Nothing says fishing like the heady odor of a well-used tackle box. For most anglers, just the smell is enough to get the blood pumping, because when you open your tackle box it means you’re going fishing. The right tackle box will be large enough to carry all of your fishing supplies—lures, pliers, hooks, sinkers, extra fishing line, jigs, and baits—without being overly bulky. It should have plenty of compartments that allow you to organize your gear, keep it from tangling, and have it all easily accessible. These are the best tackle boxes for every angler.
- Best Classic Fishing Tackle Box: Plano Tackle Box
- Best Utility Tackle Box: 4007 Tuff Tainer
- Best Fishing Tackle Bag: Bass Pro Shops Extreme Qualifier 350 Tackle Tote Bag
- Best Fishing Tackle Backpack: Bass Pro Shops Advanced Anglers II Backpack
- Best Kids Tackle Box: Plano Ready-Set-Fish 1-Tray Tackle Box for Kids
- Best Cheap Tackle Box: Plano StowAway 2-Sided Tackle Box
What type of tackle box should you get?
Though a fishing tackle box will not directly determine how many fish you catch, it will make a big impact on your day on the water. You can’t catch fish if you’re not prepared, and the right tackle box is key.
The classic tackle box is a plastic or aluminum box with a secure latch or latches on the front. It looks similar to and opens much like an old-school tool box. This style of fishing box typically includes one or more (sometimes many more) trays that accordion out when you open the box. Each tray has several distinct compartments that allow you to store individual lures and other tackle items. These slots keep lures from tangling with each other, and also allow easy access to hooks and sinkers. The large space on the bottom holds larger pieces of gear, such as hook disgorgers and spare reel spools.
There are many variations on this tried and true style of tackle box. If you like to head on backcountry expeditions, look for a small tackle box that fits easily inside of a backpack. If you’ll be fishing from a boat, opt for a standard tackle box that allows quick access to tackle. If you change fishing spots often, consider a fishing tackle backpack, which combines the storage capabilities of a tackle box with a backpack that also has room for personal supplies.
There’s nothing wrong with going old-school
There are a lot of new developments in tackle boxes, but for many anglers, a classic tackle box will do just fine—as long as it has enough space and storage compartments for your gear. (And an old-school tackle box will give you that nostalgic feel that your dad’s old tackle box did, which for most anglers is a feeling that can’t be beat.)
If you’re considering an old-school tackle box, look for a double-decker—or “two-tray”—tackle box. This won’t give you as much storage capabilities as the larger ones that are available today, but a two tray box is a good compromise between size and portability. If you think you’ll need more room, go with a three-tray box (it’s surprising how quickly a tackle box can fill up with tackle!).
Best Classic Fishing Tackle Box: Plano Tackle Box
The Plano Tackle Box comes with one-, two-, and three-tray options, all of which boast the company’s classic design. Regardless of which model you choose, you get a strong, durable fishing tackle box with cantilevered tackle trays that will help you stay organized on the water.
A utility tackle box is small and made of clear plastic that allows you to see what is stored inside when it’s closed. They’re just one-level and don’t have extending trays like a traditional tackle box.
There are several key advantages of using a utility box. You can look at your tackle without opening the box, which is especially helpful on windy days. The rigid compartments prevent fragile flies and lures from breaking apart and wearing out. Most lure boxes even allow you to adjust the sizes of compartments and customize the box to your gear and preferences. You can easily pack one inside of a backpack and bring it with you deep into the backcountry, or buy several and carry them in a tackle bag (see below).
Best Utility Tackle Box: 4007 Tuff Tainer
It’s made with 12 adjustable dividers that can create up to 24 different compartments. Flambeau Outdoors
The 4007 Tuff Tainer is made with anti-corrosion technology to protect hooks and lures against rust. The dividers are adjustable, and the twin latches close securely.
The tackle bag is the modern tackle box
In recent years, fishing bags have become popular among all types of anglers. Fishing bags serve the same purpose as tackle boxes except they are soft-sided and are designed to hold individual lure boxes. That means an angler can keep lure types—soft plastics, crankbaits, topwater lures, deep-diving lures—in separate boxes. The bags allow easy storage of the lure boxes, and quick access to them.
