Tackle boxes are essential pieces of fishing equipment and are worth investing in. Not only do they provide a means of carrying all your gear, they protect and organize that gear as well.
With the right tackle box, you can find your favorite lure, hook, or tools when needed. Plus, you will know that whatever you need is in the same condition as when you last put it away.
But with so many options available, how do you select the right one? Can you get away with a basic flip-top, single-tray design? Or do you need a multiple-tray backpack with outer pockets for additional storage? Not sure which tackle box is going to fit your specific needs?
No worries. We have reviewed some of the best designs available, including options for every budget and fishing style. Plus, there is a buyer’s guide that will help you understand which features are important and which are unnecessary fluff.
The 7 Best Fishing Tackle Boxes of 2020: Outdoor Empire Reviews
Below we have reviewed some of the hottest tackle boxes on the market. Whether you are looking for a simple design to hold a few beginner items or one that will cover all your offshore needs, there is something for everyone. Let’s get started!
- Best Small: PLANO 1715 Satchel Style
- Best Large: PLANO 7771 Guide Series
- Best Saltwater: CALISSA Offshore Tackle Recon Rolling Fishing Backpack
- Best for Kayak Fishing: WILDERNESS SYSTEMS Kayak Crate
- Best Fishing Backpack: CUSTOM LEATHERCRAFT Wild River Tackle Backpack
- Best Soft / Fishing Tackle Bag #1: BLISSWILL OUTDOOR Multifunctional Tackle Bag
- Best Soft / Fishing Tackle Bag #2: SPIDERWIRE Wolf Tackle Bag
|Category||Best Small||Best Large||Best Kayak|
|Compartments||16 to 26||8||1|
|Removable Dividers||10||4 utility boxes||4 rod holders|
|Dimensions||11.25 x 8.25 x 3 inches||21.25 x 12 x 12 inches||13.25 x 12.25 x 18 inches|
|Weight||Not specified by manufacturer||12.7 lbs||10.9 lbs|
|Warranty||Limited lifetime||Limited lifetime||Limited lifetime|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
1. Best Small Tackle Box: PLANO 1715 Satchel Style
Sometimes a large, cumbersome tackle box is more than you need. Maybe you only need one or two trays of your favorite tackle, but individual trays are difficult to carry. That is, until now. Thanks to the Plano 1715 Satchel you can leave the larger bag at home and easily carry just the essentials with ease.
The see-through lids and front and back storage provide a compact, lightweight means of carrying only what you need. Thanks to the 10 removable dividers that create 16 to 26 compartments, you can customize your storage options and change them this as your needs change.
Measuring 11.25″ x 8.25″ x 3″, the 1715 Satchel is an affordable, practical option for those with limited needs. The tough molded plastic construction will provide many years of service, protecting your gear and keeping you supplied in the field.
If you need a lightweight, compact, and affordable option, the Plano 1715 Satchel is a perfect choice.
- Easy-to-carry, compact design that’s perfect for one or two-day excursions
- Molded plastic construction protects gear and will withstand abuse
- Front and back access maximizes storage
- Removable dividers allow for customizable compartments
- No bulk storage compartments
- Dividers are easily lost, making reconfiguration later difficult
- No storage for tools or line spools
2. Best Large Tackle Box: PLANO 7771 Guide Series
This spacious, hard-case tackle box offers everything you are looking for and more. The hard-case design protects all your favorite gear. The multiple trays, utility boxes, and racks allow you to customize your storage and ensure everything is easily accessible.
Plus, it is manufactured by a leader in the fishing accessory industry.
The Plano 7771 Guide Series Tackle Box is designed to carry a lot of gear. Measuring 21.25″ x 12″ x 12″, it is large enough to carry all your tackle needs yet still able to be transported easily.
With four utility trays, three top-access spinner racks, and an additional bulk storage area, this tackle box can be set up to meet your needs.
The Duraview see-through cover allows you to quickly identify where your gear is stored. Easy front access trays let you get what you need without searching through everything you brought.
This tackle box is built for many years of worry-free service. However, should you encounter any defects it is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. Plano stands by their products and will stand by you, their customer, as well.
This is a tackle box built to handle anything you can throw at it and proves that you get what you pay for: a tackle box that will last a lifetime.
- Made in the U.S.
- Includes multiple storage options, including trays, spinner racks, and bulk areas
- Easy access to each specific storage compartment
- Backed by limited lifetime warranty
- Not easily carried for long distances
- Not all the bins depicted in the picture are included and must be purchased separately
PLANO 7771 Guide Series is also available at:
3. Best Saltwater Tackle Box: CALISSA Offshore Tackle Recon Rolling Fishing Backpack
Saltwater fishing offers some unique challenges and requires specialized equipment. This tackle backpack by Calissa meets those challenges with a design that is as specialized as any equipment you will encounter.
At first glance, it is hard to determine what to make of this tackle bag. Is it an extra-large soft-sided bag? A backpack? A luggage cart? The answers are “yes,” “yes,” and “as close as a tackle bag can get.” This is a hybrid tackle solution meant to meet all your saltwater needs.
