More than just a tackle box - a complete organizing system w/sturdy construction and ample space ( 22" x 13" x 13"). Bulk storage area, 4 removable trays, 3 bait racks. Limited lifetime warranty.
Somewhat bulky and heavy, especially when full.
Durable yet flexible nylon. Portable size (15.75" x 5.90" x 7.50") holds numerous pieces of tackle, tools, and fishing accessories. Strong straps and comfortable shoulder padding.
A bit on the small side. Not entirely waterproof.
Compact and lightweight. Comes with a variety of useful tackle (88 pieces) including hooks and floats. Recommended for ages 13 and up. Ideal for young fishermen. Reasonable price.
Not sturdy or large enough for serious fishermen. The latch feels somewhat flimsy.
A spacious box (20" x 10.5" x 10.4") with up to 37 separate compartments for various-sized equipment. Convenient fold-out tier system saves space. About half the price of costlier models.
The plastic has a weak feel, and the hinge that attaches the cover tends to be misaligned.
Impressive craftsmanship and sturdy materials. Spacious main compartment; side pockets are ideal for small tools and tackle pieces. 6 StowAway boxes. A nice mid-size - 17" x 10.25" x 10.25".
The latches on some of the StowAway boxes don't fasten securely, and the plastic feels thin.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Ah, the joys of a day spent fishing. At peace and away from the usual cares of daily life, the soothing play of sunlight on the water, the age-old struggle of man – or woman – against nature, and the added bonus of the potential for going home with a delicious dinner... It’s no wonder fishing has always been a favorite pastime for ages.
But whether your day near the water’s edge ends with a brace of tasty trout or your time is spent in coming up with a whopper of a tale about the one that got away, one thing is the same: fishing requires tackle, which is much easier to transport in a box specifically designed to keep it organized.
Choosing the right tackle box, however, sometimes seems more difficult than reeling in a struggling marlin. There are so many choices, and it’s hard to know what you really need and what’s money better spent elsewhere.
That’s why we’re here. At BestReviews, we do the hard work so you don’t have to!
We take the knowledge we gain from tests, expert interviews, and consumer research and turn it into helpful, accurate, unbiased product recommendations and buying guides to help you make the right decision.
So if you just want to get to fishing, go ahead and check out our five recommendations in the matrix above.
If you’d like to learn more about tackle boxes in general, including choosing, using, and filling them, then read on.
Every state has its own rules and regulations for legal fishing. Before heading to your favorite public fishing spot, be sure you have your state’s required fishing license.
Fishing tackle is the general term for all of the equipment used to fish. Your rod, reel, and line are the most basic, of course, but there is a huge variety of tackle beyond those three essentials.
All of the equipment that attaches to the end of your fishing line falls under the umbrella term of “terminal tackle”. Generally, it’s terminal tackle that’s stored in a tackle box.
Different types of fishing call for slightly different types of terminal tackle, but the basics include:
These come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and configurations.
Artificial bait and lures
They are to fool fish into biting the hook. Depending on the type of fishing you do, these might resemble small fish, colorful flying insects, or worms.
Fishing line or cord
You’ll probably have several different types.
Even if you don’t have a boat, you can enjoy a warm Saturday spent casting for ocean fish from a pier or dock. Potential catches include mackerel, grouper, smelt, and walleye.
These are weights that pull lures down deep under the water.
These float, or bob, on top of the water until a fish bites, pulling them under. Bobbers let you know a fish is on the line.
They let your lure move freely without tangling the line.
These keep your bait on top of the water, which attracts certain fish that feed from the surface.
These are a type of bait that creates a flash or sound to attract fish.
They are usually in the form of rubbery plastic worms or similar fish-appealing items.
These come in handy to remove hooks from freshly caught fish.
If you plan to spend time trying to catch “the big one,” you will need the proper fishing gear designed for your type of fishing. Saltwater and freshwater fishing have different styles of tackle, and the type of fish you are hoping to catch can also make a difference in equipment.
There are two basic types of tackle boxes: hard plastic or soft nylon. Both have strong and weak qualities. Regardless of which type you prefer, all tackle boxes serve the same basic purpose: holding and organizing your many small, sometimes sharp, pieces of tackle.
At one time, metal was the most common material, but these days, plastic is preferred. These are the classic boxes you probably picture when you think of a fisherman heading down to his favorite spot on the pier. Most resemble a toolbox, and have a handle on top along with a couple of clips to keep the box shut and locked when not in use.
Benefits of hard tackle boxes include:
They have lots of compartments for your gear. As you’ll probably accumulate more and more over the years, you’ll appreciate plenty of compartments to hold it all.