Tackle bags come in either tote- or sling-carry designs. Sling carry tackle bags are ideal for carrying long distances, while tote bags are carried similarly to a conventional tackle box.
Best Fishing Tackle Bag: Bass Pro Shops Extreme Qualifier 350 Tackle Tote Bag
It’s a quality fishing bag with multiple pockets and pouches that can hold up to five utility tackle boxes. Bass Pro Shop
Bass Pro Shops Extreme Qualifier 350 Tackle Tote Bag is a great do-it-all tackle bag. It comes at a reasonable price point and a heavy-duty, water-repellent vinyl bottom. Easy access zipper pockets allow storage of pliers, spools, and other items.
A fishing tackle backpack is best for the roaming angler
Fishing tackle boxes are built to be carried much like a lunch or tool box. This carrying style is good for short trips from your house or vehicle to a boat or the water’s edge. But many anglers prefer taking the trail less traveled and getting into more remote stretches of water. If you like to hike or bike for several miles to reach secluded fishing spots, get a fishing tackle backpack.
A good fishing backpack has numerous compartments that you can access individually, much like a normal tackle box. The fishing backpack should have enough storage to carry all of your gear, as well as a water bottle and food. Most fishing tackle backpacks come equipped with compatible utility boxes. All you have to do is load it up with your gear and go.
Best Fishing Tackle Backpack: Bass Pro Shops Advanced Anglers II Backpack
It’s a well-made fishing backpack with all the features and storage capabilities you could ask for. cabelas
The Bass Pro Shops Advanced Anglers II Backpack is a well-made backpack made with durable and water-resistant 600-denier polyester. It has an array of different-sized easy-access pouches, a top loading compartment for bulky items, and two tool holsters. It comes with four utility boxes in three sizes. With added features such as a sunglasses pocket and water hydration bladder compatibility, it’s a great option for the angler on the go.
What makes the best kids tackle box?
Does your kid have the fishing bug? If so, one of the first pieces of fishing gear you should buy for your kid is their own tackle box. This will help them take ownership of their fishing at a young age. With a tackle box, they can store and organize their own gear, learn how to rig up, and start fishing on their own. This kind of freedom combined with responsibility is key to their growing interest in fishing.
A good tackle box for kids is durable and will stand up to abuse on the water. It blends functionality with a fun, kid-friendly design. It should be small enough to lug to the neighborhood pond, while still having plenty of room to store the essential fishing equipment needed to catch a mess of trout or panfish.
Best Kids Tackle Box: Plano Ready-Set-Fish 1-Tray Tackle Box for Kids
It’s a simple, functional tackle box made with a kid-friendly lime green design. cabelas
The Plano Ready-Set-Fish 1-Tray Tackle Box is a great option for any young angler. The durable hard-plastic construction and brass bail latch will endure rough handling, and a full-size, 10-compartment lift-out tackle tray comes loaded with essential tackle.
Budget Tackle Boxes: What you get for under $8
Tackle boxes aren’t very expensive, with the exception of some high-end fishing backpacks. That said, the very least expensive tackle boxes are made with low-quality plastic, have weak hinges and latches, and can break easily. If you’re going for a budget tackle box, make sure it’s made by a reputable manufacturer.
Best Cheap Tackle Box: Plano StowAway 2-Sided Tackle Box
The Plano StowAway 2-Sided Tackle Box is a simple and inexpensive lure box. It’s small and will only store small baits and terminal tackle. The size makes it a great pick to stash in a backpack and bring with you on backcountry adventures.
Q: What is a good tackle box?
A good tackle box is durable, has enough room to store your tackle so it doesn’t tangle, and compartments to keep it all organized. Many tackle boxes have adjustable compartments which can help you tailor the box specifically to your fishing equipment.
Q: Who makes the best tackle boxes?
Who makes the best tackle box depends on who you talk to. Plano tackle boxes are ubiquitous, but plenty of other fishing supply companies make quality tackle boxes as well.
Q: What should be in a beginner’s tackle box?
What should be in a bigger tackle box are the essentials required to catch fish. This changes depending on where you fish and what species you target, but it’s typically a supply of hooks, sinkers, bobbers, lures and other terminal tackle, as well as a pair of long-nosed pliers to remove hooks, and line cutters if the pliers don’t have that. A simple pair of fingernail clippers will work to cut fishing line.