber gasket and the hinges and backing are a light green color or “mint green” according to the company. The foam is flat with vertical slots. There are nine rows on each side of the box and no rows inside of the covers. There is an additional row that is broken-up by the latches on each side.

Performance

The unique size of this box fantastic. It is large enough to hold your bulky patterns but small enough to fit in a hip pack or vest. The depth is also a major attraction. Many boxes are too shallow and ultimately do damage to your elk hair wings and taller hackles.

This model leaves plenty of space for taller flies and large popper heads. It is a great transition box that will hold bulk patterns in your boat bag while retaining the ability to fit in your day pack.

The durability is great and it functions very well. Of all the SA waterproof fly box configurations, this one is my favorite. It really solves the need for portability in the large fly department.

Light Blue 72 Streamer Box

Medium- This is a straightforward streamer box with average capacity.

The Scientific Anglers Streamer Saltwater 72 fly box is one of many different configurations in the SA waterproof fly box lineup.

I used this as a stillwater box for one year and it is now in transition to become a streamer box for my hip pack. Although this box is intended for streamers, it can serve a variety of purposes and would work well for large dry flies and other moderately bulky bugs.

Description

The box matches all of the other SA waterproof models with the clear, hard plastic shell, thick rubber gasket, locking latches and double sided foam fly storage. Unlike some of the other models, it does not provide storage on either of the doors.

The handles, hinges and backing are colored light blue and the outer plastic is textured for grip. The foam itself is flat and vertically slotted.

Performance

This box is durable like all of the others in this lineup. It will scratch and scuff but doesn’t crack or break with moderate pressure. Maybe if you ran over it with a car but otherwise it is pretty solid.

The waterproof design has also proved effective with no seepage or moisture entering the box. I really like the size and forced simplicity of the layout with this fly box. It has ample space for a day of streamer fishing without being a really bulky box.

The size is the same as the nymph model and fits comfortably in most hip packs and vest pockets. There is a fair amount of give and take with the claim to hold 72 flies as streamer sizes greatly vary. It does comfortably hold around 50 streamers, maybe a little less if you use long articulated patterns.

Umpqua

It makes sense that the leading fly seller also makes fly boxes. They have some great options with unique designs and features.

Ultimate Boat Box

This box is a permanent fixture in many boats. It holds the big bugs and has a few features we love.

I primarily use the box on my drift boat but will also carry it in the car and pick off any bugs I need for my regular wading boxes.

Umpqua also makes a baby boat box and a variety of other boxes that are worth checking out. I use this box for streamers, large dry flies and a variety of large nymphs.

Eventually, I think this will become a monster streamer box only and separate boat boxes will be used for nymphs and dries.

Description

This box has flat, slotted foam on each side of the interior. It also has a slotted foam drying sheet on the outside of the box. It is waterproof with two sliding lockers, one on each side of the briefcase style handle.

The exterior has a hard plastic shell, with the Umpqua logo displayed on the bottom side. It has mini legs that allow it to stand upright and hinges for opening and closing.

The Exterior Patch is a Great Feature.

Performance

This is a solid boat box design. It has plenty of space for big bugs but can also handle some medium size dries and nymphs. The foam is high quality and seems to be lasting despite being used to hook flies outside of the slots.

The slotted sections grab hooks well but one or two will fall out of the slots after the box is dropped or jostled. The lockers are easy to slide open and the hinges function normally.

I have not used the legs to stand it upright as there is rarely a need. The exterior foam patch is really what seals the deal for this box. There are plenty of other fly lockers on the market with similar designs but the exterior patch is a major benefit.

It is nice to have an easy place for drying flies and I use it to prepare rigs for anglers on my boat in advance. I keep this box next to the rowers seat, with my go to flies for easy access. It really functions as a work station and a primary fly box in my boat.

Conclusions

There is no shortage of excellent fly box options. Take your time and look for something that really fits a specific need. Utilize the slotted foam style for you bulk nymph storage, compartments for delicate dry flies and large capacity for the boatPrice is always a consideration but in many cases, you really get what you pay for and a good box will last for a lifetime. Also consider the company and their track record as conservationists and support in the fly fishing community.