Best Tackle Box – Buying Guide
Important Factors When Buying A Tackle Box
When buying a tackle box, there are multiple factors to consider. For example, size, the type of shell (hard or soft), the price, the material, and the configuration. A tackle box that is a perfect match with one angler, might be completely the wrong choice for another fishing enthusiast. Which is why it’s crucial to not just pick a tackle box with high consumer rating and fancy features, but one that actually ‘ticks the box’ for your requirements.
Below we’ve listed the most important factors to take into account when shopping for tackle boxes, allowing you to determine which type and style will be ‘the best’ for you. Get informed about the different possibilities, and learn how to find the best tackle box for your needs by using these handy criteria:
Type of Tackle Box
Generally, tackle storage products can be divided into 3 main types: hard tackle boxes, soft tackle bags/boxes, and tackle backpacks. Each has its characteristics, and pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at each category:
Hard Tackle Boxes
The hard tackle box is a classic choice to store your lures and bait. This trunk-style silhouette was originally a single-tray storage box made of wood or wicker but now comes in a variety of materials and configurations. The first plastic tackle boxes were created by Plano, who noticed anglers needed hard cases that didn’t rust or degrade such as wood or metal boxes did. Still a preferred material of choice, most hard-case tackle boxes are made of waterproof plastic compounds. A smart choice, as these are both lightweight and durable, plus easy to clean.
Most hard-shell tackle boxes have a trunk-style or suitcase-style silhouette with a handle at the top or side, and clips to lock the box. Some larger hard tackle boxes may also come with wheels, or an extendable handle for extra maneuverability.
Though the interior configuration of hard tackle boxes differs per brand and style, most designs will feature some sort of cascading/folding trays and/or a sliding drawer. These trays or drawers come with various smaller compartments, allowing you to easily organize your favorite lures. By keeping lures and jigs in various separate compartments or levels, you can quickly locate the right piece of equipment. Plus, this storage solution also ensures your fishing gear is less likely to get tangled, or damaged, during transport.
Soft Tackle Bags/ Soft Tackle Boxes
We’ve noticed that recently the popularity of soft tackle bags and soft-shell tackle boxes is on the rise. And it’s no surprise why these styles are becoming a go-to choice for anglers: as their portability is a big lure.
Soft tackle bags are often still shaped like a box/trunk, but the fabric material makes them more pliable and lightweight than plastic counterparts. The silhouette is most commonly made of nylon or polyester. Unlike hard-case tackle boxes that generally tend to only have a single handle, most soft tackle bags also come with a shoulder strap. Allowing you to easily sling it over your shoulder for extra comfort on the go.
Just like hard tackle boxes, the interior of a soft tackle bag will differ depending on the brand, size, and style. Though, as a general rule of thumb, look for a bag that has multiple compartments to keep your gear easily organized. Most soft tackle boxes will include various inner compartments and dividers, zippered pockets, and/or removable trays to comfortably store your lures, reels, and spools in one, lightweight silhouette. Some brands include removable plastic utility boxes with their soft-shell bags, which are quite similar to standard Tupperware containers. Though handy for storing tackle, these boxes don’t quite provide the same overview as tackle trays or drawers. So if a quick overview is a priority for you, a soft fishing tackle bag might not be your best choice, and we would recommend a hard tackle box instead.
Take a soft-shell tackle bag, add two shoulder straps, and voila: you’ve reached the final category: tackle backpacks. This style is the best of both worlds. Not only does it contain various dividers/compartments to keep your tackle safely secured, but the backpack-style silhouette makes it ideal for longer hikes or fishing trips. The added portability makes it a popular style for multi-day adventures where you have to carry your tackle over longer distances. A downside is, that just like soft-shell tackle boxes, a tackle backpack does not provide an instant overview of your gear. When opened, you’ll have to sift through the contents to locate pieces, instead of instantly seeing which tackle is where. Meaning that separate plastic containers are key to keeping your stuff organized inside the pack.
Disclaimer: we’ve chosen not to include any fly fishing tackle gear in this overview and buying guide, such as the “Go-To” Fly Box by New Phase. As fly fishing tackle boxes only caters to a very specific fishing type/type of fish. Instead, we’ve chosen to include versatile options that accommodate a range of tackle/lures/sinkers/fishing accessories, and other saltwater and freshwater fishing gear.
When looking for the best tackle box, size is one of the most important factors. Every angler needs a design large enough to store your supplies, but size-up too much and the tackle box can be heavy and difficult to carry. It’s tempting to choose a larger option, but you may not even need all that storage space.
Compare it to a closet for your clothes. You could buy a super large option that has enough room for all your 4-season clothing, but this will take up a lot of space and cost you a pretty penny. Or you could size down and simply alternate between your winter and summer wardrobe. The same goes for a fishing tackle box. You could buy a heavy-duty, extra-large size with dozens of storage compartments to fit all your tackle or gear. Or you could size down and simply pack it based on what gear you’ll be needing on that specific trip. If you’re going on an open-water adventure on a boat, you can leave your surf fishing lures at home. Or vice versa.
Sometimes bigger is indeed better, but when it comes to fishing tackle boxes, we prefer a mid-sized option that is both spacious enough for fishing essentials, yet also portable enough to easily carry to our favorite fishing spot. However, the choice is of course completely up to you!
The material of a tray tackle box or tackle bag depends mostly on the style. Hard-cased tackle boxes are generally made of metal or plastic, whilst soft shoulder bags and backpacks are produced of nylon or polyester fabrics. There’s not one material that reigns supreme, as each has its specific pros and cons.
Plastic is lightweight, corrosion-proof, easy to clean, and doesn’t retain odor. Metal is more durable but may be prone to rust depending on the type of metal alloy used. Fabric is even more lightweight than plastic, and its pliable qualities make it easier to compress during transport.
Overall, there’s a simple way to ensure the material of the tackle box lives up to expectation: make sure the material is a high-grade/top-grade choice. For example: if plastic, ensure it’s BPA-free and non-toxic. If nylon, ensure its a durable variety such as ripstop nylon with a water-resistant coating. And if metal, look for a corrosion-resistant option such as stainless steel. Regardless of which material you prefer, quality is key. Check what customer reviews are saying about the durability, waterproof qualities and wear and tear of the plastic/metal/fabric, etc. And double-check the specific type of material used, as listed by the manufacturer. Yes, we know this can be a laborious process, but if you want top performance in the long-term, it does help to do your research.
Fortunately, there is an alternative: our Best Tackle Box overview. All 5 options listed tick the box when it comes to quality and durability. With a big thumbs up from fellow angling enthusiasts. We’ve only included products that adhere to high-quality standards, to provide you with a premium selection available on Amazon that doesn’t disappoint.