Most have fold-out trays that make it easy to quickly find what you’re looking for.
Worm-proof trays, which keep plastic lures and baits from melting together or getting sticky, are fairly standard.
Hard plastic tackle boxes are very durable and usually waterproof. An accidental dunk into the water won’t be the end of your fishing trip.
Many have clear lids or fronts so it’s easy to see what’s inside. This saves you time when you need to quickly grab a lure.
There are often large compartments on the top of the box for holding bigger items such as reels, spools, and tools.
Downsides of hard tackle boxes include:
They can be heavy and bulky.
They take up more room in storage.
If you are camping near a lake or river, no dinner can compare with fresh-caught fish over a campfire. Freshwater fish found in lakes include salmon, steelhead trout, walleye, and bass.
Soft tackle boxes or bags are typically made of nylon. They come in a few different configurations, including backpacks, smaller “lunchbox” looking models, and more traditionally styled bags with multiple outer pockets and handles.
Benefits of soft tackle boxes include:
They weigh less than hard boxes.
Since they aren’t rigid, they are generally easier to store in a tight closet, camper, or tent.
Backpack tackle boxes make it easy to carry your fishing gear on a camping trip or hike.
Most have multiple exterior pockets for organizing gear.
Many soft tackle boxes hold removable plastic utility boxes, instead of having the fixed trays found in hard tackle boxes. This means you can choose to bring only the utility boxes holding the gear you plan on using for that particular fishing trip, rather than having to lug all of it along every time you fish.
Padded shoulder straps and handles are much easier on your hands and shoulders – a big plus if it’s a hike to reach your favorite fishing spot.
Downsides of soft tackle boxes include:
They aren’t always waterproof, so if you accidentally drop your box overboard, your gear will be soaked.
While soft tackle boxes come in a wide range of colors, the fabric is opaque, so you can’t see what’s inside the box without opening up the pockets to take a look.
Once you’ve decided which you prefer – hard or soft tackle box – there are a few other features to look for.
Your hard plastic box is going to be opened and closed frequently, so it needs sturdy hinges that won’t crack or break during a fishing trip.
If you choose a soft box, look for one with heavy-duty zippers, durable fabric, and reinforced seams.
If the movie “A River Runs Through It” is a favorite, you might be inspired to give fly-fishing a try. You’ll enjoy catching trout, salmon, and other river or pond game fish.
A full tackle box is heavy, so choose a box with a handle that is comfortable to hold and easy on your hands.
Your tackle box is likely to get wet, salty, smeared with fish scales or guts, and generally grimy. Whether plastic or nylon, it should be easy to wipe the box clean.
While you might not have a whole lot of tackle in the beginning, you’re likely to accumulate quite a bit over a lifetime of fishing, so choose a tackle box with room to grow. But stay within reason. A box that is too big will also be too heavy to carry easily, and will require excessive storage space.
Choosing the right tackle for your targeted fish and location can be challenging, but with the right gear, you are far likelier to go home with bragging rights and an impressive catch.
Tackle boxes can cost as little as $20 and as much as $100 or more. As a general rule, soft tackle boxes are more expensive than hard plastic boxes, and the larger the box, or the more compartments it contains, the more it costs.
In the $20 to $25 range, you’ll find small-size hard tackle boxes that are suited for those new to fishing or without much tackle.
Pond fishing is a great way to while away an afternoon. Common pond fish include catfish, trout, crappie, bass, and sunfish.
In the mid-price range of $30 to $50, you’ll find a wide selection of large plastic tackle boxes with multiple compartments, and small-to-medium sized backpack or nylon tackle bags. This is the sweet zone for most fishermen.
Expect to pay $50 to $70 or more for large nylon tackle bags with many compartments or utility boxes.
Q. Should I choose a tackle box that includes all the tackle, or buy it separately?
A. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. While it is definitely easy and often economical to buy a fully loaded tackle box, you may find that you don’t use all of the equipment it includes, or that you need equipment it doesn’t include.
Much will depend on the type of fishing you prefer. One good solution: choose a box that includes a small collection of the most basic terminal tackle, and then add on those pieces specific to your favorite type of fishing, whether that be fly, lake, ocean, or pier.
Q. What are some other items I should include in my tackle box?
A. Beyond the necessary fishing tackle, it’s a good idea to keep sunscreen, a small first aid kit, disinfectant wipes, a utility knife, and a small towel in your tackle box. Don’t forget to bring a change of shoes and socks, a sun hat, and an ice chest for holding your catch as well.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.