The Tacky Fly Box

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Louis Cahill Photography

Louis Cahill Photography

By Justin Pickett

It’s been quite some time since there has been any kind of advancement in the fly box.

From the wool patches and Wheatley fly boxes of older times. To the eventual march towards foam lined plastic and other gadgets like Fishpond’s Sushi Roll, and Cliff’s numerous offerings. While all of these companies make great fly boxes and fly storage options (I own many of them and have enjoyed them all), one thing persists….. Foam eventually wears out, breaks down, and has to either be replaced or you have to buy a new box altogether.

Then the Tacky Fly Box hit the scene.

The guys at Tacky Fly Fishing have developed a very durable, slim fly box with a very different material that hopes to change the game when it comes to holding onto your bugs. Instead of using the usual slit foam, they have taken the time to perfect a silicone material that is said to hold flies better, and be more durable. Sounds good, right? But how does it compare the competition?

The Tacky Fly Box currently comes in the three sizes; The Original, The Day Pack, and their newest offering, the Big Bug Box. All three are slim and functional, making it easy to slip into a pocket, or if you’re like me, it’s incredibly easy to store numerous boxes in your pack. Just this past week I was out on the water and had five Tacky Fly Boxes in my Umpqua Overlook chest pack and I still had room for my iPhone and some streamers. The tops of the boxes are held tightly by a couple of strong magnets and are clear, making identification easy.

The ONLY thing that I wish this Tacky box had is a water tight lid, but it certainly isn’t a deal breaker for me. It’s the silicone inserts that sets this box apart from others. The silicone holds flies firmly in their position. In my experience it does not wear out, and isn’t as susceptible to “injury” from hook points/barbs, as well as being resistant to fatigue and flaring. Foam, of course, is easily destroyed by hooks and its elastic properties aren’t its strong suit. This leads to flies rattling around in the box, or worse, falling from the box at inopportune moments once the foam is damaged and becomes fatigued causing the slit to flare out. The silicone in the Tacky Fly Box has been less susceptible to “injury” and has kept its elastic characteristics. I have had one of my Tacky boxes since they came out and if you set it next to the Tacky box I bought a few weeks ago, you can’t tell the difference. It still holds flies like it did on day one. I can’t say the same for my foam boxes.

So how well do these boxes hold on to flies? I decided to do a drop test with two different boxes. My first Original Tacky box, and another “big-name” competitor, slit-foam lined box. Both were purchased within a few weeks of each other and have had comparable use. I placed the same tungsten beaded flies in each box to be fair. I dropped them both from knee-height, waist-height, and shoulder height. The foam box fared well from the knee. Only a few flies shifted in their slots. From the knee, the Tacky Fly Box laughed at the attempt. Nothing budged. From the waist, the foam-lined box began to fail, leaving a couple of the heavier flies clanking around inside. The Tacky Fly Box was unruffled at this feeble attempt to cause failure. Nothing budged yet again. From shoulder height….. The foam box died. It even opened, spilling its contents. Only a couple of small midges remained in their slots. I thought for sure I’d get the Tacky box on this one, but again the Tacky Fly Box just did its thing and held onto all of the flies and its lid remained shut tight.  Only some of the larger, heavily beaded flies slipped just a little in their slots. Not one fly dislodged!

My conclusion – This fly box is badass!

Sure, foam fly boxes will get the job done, but their longevity and durability of the foam is their crutch. The Tacky Fly Box does not seem to have either of these issues, making it a sure fit in anyone’s arsenal of gear for the long haul. In my opinion they are well worth the investment!

Get Yours HERE!

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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14 thoughts on “The Tacky Fly Box

  1. This is so funny you posted this. 2 weeks ago I took a friend who had never fly fished up to the Smoky Mountains to learn how. The first day, we got a guide who had all the equipment my friend needed and he taught my buddy all the basics. The next day we continued to fish and I had enough fly rods but without the guide we had to rent some waders from Smokey Mountain Angler for my buddy. While I was there, I bought him a basic starter kit and he put it in an extra sling bag I brought with me. For that started kit I bought him a Tacky Fly Box. I was so impressed with it out on the river that I decided I wanted one. Turns out we bought the last one they had. So just yesterday I was on line trying to find where I can buy one of these for my trip to Montana next week and then you post this review. Hilarious.

  2. I bought two of these early in the year and I love them. I used one for all of my standard nymphs and another for my stonefly nymphs. They hold the flies well, the clear cover lets you grab the right box, and the foam is easy to work with. I will definitely be buying more of these as needed.

    • Loretta, thanks for bringing this up. These boxes are actually great for dry flies. Two of my original boxes are packed with various dry fly styles (hackles, parachutes, comparaduns, and your traditional winged dry). The vast majority of my flies have plenty of room between the wings/hackles and the lid. Only a few of my flies, which happen to be sz8 and up (stimulators mostly), have a clearance issue, but by no means are they crushed and is of no concern to me. I do know that there definitely isn’t any room for some of my large foam hoppers in this box, but that is why they developed the Big Bug version, which has plenty of room for your bigger patterns. Thanks for the comment!

      • I tend to agree with Loretta, and mostly use other boxes for dry flies. My issue with the tacky box for dries is the hackle being deformed on flies like griffith’s gnats or non-parachute adams, where the hackle is wrapped perpendicular to the hook shank. Parachute adams, however, work just fine in the tacky box.

  3. Yeah, I bought one when they first came out and now I have 4. Haven’t bought the big bug box yet but probably will. They are bullet proof and the perfect size.

  4. I added a tacky to my arsenal in July. Love the functionality. I have found that the clear cover is prone to scratch. I took a piece of clear adhesive tape and covered the lid. Bingo. Lid stays scratch-free and I can see all my flies.

  5. I’ve had the same foam boxes for years that work great from Allen flyfishing. IMO it seems a bit insane to spend $20 on one box when I can get 2 or 3 quality, slotted foam ones for the same price. But whatever makes you feel good.

  6. Hi! Louis Cahill,

    This article is helping me a lot to choose a great gift for my father’s birthday. Fishing is his hobby. He is now 65 years old. Last month in his birthday I gave him fishing set with Tacky fly box, backpack, Hat and polarized sunglasses for fishing. You know! he is very happy to get this gift. I saw this happiness spreading in his eyes.

    Actually, the credit goes to you. because several times he says about this fly box.
    So, thanks for this great article.

  7. Pingback: Fishpond Fishing Gear

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