I’ll be honest. I used to use an old cantilevered toolbox to store my fishing tackle. I think it was Stanley, or Silverline maybe. It was great, in a way – heavy, bulky, but cheap. The best part about it was that nothing quite fit right, since it wasn’t intended to hold spare reels and hooks and line.
Like I’d get it neatly packed before a fishing trip, but ten minutes into the session everything is strewn about me because I can’t get it to go back in and I needed the needlenose pliers which were RIGHT at the bottom.
Anyway, before I go on, here are my top picks (for the impatient):
Then there was the water issue – seawater and steel fishing bits don’t like to get along. But the toolbox loved letting water in. Most of my hooks were corroded the next time I went out, and there was always that smell that wouldn’t go away.
I was almost glad when it got washed overboard and I had to get a new one. This time I knew I’d get a proper jobbie.
How to Choose?
When it comes to choosing the best tackle box, there are numerous options you can choose from. You must understand that your choice of tackle box depends on your needs and fishing style. There’s no one size fits all since anglers have different needs and varying fishing styles.
1) Plano 7771 Guide Series – Top Quality Tackle Box
This is a pretty damn good tackle box. It is fairly expensive, but for the price you get lots of space and a robust box.
Yeah, it’s big and bulky and quite heavy – especially when it’s packed with your tackle – but there’s space to keep pretty much everything you’ll need for even a long session at the water.
It has three removable trays, and a translucent top compartment with organiser. Waterproof-ish, it’s designed for getting wet and it’s pretty much wipe-clean.
2) Plano 374010 Stowaway – Small Tackle Box
This has the standard cam-actionAdd clips and a rubber seal to keep water out. It’s much smaller than the 7771, but still has 23 compartments and the ability to store longer lures at around 14″ in length.
The way it works is it has four fixed sections spanning the length of the box, and a bunch of dividers so you can determine the size of each individual compartment.
3) Ready 2 Fish Tackle Box – Cheap Tackle Box
This is a bit similar to the Plano 7771, but cheaper. It also comes with some tackle, hence “ready to fish”. It has two built in trays, and adjustable sub-compartments. Even though it’s adjustable, it’s not ideal for longer or larger lures – you could probably fit something up to 3″ in there but not any bigger.
It’s rigid plastic, so it’s wipe-clean again, but the latch is steel and may rust with exposure to saltwater so make sure you rinse it after use.
4) Wild River 3606 – Backpack Style Tackle Bag
This is a great looking backpack style tackle holder. You can fit four trays in it, which can also be supplied by Wild River. The top compartment of the pack can have trays put in, or you can use it to store larger items.
It also has a pretty cool feature in the form of a tiny fold-out work-table in the front pocket. It’s not much, but it’s something! There is also a clear waterproof compartment at the top of the bag to store your fishing permit or mobile phone or something.
Hard-wearing, lots of storage, and easily adjustable to make it more comfortable to wear, this is a good choice of tackle bag.
5) Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag – Roomy Tackle Bag
The Spiderwire is another good soft tackle bag, with a rigid base to help keep its shape. It comes with four tackle boxes to organise your stuff inside the bag. Ir also has organised pockets and storage around the bag, like the plier pockets so you always have your pliers handy.
You need those pliers handy!
It’s got lots of room, but it is perhaps not quite as convenient as the backpack style above – but if it’s just going on your yak, then that doesn’t matter right?
6) Striper Surf Fisherman’ Lure & Plug Bag – Small Lure Bag
This is a very simple tackle bag with ten equally sized compartments for storing your lures. There’s not much else that can go in this bag, apart from lure-shaped things. There IS a side pocket on this bag though, but it’s very limited in storage space.
It’s specifically designed to be compact and lightweight, with a shoulder strap to make it easy to carry. If you are going for a casual bit of fishing, this might suit you.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Tackle Box
Besides storing your fishing gear, you also want to ensure its organized neatly for easy and convenient access. A good fishing tackle box should include all the number of trays and storage compartments, adjustable slots, secure latches, or comfortable handles, you need and want. Your options should be determined by your preference and fishing style.
Therefore, whether it is a small or large tackle box, it should accommodate all the tackle trays and storage compartments you know you’ll require while fishing. Some travel boxes take convenience to a whole new level with various pockets and compartments where you can store your handy accessories, but some models come with a limited number of storage spaces.
