By Joe Cermele
About 8 months ago I was leafing through Europe’s Angling International and a new creation from Spanish company Thinkfish caught my attention. Their new modular fly storage system, dubbed the FlyPad, had scored some awards at a major European tackle convention. Turns out that U.S. fly tackle maker Cortland was intrigued by the FlyPad, too, and they are now the official state-side distributor. That meant I was able to get my mitts on an early sample, and it’s a pretty innovative little item, though it does have pros and cons.
The main FlyPad storage box holds 8 fly trays that slide into shelves accessible via drop-down doors on both sides the the box. These trays snap into FlyPad fly boxes that are held in place with Velcro in recessed docks on the other sides of the storage box. The idea is that all your flies live in the main compartment, and when it’s time to fish, you just grab the trays you need, snap them into the boxes, put the boxes in your chest pack, and hit the water. The FlyPad’s main compartment is also ventilated so that wet flies will air dry.
For $80, you get the FlyPad storage box, 1 FlyPad fly box and 4 trays. Extra fly boxes will set you back $30 a piece, and extra trays (which are available in multiple configurations to hold different fly styles) will cost you $9.50 a piece.
As a whole, I think this system is unique and useful, especially for beginner or occasional fly anglers who don’t have enough flies and fly boxes to fill a kiddie pool. The problem for me is that I typically carry a lot more than 2 fly boxes, so out of the gate, I’d need to buy a few more if I wanted them to work with the snap-in trays. Of course, the storage box only holds two fly boxes, so I’d still have lots of loose ones laying around. I would use the FlyPad system less as a home base for all flies, and more for traveling to a particular body of water where I could load all trays only with flies for the task at hand, such as when going on a steelhead or bonefish trip.
I will say that if you need to carry a whole bunch of flies, the FlyPad system is pretty convenient. Once it’s loaded, and with two boxes strapped in place, it takes up very little room and will stop you from rooting for stuff streamside. What do you think?