A lot of fishermen will tell you the key to having a successful fishing outing is having the right rod and reel combination. Although this is true, another big part of being successful when fishing also comes from having a properly outfitted tackle box. It’s absolutely essential no matter what type of fish you are trying to catch or what type of body of water you are fishing in. So what do you look for when shopping for a new tackle box? We are about to tell you all about that so you can find the best tackle box to help you greatly increase your chances for fishing success.
In this article, we talk about what characteristics of tackle boxes make them ideal to purchase. We will also do some tackle box reviews on the very top ones available in the fishing equipment marketplace. You will get all the information you need here to make a very good tackle box purchase.
- Best water-resistant saltwater tackle box: Plano 7771-01 Guide
- Best tackle box with spacious storage: Plano 137401 By Rack System
- Angled tackle box for easy access: Plano Angled
- Most versatile hard-shell tackle box: Flambeau Outdoors 6383
- Best beginner fishing tackle box: Plano Magnum 2 Sided
- Best small tackle box: Plano Small 2 Sided Tackle Box
- Best boat tackle box: Plano classic
- Budget-friendly tackle box: Flambeau Outdoors 6382TB
Best Tackle Boxes
1. Plano 7771-01 Guide
BEST WATER-RESISTANT SALTWATER TACKLE BOX
The Plano Company is well-known for making some exceptional tackle boxes. This one from them does nothing to hurt that reputation. With features like its top access with DuraView lens and three totally removable bait racks, this tackle box makes it easy to quickly find the rubber worms, lures, split shot, and other line riggings that you need.
This Plano hard-side tackle box has a generous size at 22” x 13” x 13”. It even will accommodate many larger size lures as well. There is also a compartment that will hold bigger size spinnerbaits. The only problem with that is you have to purchase the bait rack for it separately.
If you own this tackle box you will never need to carry a second tackle box with you again. It’s also hard to go wrong purchasing a tackle box that comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
2. Plano 1374 4-By Rack System
BEST TACKLE BOX WITH SPACIOUS STORAGE
Here is yet another well-designed Plano tackle box. It’s a larger size tackle box (16-1/2” x 12” x 16”) that is great for fishing trips where you will go after more than one type of fish. It’s a hard-sided tackle box features top access convenience with a see-through cover.
Included in the package are four 3700 utility boxes which are interchangeable with other Plano 3700 series tackle boxes. This makes this Plano tackle box very nice to pair up with some smaller Plano tackle boxes. All you have to do is choose the right utility box from this bigger tackle box and insert it into the smaller 3700 series tackle box.
If you purchase a separately sold storage box, this larger size 16-1/2” x 12” x 16” tackle box can even hold spinnerbaits. It comes with a comfort grip carrying handle and like all Plano products has a limited lifetime warranty too.
3. Plano Angled
ANGLED TACKLE BOX FOR EASY ACCESS
With a third tackle box so far in our countdown of the best ones, you have probably guessed by now that Plano is one of the best tackle box manufacturers. This is a very unique tackle box that they have designed here. It’s a rare angled corner tackle box from them that’s very innovative and well-designed. This medium size tackle box measures 18” x 9.5” x 10.5”.
Among its main features are its three included 2-3650 stowaway utility boxes. It also features ‘DuraView’ lens cover and doors to help you easily locate compartment items. The latching system on this tackle box is very solidly built and it includes under the lid bulk storage too.
This is a slightly more portable tackle box than the large size Plano tackle boxes that we reviewed before it. It feels much lighter than its listed 9-pound weight too. This also comes with Plano’s popular limited lifetime warranty.
4. Flambeau Outdoor 6383
MOST VERSATILE HARD-SHELL TACKLE BOX
If you want a tackle box that has some nice storage space but is still highly portable, then check out this tackle box closely. Flambeau is known for making tackle boxes that are affordable and well-designed like this one. It’s a medium-sized 16” x 9” x 8.2” tackle box that contains some 32 tray compartments. Many of those are customizable or removable. That makes it easy to make compartments for even the biggest size lures that you want to take on your fishing trip.
