Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Inside the box

I was recently in a discussion with some well traveled fly fisherman and the topic of fly boxes came up. The group consensus seemed to suggest that the perfect box does not exist. Many felt that waterproofness was key and that strides have been made in this area but most felt that waterproof boxes were still too heavy. Weight was a big factor with this crowd. Lightweight boxes do exist but some felt that durability was often their weakness. Someone mentioned the new boxes that actually dry the flies with silica crystals. Others talked about preferring ripple foam for lining; others liked slits while some were most concerned about the structural materials and design. This made me wonder what you think. What do you use, like, hate or wish for in fly storage? If you are a retailer or manufacturer tell me what you sell. Think inside the box.


Anonymous said...

The 12-compartment 8-row waterproof fly box by C&F designs is the best box out there. It is a bit heavy though.

Unknown said...

For the salt I use a Finsport 8"x4" fly wallet that has ziplock bags inside. It's great for average sized clousers and deceivers and other 2-d flies, but spun deerhair flies require a separate box to avoid being squashed. The wallet is also nice because it's soft, so I can toss it right inside my waders when traveling light and not worry about it digging into my ribs.

Waterproofing isn't a concern for me. I don't often find myself in a situation where my flybox is underwater(if it is, I most likely have bigger problems than wet flies).

For my purposes, the finsport is pretty close to perfect. My only complaint is tha it could use to be a bit longer to accommodate some larger saltwater patterns - 10"x4" would be just about right.

For boat fishing, the Cliff's Bugger Beast is about the best I've seen.

Brambor said...

I fish primarily salt, and my fly selection is very limited - i.e. it is not necessary to carry a wide selection of flies. So, in salt it is inevitable that the fly will start corroding and it is also inevitable that the fly will get beat up and destroyed within a few weeks. So, I love the addition of magnets in garments and fishing bags although I have yet to try one. Maybe soon. Last year I just used one of the waterproof Pelican cases that weren't designed for flies. It worked fine. Flies still rusted though.

I try to go as light as possible. I often fish in a surf, being tossed around and things in pockets get in the way or get lost.

Anonymous said...

In a perfect world all my boxes would have embedded RFID tags, when lost I could track them with my hand held GPS device.

Ditto the C&F comment.

El Pescador said...

Diverse comments. I too like the Finsport wallet. I like their Bug Cage Jr. as well....but I do get wet and so do my fly boxes, especially when I'm wave-hopping. At times I think a ziplock baggie can't be beat. Check out these link for more info. on boxes mentioned:

Cliff's Bugger Beast -

Dry Tech MRT -

Finsport -

C&F -

Anonymous said...

Before commenting, I would like to say that I love this blog. I do not like "compartment" fly boxes because they tend to mess up dry-fly hackle tails. I do not like magnetic boxes because they also tend to matt hackles. Nubby tack is alright but does not hold flies securely. Finally, some fly boxes are too expensive. $40 for a C&F seems a bit outrageous to me.

Anonymous said...

As a person who mainly chases trout in the NE, I have to say the C & F slotted foam boxes are by far the best on the market. The small non water proof ones are light and hold a ton of flies close to 420 on the swing leaf one. What's more they're neatly organized and you can actually find what your looking for. I have a swing Leaf for nymphs and wets, two regulars for drys and a streamer version for the big mother stuff. Four light boxes and I can do battle just about anywhere normal size trout swim, whithout feeling weighted down. (though the beer in the back off the vest can bring about that feeling).

El Pescador said...

Adam, thanks for the compliment. I'll keep trying to make Way Upstream high quality but it's your voice and other voices that make it real. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Anon., noted on the C&F strategy. Thanks for sharing your set up.

Anonymous said...

I have to put my 2 cents in on this one -- our Finsport wallets have become increasingly popular with saltwater anglers around the world.

The variety of shapes and sizes make these wallets very appealing to the saltwater anglers. The zip lock bags on the inside keep your flies dry and protected until you're ready to fish them.

They are lightweight and soft-sided making them comfortable to carry. Finsport makes six
different sizes along with the Bug Cage Jr. The 2 most popular ones are the 10" x 7", and the 8"x4".
Check 'em out at our website:

Anonymous said...

What i would like to see is Patagonia to make eco-friendly ripple foam and adhesive that can be cut to size. Most of the fly boxes my friends and i carry are made from objects such as old 25 pack hook containers, video tape boxes, pieces of wood, etc.

I know others make ripple foam, but someone needs to market this product so that people will start thinking about exsisting things around the house, toolshed etc. that can have a second life.

p.s. the plano gasket boxes are sick for boat use and the blue ones fir PERFECTLY n the great divider bag.

El Pescador said...

Good suggestion Ketan. If there's "eco-friendly ripple foam" I'll find it. Regarding the custom boxes, I can relate. Thanks for the Plano gasket box tip and the GD functionality.

Anonymous said...

Big Sky Taku: The metal boxes that Altoids come in work well also (maybe not so good in the salt?). But being able to buy ripple foam that I can custom cut to fit in boxes like this, especially if it is somewhat "eco-friendly" would be great. Steve, good comments on the comments. I am finding that the diversity of comments and uses for product reviews on the net are much more useful than shops, catalogs, etc. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

The C&F Design waterproof boxes are my preference. I sure wish they'd make them out of a much lighter, but equally durable material.

They are indeed heavy, but, for now, I think they are the best on the market, at least for my needs.

El Pescador said...

I have to agree with you Shannon. The C&F boxes are very nice. Weight is the only concern. We'll see if Scientific Angler can get them on a diet. If you discover anything better let me know. Thank you for commenting here at Way Upstream.

Anonymous said...

El Pescador,

OT, but I sent an e-mail to your gmail account regarding the PFD Fly vest. Did you receive it.

Portland, OR

El Pescador said...

Email rcvd. Bryan. Stay tuned. I'm investigating.

Anonymous said...

Water tight is nice, but the kind of rubber band that is around bunches of asparagrass would take care of that problem. What I want is a white background in dark boxes. My first box had some sort of black velcro to hold the flies. Tough to see little dark flies.

El Pescador said...

I hope fly box manufacturers are listening.

Anonymous said...

I went through all of this fly box searching stuff years ago. The problem with boxes is they take up too much room for what they do. Plastic is an inflexible material and if in your waders is uncomfortable. They also hold the water that is shed from just used flies. And a fly box that you take with you wading just don't hold that many flies. How many boxes do you want to take with you?

I use a fly wallet that is made from heavy-duty cordura and artificial fleece. It holds a lot of flies and really large ones too. The materials are waterproof (saltwater-proof) so the water shed and evaporates quickly. It's less than 3/4" thick and 12" x 10" (12" x 4" closed). Get it from