The general purpose of your fishing trip can be an important factor especially when it comes to choosing the size of your tackle box. For instance, when you want to fish a Muskie or a Pike, your lure should be at least 6 inches long. On the other hand, if you want to catch pan fish, you need smaller terminal tackle and lures, and a smaller tackle box may be sufficient.
Regardless the kayak or boat model you intend to use, the occasional splash will probably occur from time to time. Therefore, if you have any gear or equipment that is prone to corrosion, you should ensure that it’s stored in a tackle bag that is made from water-resistant material.
Most tackle boxes are waterproof and water can only get in if the box is open or submerged in water. If you know you’ll experience the occasional splash or if you’ll be fishing in humid or rainy weather conditions, it would be smart to invest in a waterproof tackle bag or box.
Ease of cleaning
Everything gets dirty at some point and it’s particularly important to ensure that you get tackle a bag or box that you can keep clean without a hassle.
If you don’t have the time to clean your fishing gear, we recommend that you get a bag that is equipped with a removable liner. This way, you simply need to get rid of the removable liner and toss the bag in your washing machine.
This applies to bags that aren’t rigid to ensure that they’ll maintain their shape and appeal even when cleaned in the washer.
If you have to carry your tackle box for relatively long distances (between your car and boat/fishing spot) you need to opt for a backpack tackle box or a model that comes with a comfortable shoulder strap or a convenient handle.
It’s important to remember that your tackle box serves many different purposes. Therefore, you need to consider extra space other than for lures, tackles and leaders. Sometimes, you may need to bring with you other accessories like jaw spreaders, pliers, and bolt cutters in case you think you’ll need them on your fishing trip.
Stitching is an important bag especially on a tackle bag that will be jammed packed with fishing gear and accessories. If you intend to jam pack your bag with accessories, you should look for double or even triple stitching.
Materials used and durability
Tackle boxes and bags are made using different materials and each has its unique features and benefits. For instance, if you want a lightweight and durable box, you can opt for a box whose outer casing is made from molded plastic. On the other hand, boxes that are made from nylon are very light and easy to carry. However, metal tackle boxes tend to be very heavy and prone to having dents.
The material used is a tell-tale sign of the quality, reliability and durability of the bag. It is also important to note that your tackle box might get dropped to the ground or banged around a little and you need to ensure that your tools and equipment inside of the tackle box will be well protected. On the other hand, high quality fabric resists tearing and fraying.
Type of tackle box: Hard vs. Soft Tackle Boxes
Anglers have been arguing for ages as to whether they should buy hard or soft tackle boxes. Both offer several useful characteristics and benefits and you can choose which type you like depending on your needs, level of experience and fishing style.
Hard tackle boxes
Hard tackle boxes have hard cases and are proven to be durable and have years of proven performance. This type of tackle box is perfect for anyone looking for a box that will offer full protection for their fishing gear and still last for years.
Benefits of hard tackle boxes
As far as durability is concerned, hard tackle boxes weather in hard plastic or metal designs, have years of proven performance due to the hard protective casing. This is one of the main reasons why many anglers prefer hard tackle boxes. Therefore, this is the best option if you’re looking for a tackle box that will last long.
Moreover, the technology of plastic tackle boxes has improved over time and manufacturers have been able to reinforce the plastics with resin to guarantee maximum tackle protection and durability.
Multiple storage compartments
Hard tackle boxes have fold-out trays which provide a wide range of storage compartments for different tackle essentials, accessories and fishing gears such as baits and lures. Hard tackle boxes come with high-quality worm trays which maintain the good condition ad crispness of the worms to ensure that they can still attract fish even after being stored for a relatively long period of time. However, without worm-proof trays, worms will fuse together or melt, making them unusable or unattractive to fish.
The waterproof design or hard tackle boxes makes them the best tackle boxes especially for kayak fishing. In kayak fishing, there is a high possibility that the tackle box might get wet because it’s usually positioned near the water. The waterproof design takes care of this problem and you can rest assured that your fishing tackles and tools will not be damaged by the water.