It’s a hard-sided tackle box that is oil-resistant and durable. This tackle box seals up tight too, thanks to its sturdy Drawtite™ latching system. Flambeau even backs this tackle box up with a fairly decent 1-year warranty. It has also become a favorite of those that need to make highly organized and portable first-aid kits. At 2.8-pounds it’s the 2nd lightest tackle box of all of the ones we reviewed here.
5. Plano Magnum 2 Sided
BEST BEGINNER FISHING TACKLE BOX
Gaining access to baits, lures and other fishing line riggings does not get any easier than with Magnum tackle box. It’s a convenient two-sided tackle box that allows you to access compartments on either side of it by simply turning it over.
There are even some spaces in it for fairly big size lures.
It has a durable polypropylene construction that makes it almost crush-proof and weatherproof. This medium size tackle box measures 13 x 19″ x 4″. It contains some 19 interior storage cubbies with the largest of them being 4.4”.
Many people choose this tackle box for doing other things besides carrying fishing tackle too. It can be found holding nuts, bolts, and screws in a workshop and be used for holding accessories to do crafts with too. At a little over 3 pounds empty it makes for a very portable tackle box too.
6. Plano Classic
BEST BOAT TACKLE BOX
This is a sturdy plastic tackle box from Plano that is both versatile and inexpensive. At just over 3-pounds it’s also very lightweight and portable. It’s the perfect companion for a day or evening spent fishing. This medium size tackle box measures 16” x 9” x 8.5”.
It features two top access storage areas and three cantilever trays that total from 22 to 34 compartments depending on how you set them up. The versatility this tackle box offers is the reason that many anglers choose it. It can handle toting even larger size lures too.
What else is there to like about this highly portable tackle box. It is built using sturdy plastics and has a well-constructed brass-bailed latch. The handle also collapses so it does not get in the way when the tackle box is open. This comes with Plano’s standard limited lifetime warranty.
7. Flambeau Outdoors 6382
BUDGET-FRIENDLY TACKLE BOX
Quality and affordability rarely come in one tackle box package but that’s what you get with this tackle box from Flambeau. It’s perfect for anyone who wants a smaller size tackle box that will still hold quite a few different lures, hooks, and line riggings. It’s super-portable at a little over 2 ½-pounds too.
This tackle box measures 14” x 8” x 7.5” but still offers many different size compartment options. That’s fairly unique for a smaller size tackle box. There are a lot of features built into it such as the increased storage area in its base and a solid securing Drawtite™ latching system.
It has 8 storage tray compartments and 6 dividers to help customize the size of those storage compartments. Most anglers choose tackle boxes like this one because of the versatility they offer. There is also a flip-top accessory compartment in the lid and built-in tip-guard cantilever tray supports.
What is a Fishing Tackle Box?
We have all seen the photos and videos of a guy fishing with a hat and a vest that is loaded with hooks and lures. It may look funny but that’s exactly what avid anglers used to wear in order to keep their fishing tackle close at hand. Thankfully those days are long gone now that there is such a large variety of tackle boxes available. They make it very easy to carry your fishing support gear and everything you need to rig your line for a day or night spent fishing.
So what exactly is a fishing tackle box? You may want to think of it as a tackle box for fishermen. Outside of a rod, reel, and fishing know-how, it’s perhaps the other most important fishing accessory. Items anglers typically carry in a fishing tackle box include such things as lures, sinkers, artificial baits, extra line, and even Band-Aids. Now there is no more loading of lures and selecting the rigging items you need for a fishing trip, you simply grab your tackle box and are ready to go.
The key component of any tackle box is its many storage compartments. They help fishermen to be able to quickly find and change the lures or baits that are at the end of their lines and stay organized while doing it. At first, tackle boxes were all made of hard plastic but even that has changed. Now you will find them with soft sides too. That makes them more like an easy-to-carry a piece of shoulder luggage than you would expect a normal fishing tackle box to be.
