When it comes to stuff, anglers bring it. Literally. Crankbaits, surface lures, spoons, spinners, plastics, bait, hooks, floats, sinkers, leaders, pliers—we need to take it all with us on the water, because we never know what the fish will hit on any given day. Add in other essentials like a cell phone, water, sunglasses, and the like, and it’s easy to understand why a tackle carrier is a crucial piece of fishing gear.

There are three basic types of tackle carriers: Tackle bags, tackle boxes, and tackle packs. Here’s how to choose the best one for you.


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Tackle bags are a relatively recent innovation. They consist of a sturdy, soft-sided bag that is customized to carry tackle trays—small boxes with anywhere from 6 to 12 or more slots. You put your lures and other gear in the slots, and then put the trays in the bag.

The great advantage of a tackle bag is that it allows you to both organize your tackle, and customize your gear for each trip. For instance, you can put all of your deep-diving lures in one tray, and all of your surface lures in another, and if you’re fishing for, say, walleyes, you won’t need those surface poppers you use for bass. All you need are more trays.

Tackle bags are available in several different sizes, and are best for anglers who have a lot of tackle, or who fish for several species. Look for one that’s made of tough material, is water resistant, and has pockets for gear like smartphones.

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It’s hard to beat the classic toolbox-style tackle boxes, and they’re popular for a very good reason: simplicity. You open the box, revealing one or more folding trays with individual lure slots. You pick a lure and close the box back up. They’re simple, easy, and fast. They’re also sturdy and will stand up to a lot of banging around.

Another advantage of the tackle box is the large space at the bottom, where you can keep snacks, a water bottle, or packages of artificial bait. Small tackle boxes with one tray are ideal for anglers who are just starting out, and large boxes work for the angler with a lot of gear.


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If you fish rivers and streams, or otherwise walk to your fishing spot, the tackle backpack is the perfect choice. It’s a lot easier and much more comfortable to carry than a tackle box or bag, because you wear it. That also frees up your hands to carry a fishing rod and other gear.

Tackle backpacks are designed to hold tackle trays, so you can simply reach in and pull out the tray that contains the tackle you want. Some tackle backpacks also have exterior pockets and slots for additional gear, so you can fit everything you need for a fishing trip into the pack.