Hard tackle boxes have top loading compartments which offer extra storage. This is a huge relief especially for kayaks which have such small storage space. Moreover, these top loading compartments save time and frustration by giving you instant access to various components of your arsenal.
Disadvantages of hard tackle boxes
Although hard tackle boxes are long-lasting, durable, waterproof, and offer a wide variety of organisation options, they are quite heavy and often come with a single handle which makes carrying difficult.
Hard tackle boxes are available in many different styles and sizes suited for all levels of experience. The smaller tackle boxes that typically have one or two trays are ideal for children, beginners, as well as casual anglers. The trays are designed to unfold and display all your gear as you open the box making it easy for you to locate whatever you need.
The larger tackle boxes provider a higher storage capacity, as well as a variety of specialized storage compartments for specific equipment and lures making organization quite easy. Moreover, the hard, durable frame allows them to withstand wear and tear. However, some people find the larger boxes to be cumbersome and uncomfortable. [/thrive_text_block]
Soft tackle boxes (Tackle bags or backpacks)
A soft tackle box is ideal for anyone looking for a lightweight design that can still be accommodated by the kayak’s small storage space. On the other hand, the size ranges of soft tackle bags vary great. Therefore, size is one of the first things you will want to consider when choosing a tackle bag. The bag should be able to hold all your fishing gear and everything else you need while on your fishing trip. Other important features you need to consider include the quality of the material, number of compartments, quality of the zipper, quality of the stitching and style among other value added items.
Benefits of soft tackle bags
The lightweight design of soft tackle bags is the main characteristic that makes them ideal for kayak fishing. A hard tackle box can be quite heavy even without fishing accessories inside and this makes it a bit of a load especially when using it on your kayak. Weight is where soft tackle bags really excel. Remember, hard tackle boxes are usually pretty heavy at purchase and grow more so as you add more tools, lures, baits and accessories into their compartments. A soft tackle bag replaces the hard plastic or steel shell with a fabric exterior which weighs significantly less.
Highly flexible and easy to store
Besides cutting down on weight, soft tackle bags have a flexible design which makes them easier to store than hard tackle boxes. Therefore, if you need to cram a few extra accessories into the tackle box, a soft tackle bag affords you more wiggle room than a hard tackle box. This feature makes them the best tackle bags especially if you’re looking for a flexible and easy-to-store item. The rigidity of a hard tackle box makes them more unwieldy and cumbersome when storage time comes.
Extra storage pockets
If hard tackle boxes offer more storage, soft tackle boxes offer extra storage pockets for other fishing essentials or extra clothes. The wealth of exterior compartments and pockets available on soft tackle bags provides extra storage room. Therefore, whether you need a place to carry your water bottle or just require to fit additional reels and tools, the exterior compartments on a soft tackle bag provides extra storage room that you won’t find on a hard tackle bag.
Comfortable and easy to carry
Some soft tackle bags come with a strap so you can easily sling them over your shoulder. Soft tackle bags enhance the mobility of your fishing accessories by providing backpack style straps or a shoulder strap for maximum convenience and comfort. This is a huge benefit especially when you’re lugging your fishing gear from your car to your boat and vice versa.
Convenient switch-out options
Soft tackle bags utilize utility boxes which can be easily mixed and matched, removed, or switched out to ensure that you only carry that tackle you need on any trip. Therefore, you can easily switch out the various different utility boxes as different seasons come and go throughout the year.
Disadvantages of soft tackle bags
- Some soft tackle bags are not water resistant and they won’t keep your fishing gear and accessories dry
- The stitching, fabric and zippers won’t last as long as hard tackle boxes.
Choosing the best tackle box can prove to be a daunting task particularly because there are many different types of tackle boxes available on the market.
However, it’s essential to ensure that the tackle box you choose provides ease of use a good organization. It is also worth noting that large-sized tackle boxes may be bulky and heavy. In fact, many anglers do not consider large tackle boxes as a practical option.
Sometimes you may need a large-sized box especially when you need to pack large-sized gear and accessories for your fishing trip. However, if you don’t go fishing on a regular basis or if it’s just a hobby, you can buy a small-sized tackle box.
You need to consider other features such as water resistance, space, durability and expansion before you purchase a particular tackle box. There are many different makes, brands and models in the market these days and you can rest assured that you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.