Tackle boxes are not only used by fishermen either. Many purchase them to make into handy first-aid kits and they also make excellent storage boxes for craft parts and other things such as nuts, bolts, and screws.
7 Things to Consider When Buying a Tackle Box
Here are some of the main characteristics of tackle boxes to consider when you are looking to buy a new one.
- Size/Number of Compartments
Of course one of the most important things you have to decide when shopping for a new fishing tackle box is how big you want your new tackle box to be. This is not as easy as it seems because they are literally hundreds of different size tackle boxes available in the fishing gear marketplace today. This speaks to the popularity of the sport in the USA and all over the world.When you are deciding on the size of the fishing tackle box you mainly go by your own fishing habits and situation. You will have to factor in such things as if you will only keep your new tackle box on your fishing boat or will you use it in many different places for many different types of fishing. Larger tackle boxes work great for keeping a lot of fishing gear organized that tends to stay in one place. Smaller tackle boxes are best in situations where portability is more important than the amount of fishing gear carried.Also, the number of compartments you wish your new tackle box to have goes hand in hand with its size. So consider how many items you typically want to carry with you on most of your fishing excursions.
Here are the two main types of fishing tackle boxes that are widely popular today. There are slight differences between them but you really can’t go wrong purchasing either type of tackle box. Personal preference plays a big role here in deciding which type to buy.
When hard-sided tackle boxes first came into the marketplace they changed the entire sport of fishing. Now anglers had the perfect way to carry their fishing gear, keep it organized, and have easy access to it when fishing. They not only kept one’s fishing gear organized, but they also kept it from getting damaged as it was being taken from place to place.
When many think of fishing tackle boxes, they typically get a picture in their mind of a hardened plastic tackle box. While many still are made that way, you can now also by soft-sided tackle boxes too. These are usually worn over the shoulder and some are even worn like backpacks. They are much more portable and easy to carry than their rigid-sided counterparts.
We will talk in more detail about soft vs. hard-sided tackle boxes later on in this article.
How you access your lures, artificial baits, and other gear in your tackle box is important to consider too. These are the three main types of access that a majority of tackle boxes offer.
Top access tackle boxes dominate the marketplace. These are built so the lid opens up and exposes the compartments inside of them. Many times there are even small compartments built right into the lid itself too. They come in all different sizes.
These types of tackle boxes have no lid. They have one or two sides that are see-through in nature. You simply face the side up that you want to select your fishing gear from. These are usually smaller and lighter-weight tackle boxes.
Tackle boxes like these are getting more and more popular today. They not only offer top access but usually have side access with pullout or removable trays too. These types of tackle boxes are usually larger and heavier because of the large amount of fishing gear they hold.
Once again much of your decision making here comes down to personal preference.
If portability is a concern you will definitely want to consider the weight of any tackle box you are thinking about buying. Obviously, the lighter the tackle box the easier on you that tackle box will be to transport. This is not much of a factor if your tackle box will remain in one place all of the time. Most every style of tackle box lists its weight on the packaging. You can also get this information from the manufacturer’s website if shopping online.
- Type of compartments
Here are the different types of compartment options you will find on modern tackle boxes.
There has been a big trend these days toward tackle boxes that have been built with pullout compartments. These allow for easy side access and are often combined with tackle boxes that offer top access too.
- Removable trays
These are like having mini tackle boxes that are placed into a larger tackle box for ease of carrying. They offer a lot of convenience and versatility.
- Top lid accessory compartment
What’s the easiest way to quickly change lures and baits when fishing? It’s to have a fishing tackle box that has see-through compartments built into its lid.
These are the original type of tackle boxes that are still very popular today. Once you open the lid all of the hinged together storage trays rise and spread out for easy access.
Many people want to organize their fishing tackle box to suit their individual needs. If that’s you too, then you will want one where you can add and remove sections to change their sizes.
