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Experienced fly anglers know that a fly box does a lot more than just hold your flies.
While that is true, there are features to consider that make an average fly box, into the best fly box.
Fly anglers need gear that integrates to provide the most possible benefit.
Once you find the right vest or pack, you’ll need to find fly boxes that fit the pockets to maximize your storage.
That’s why Fly Fishing Atlas brings you our review of the best fly boxes.
We love solid fishing gear, and we appreciate a good fly box that performs and lasts for years to come.
We hope the article below will help you find exactly what you need.
Tacky Fly Boxes
Our top choice for best fly box goes to Tacky Fly Boxes. These handy fly boxes come in different sizes and designs to handle everything from big chunky streamers, to big dry flies, to tiny nymphs.
The boxes are made from a polycarbonate that is tough and ready for the rigors of heavy fishing.
The lid of the Tacky Fly Box is clear to allow anglers to see which flies are inside without opening the box. And the bright blue silicone insert provides great contrast for most fly patterns.
Speaking of that silicone insert, the material is much preferred over foam inserts that rip and shred apart over time. Slots within the silicone hold the flies securely and last for a super long time.
You won’t have to worry about breaking the latches on this fly box either, as Tacky Fly Boxes feature magnetic closures.
We’re big fans of the functional designs of Tacky Fly Boxes. They have you covered whatever you need. A sweet fly box for big hoppers and foam bodied bugs?
Just take a look at their Big Bug Box. While The Predator from Tacky Fly Box is another excellent option for your streamers.
Cliff Fly Box Bugger Beast
Streamer flies can present a challenge to the average fly box. Big flies take up a lot of space, and big barbed hooks can really tear up a foam insert.
That’s where Cliff fly boxes fill a much needed role. The Bugger Beast and Bugger Beast Jr. are really popular with fly anglers who throw big meaty flies.
The Bugger Beast measures in at 13.5″ x 9″ x 3″ and the Bugger Beast Jr. is just slightly smaller at 10″ x 6.5″ x 2.75″. Both can hold large streamer flies in mass quantity.
For professional fishing guides, fly tiers, and streamer fly aficionados, you won’t find a better box for all your streamer fly storage needs.
How to put flies in a fly box?
There are a huge number of fishing flies out there.
Organizing your fly box to get easy access to the exact flies that you need when you are on the water is an essential part of a great day’s fishing.
There is no one correct way to organize your fly box.
Here are some expert tips on how to do it, with a range of options:
- Be sure to use a fly box that properly fits all of your flies. Midge boxes and large streamer boxes are best.
- Keep the flies together according to their fly type.
- Have a specific box for dry flies, another for nymphs, streamers, bass poppers, etc.
- If using just one box, have separate areas for dry flys, nymphs, and poppers.
- You may choose to organize flies by their pattern type – imitative pattern flies that look like an insect in one section; attractive pattern flies in a section; search pattern type flies in a section; impressionistic pattern type flies in another section.
How to organize your fly box?
Here are some more suggestions as to how to organize your fly box:
By Profile and Weight – this can help to select the right fly for the depth of water.
By Seasons – This allows you to add a variety of flies into each box. The changing seasons affect the insect species as well as the habits of the fish, so organizing by season can be very effective.
By Water Type – If you regularly vary your fishing trips between such water types as rivers, lakes, and streams, this can be very a good method to use. However, it can lead to quite a bit of overlapping.
By Personal Preference – Once you have been fishing for a while, you will come to develop your favorite flies. Simply keep your best 20 flies in your main fly box using a simple coding system that allows you to pull out the right one at the right moment.
How many flies do you need?
If you are fishing in all water types, you will want to have four fly boxes as follows:
- Dry Flies
- Wet Flies / Terrestrials
For each type of fly, you should have 3 sizes; small/medium and large.
For streamers, your number one fly should be the ‘Black Woolly Bugger’. Have a variety of olive patterns in your range of 3-4 of these.
Add in some Clousers and Mickey Finns to round out your collection.
Your Dry Fly collection should include hares ear, prince nymph, pheasant tail, scuds in dark, medium and light colors.
Finally, add the following types of Terrestrials; black and red hoppers and ants, variously colored beetles and ants and hoppers.
Fly Box Features To Consider
Rugged construction is always beneficial, but your preference on what your fly box is made of will likely come down to function and aesthetics.
Regardless of whether your fly boxes are made from plastic, wood, or aluminum, we fly anglers like beautiful things.
Take trout for example. And a fly box that looks really nice, functions really well, and last for a long time is going to quickly ascend the ranks to receive the ‘best fly box’ title.
A clear lid can also help to see the inside from the outside.
A small fly box won’t hold but a handful of big chunky streamers.
Likewise, a really thick fly box full of a rocking nymph collection is going to be a huge waste of space compared to a thin box of equal size.
Having a good plan for what you are going to use your fly box for will go a long way toward maximizing storage.
Thin boxes are great for nymphs and thicker boxes for streamers and big bushy dry flies.
If you want your fly box to fit in a particular vest or chest pack, then you need to know the internal size of your pockets.
You can check with the manufacturer, take some measurements, or even make up a mock fly box out of cardboard to see what works.
The brand of the fly box is definitely something to consider.
Not only is there a manufacturers warranty involved, but the method that the fly box uses to retain the actual hook is also different from one company to another.
Some have a simple piece of foam that the hook is poked into. Others have tightly slotted foam or silicone that retains the bend of the hook after it is slipped into the slot.
A waterproof fly box can be really nice if you happen to drop it.
Now, in a fast flowing current that might not help you much unless you have a lanyard attachment to keep it from passing out of reach.
But in still waters, a waterproof floating fly box that drops out of your float tube or canoe will be easily retrieved and save you hundreds of dollars in replacement flies.