Updated Aug 19, 2022 4:14 AM
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 box it means you’re going fishing. The right 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.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Tackle Box
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.
Type of box you want
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 utility 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 box will do just fine—as long as it has enough space and storage compartments for your gear. If you’re considering an old-school tackle box, consider what size you’ll want. A two-tray option would likely work for the casual angler. But if you like to carry a lot of tackle or just want the extra space, consider a three-tray option.
… But 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. Tackle bags come in either tote- or sling-carry designs. Sling carry tackle bags (or even tackle backpacks) are ideal for carrying long distances, while tote bags are carried similarly to a conventional tackle box.
What about portability?
For portability, you can use a utility box. A utility box is small and made of clear plastic that allows you to see what is stored inside when it’s closed. 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.
Or, just look for 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 Classic Fishing Tackle Box: Plano Tackle Box
It’s a quintessential, no-frills option. Plano
Why It Made the Cut
As classic as it gets, the hard plastic Plano Tackle Box offers one-, two-, and three-tray options that each have solid tackle space and storage.
- Classic hard plastic
- Cantilever trays
- Brass-bailed latch
- Simple design with plenty of storage
- Three size options
- Two top quick-access storage areas
- Not the best for carrying on foot
If you’re considering an old-school box, you’ll want to think about the size, how many trays you’ll get. 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 box with cantilevered tackle trays that will help you stay organized on the water.
For choosing the right size, start by looking at a double-decker—or “two-tray”—tackle box as a happy medium. 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 box can fill up with tackle!).
It’s made with 12 adjustable dividers that can create up to 24 different compartments. Flambeau Outdoors
Why It Made the Cut
An adjustable divider system with corrosion-defense technology makes this a standout utility box, though it comes at a routine price.
- Smart divider system
- Zerust anti-corrosion
- Translucent plastic
- Simple, easy identification outer
- 5-years of protection from the anti-corrosion
- Made in USA
- Other utility boxes can be just as effective
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.
Great for portability, utility boxes are 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. 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. 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.
The Tuff Tainer does all this, with the addition of an adjustable divider system, and the anti-corrosion technology to protect your tackle.
Why It Made the Cut
A great upgrade on the old-school box, this tackle bag offers easy storage and the ability to customize space with how many utility boxes you used.
- Water-repellent material with vinyl bottom
- Zippered compartments
- Space for five 350-utility boxes
- Plenty of additional storage
- Heavy-duty feel
- Material is more difficult than plastic to maintain
Like I said, the tackle bag is the modern-day tackle box, and the 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.
Tackle bags will hold individual lure boxes, so an angler can keep lure types—soft plastics, crankbaits, topwater lures, deep-diving lures—in separate spaces. The Qualifier 350 does so superbly well, allowing easy storage of the lure boxes, and quick access to them.
It’s a well-made fishing backpack with all the features and storage capabilities you could ask for. cabelas
Why It Made the Cut
Durable and water-resistant 600-denier polyester pair with the backpack carry to make this a great all-in-one option for adventurous anglers.
- Backpack carry
- Large storage compartments
- 600-denier polyester body
- Storage space and comfort when carrying
- Waterproof electronics pouch
- Rain cover
- Price, though it’s good for what you get
Fishing tackle boxes are built to be carried much like a lunch or tool box, fine 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, The Bass Pro Shops Advanced Anglers II Backpack is a perfect tackle backpack.
It’s 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.
Why It Made the Cut
Like Plano’s original, this tackle box is great because of its simplicity, especially durable for a young angler.
- Brass bail latch
- Pre-packed with starter tackle
- Kid-friendly color
- Kid-friendly size
- For a young angler, there’s not much wrong with it
The Plano Ready-Set-Fish 1-Tray Tackle Box is a great option for any young angler. One of the best pieces of fishing gear to buy for your kid is their own box. It’s the perfect way to help a young angler take ownership of their fishing. 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.
This Plano box for kids is durable and will stand up to abuse on the water, a great option for any young angler. The 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. It blends functionality with a fun, kid-friendly design. It’s 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.
Why It Made the Cut
If you need to get any simpler, Plano’s StowAway is great. With Plano’s classic design, but a cheap price tag and packable size.
- Great for small tackle
- Removable dividers
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.
Tackle boxes aren’t very expensive in the first place, so the very least expensive boxes are made with low-quality plastic, have weak hinges and latches, and can break easily. The StowAway stands above others, because it comes from a reputable manufacturer. Though it may be a budget pick, this Plano box can still get the job done.
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 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 boxes are ubiquitous, but plenty of other fishing supply companies make quality tackle boxes as well.
Q: What should be in a beginner’s 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.