- Latching system
Whether you are talking about zippers or flip-up latches you will want your tackle box to stay securely shut when you are transporting it. Such things as metal zippers and latches with brass bails will often last longer and close more securely than their all plastic counterparts.
Fishing tackle box can be bought for less than $10 or they can go for several hundred dollars. If you own one of the more expensive types of tackle boxes a good warranty becomes even more important. So when shopping for a new tackle box, consider how long the warranty is that comes with it and exactly what parts of the tackle box it covers.
Hard vs. Soft Tackle Boxes
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each main type of fishing tackle box. Keep in mind there really is no bad choice here. Both will help you carry and keep your fishing gear very organized.
Soft-Sided Tackle Box (also known as a tackle bag)
As was mentioned, no longer are all tackle boxes made out of hard plastic anymore. Some are now made out of materials similar to backpacks and duffel bags. They offer the ultimate in easy carrying style tackle boxes. The best tackle bag products are just as popular as hard-sided tackle boxes these days. Our extensive guide on fishing backpacks will even tell you how to find these easy to transport soft-sided tackle boxes.
- These are usually very easy to carry as they are usually worn over the shoulder.
- Being lightweight and extremely portable is one of the biggest advantages you get with soft-sided tackle boxes.
- Soft-sided tackle boxes are great when you are taking airplanes, ships or other forms of mass transportation to your fishing destination. That’ because they are built very much like typical carry-on luggage.
- Usually, these are highly water-resistant and totally enclosed to protect gear.
- Larger soft-sided tackle boxes enable you to carry much fishing tackle very comfortably.
- Because of their softer sides, this type of tackle box is easier to pack into tight spaces.
- Soft-sided bags offer slower access to fishing gear. That’s because their compartments are fully enclosed and have to be unzipped to get the gear out.
- Can be cut or damaged slightly easier than hard-sided tackle boxes.
- These offer very few options as far as customization is concerned. That’s because they usually are made up of several mini tackle boxes inside of them instead of having compartments.
- Soft-sided tackle boxes do not allow air to get to the gear. This could make some artificial baits and worms too soft to use on hot days.
Hard-Sided Tackle Box
These rigid-sided tackle boxes have been the mainstay for fishermen for many decades now. Over that time there has been many variations and helpful innovations built into them. Although soft-sided tackle bags are catching up to them, these still remain by far the most popular type of tackle boxes made.
- There is a huge selection of types and sizes available. Everyone should be able to find one that fits their needs and budget.
- This style tackle box offers fast access to your fishing gear. Many of the compartments on them are see-through to enable you to locate items in them quickly. Some even have easy access compartments built right into their lids.
- Their sturdy exterior construction offers very good damage protection for their contents
- Many times the compartments in hard-sided tackle boxes are customizable. That means you can adjust your compartment sizes according to personal preference.
- These can be very bulky and hard to carry. Larger size ones can be very heavy to carry when fully loaded.
- They can sometimes be hard to pack because they offer no flexibility.
- Hard-sided tackle boxes are not really suitable for travel on airplanes and other types of mass transportation. Baggage handlers are not known for handling this type of equipment with care.
Plano Vs Flambeau Tackle Box
These are two very popular names when it comes to fishing tackle boxes. Which one is better or offers you the most? That totally depends on what you are looking for in your new tackle box.
Here is a quick overview of these popular fishing tackle box brands:
This is definitely one of the most budget-friendly brands of fishing tackle boxes you will find in the fishing marketplace. Don’t mistake that for meaning these are not good tackle boxes. Despite their lower cost, they are still built well and designed with great space utilization and many well-placed compartments. Most of their tackle box models are lightweight and portable too.
Plano Moldings has been manufacturing fishing tackle boxes for many decades now. They have been a leader and innovator in tackle box manufacturing during that time. Their tackle box products have some of the highest quality ratings and the price of them reflect that also. The company makes a wide variety of tackle boxes to choose from. That makes it easy for anglers to find a type of tackle box that suits them perfectly.
What You Should Have In Your Tackle Box?
Are you a novice fisherperson who is just starting to gear up and enjoy your new hobby? If so, you may be wondering what most anglers keep in their fishing tackle boxes. Here is a list of the most commonly found items in any fishing tackle box setup.
- Rubber worms/Artificial baits
- Split shot/Sinkers
- Extra line
- Needle nose pliers
- Scissors/Nail clippers
- Small first-aid kit
- Filet knife
Keep in mind this is not a rigid list that will satisfy everyone. Personal preference plays a big part in what goes into any tackle box.
What Should Be In A Bass Tackle Box?
Are you one of those anglers that prefer to go after bass? And why not, these are fish that put up a great fight for their size and make a tasty meal if you catch ones that are big enough to keep. Here is what you will need in your tackle box to help you catch these crafty fish. Keep in mind that bass seems to switch from preferring live bait to hitting on lures and artificial baits at different times of the year. A well-stocked bass fishing tackle box and some experimentation are usually the key factors here.
- Artificial Worms/Finesse Worms
- Square Bills
- Spinner Baits
- Deep Diving Crankbaits
- Artificial Frogs
- Topwater Walking Bait
- Lipless Crankbaits
- Don’t forget the other essentials too. This includes extra line, needle-nose pliers (bass frequently swallow hooks), small first-aid kit, clippers, and a filet knife.
*** Hot Tip – If you are not sure what bass are hitting on in an area at the current time ask a local bait shop owner. They make it their business to know what types of lures and baits fishermen are currently having success with. ***
Here are some of the most often asked questions we get regarding fishing tackle box management.
- Question: What’s an easy way to find newer artificial baits and lures that have come into the marketplace to put in my tackle box?
Answer: I am happy you asked this question because keeping up with new and improved lures and artificial bates is hard. Here is what I can suggest to you. Many bait suppliers and other fishing tackle suppliers are now offering subscriptions to get newer fishing products. These subscriptions have fancy names like ‘Mystery Tackle Box’ and Outsiders Tackle Box’. The subscriptions are usually very low cost and will get you new lures and baits to try each month. Many of my friends enjoy these subscriptions very much and catch some good size fish with these products too.
- Question: Is it better to have pullout compartments in a large size tackle box or totally removable ones?
Answer: This would be totally personal preference with a few possible exceptions. If you use your tackle box to go after a wide variety of fish, then use totally removable compartments because they act as mini tackle boxes. Pull-out compartments offer quicker access and more convenience. If you are having trouble deciding you may even want to go with a combination tackle box that has both. That way you get the best of both worlds.
- Question: Which is more waterproof; a tackle box or tackle bag?
Answer: Here you can basically go with a coin flip depending on the quality of the tackle box or soft-sided tackle box that you purchased.
Just because a rigid-sided tackle box is made of plastic does not mean water will not get inside to the contents and start to corrode them. The quality of the latch and the seal between the lid and the box are very important here. A manufacturer will usually state how water-resistant their particular tackle boxes are.
The same goes for tackle carry bags. Some of the higher-quality ones are made with waterproof materials and tightly sewn zippers on their compartments. That usually only makes these soft-sided tackle boxes water-resistant and not totally waterproof. Lower quality tackle bags may allow water to pass right through the material.
We find it hard to believe that any tackle box or tackle bag can claim to be totally waterproof.
Don’t forget to check out our roundup of the high-quality fishing rod reviews.
Without a doubt, the best tackle box will help you stay organized while fishing and provide you with different options for fishing success and enjoyment. Just remember there are many different types of tackle boxes available in the fishing marketplace. Keep in mind that it’s very important to factor in what type of tackle you want to carry on your fishing trips and how portable you need your tackle box to be when carrying this gear.
Our buying guide in this article will definitely help you out there. So make sure you look it over and use the advice there while shopping. With our tackle box reviews, we have done all of the heavy lifting for you as far as finding a good tackle box goes. Any of them would make a great purchase if one of them fits your size requirements. Put all of our advice here together and you should have no problems finding the perfect fishing tackle box for your needs.