This is a big bag. With overall measurements of 19″ x 16″ x 10”, there is plenty of room for the larger, bulkier lures, reels, and tackle used in saltwater angling. The main compartment is divided into an upper and lower area. The upper section is perfect for storing bulk items or additional trays.
The lower sections with the tailgate opening allow for storage of five tackle trays. Side pockets accommodate four included rod holders, and there is additional exterior storage for small items. Twin padded straps allow of use as a backpack, perfect for long treks on the trail.
But the most unique feature is the extendable handle and wheels. When collapsed out of the way, this is a large backpack. Extend them, and you now have a rolling tackle bag that is perfect for your favorite pier or when headed to the boat.
One of the most unique tackle bags on the market, the Recon is perfect for any saltwater situation. On the beach, pier, or boat, this bag will carry all your supplies and let you get to where you’re going easily.
- Includes many accessories, including rod holders, a rain cover, and tackle trays
- Water and rot resistant
- Functions as either a backpack or rolling tackle bag
- Large enough to keep all your saltwater gear in one place
- Very bulky
- Rod retention straps are a bit small
4. Best Tackle Box for Kayak Fishing: WILDERNESS SYSTEMS Kayak Crate
Are you a kayak angler? Does your ’yak include a milk crate turned to catch al, maybe with a few rod holders strapped to the side? No shame.
This is how many kayak anglers got started, and this setup has you served well for years. But now it is time to upgrade. Now it is time to get the Wilderness Systems Kayak Crate.
The large molded plastic crate design will be familiar to kayakers, but Wildness Systems has expanded on the idea, taking it to new levels of versatility.
The large main compartment holds eight 3600 Plano boxes or five larger 3700 Plano boxes, or it can be removed and replaced with the two included mesh bags. You could even store a smaller tackle box in this area.
When not fishing, this compartment can also be used for storing bulk items or even lunch. A see-through top allows access to smaller utility trays that are perfect for tools, scents, or similar items.
Finally, there are four rod holders, two per side. These rod holders can be adjusted to allow installation in deeper wells. All lids are secured by durable rubber latches that seal the unit against water and protect your gear against loss.
In the end, this is one of the most versatile kayak crates available. It can be customized to fit your needs and provides protection as well as storage. Any kayak angler will be doing themselves a disservice if they fail to check out this tackle solution.
- A large main compartment plus utility tray and rod holders
- Provides the versatility of a milk crate, but with greater protection
- Will fit a variety of kayaks, including those with deep wells
- Can be moved from one vessel to another with ease
- Does not include tackle trays
- Rod holders can only be mounted to sides
5. Best Fishing Backpack: CUSTOM LEATHERCRAFT Wild River Tackle Backpack
One of the main disadvantages of fishing backpacks is that their designs limit accessibility. Most are simply regular backpacks with a few extra features and a new label.
While these backpacks provide plenty of storage, it is difficult to access your gear and often impossible to carry what you truly need. Custom Leathercraft has solved these problems with the Wild River Tackle Backpack.
This backpack is designed for fishing. It is not a repurposed camping or tactical bag. Not only is the main compartment large enough to accommodate four tackle trays it also includes both top and front access. Need your favorite lure? Open the front and pull out only the tray needed.
The top portion can also house bulky items such as reels, lights, and tools. Plus, there are multiple exterior pockets, loops, and tie-on points for smaller gear, pliers, line cutters, or your phone. There is even a padded compartment for sunglasses and a see-through license sleeve.
Additional accessories include adjustable shoulder straps, an LED light, a rain cover, a padded bottom, and a flip-down front that doubles as a work surface.
This is more than a fishing backpack. This is a fishing tackle solution. Ditch the old pack that you repurposed with a few tackle trays and get a backpack that is worthy of your adventures.
- Large, easy-to-access compartments
- Storage for common fishing tools you need most
- Rain cover for extra protection when things get wet
- Can be set to meet your personal fishing needs
- Does not include any trays
- Only available in tan
- Only covered by 90-day warranty
6. Best Soft Tackle Box / Fishing Tackle Bag #1: BLISSWILL OUTDOOR Multifunctional Tackle Bag
This modest-sized, soft-sided tackle bag provides plenty of room for your day on the water without being so large that it makes it difficult to carry. It is a great compact option, and tackle trays can be easily swapped out for your next adventure.
With an overall size of 8″ x 7.5″ x 15.5″, this bag features one larger main compartment, two small side pockets, and a medium front pocket. There is also a dedicated water bottle storage compartment, a small front accessory pouch, multiple tie-down points, rod straps, and Velcro for attaching tools.
High-quality buckles, double-stitched concealed zippers, and 2000D water-resistant nylon construction provide a durable, lightweight means of carrying your day’s gear.
The removable shoulder strap doubles as a waist belt and allows for multiple carry options. Extra-wide shoulder pads allow for increased comfort when loaded or traveling long distances.
This premium soft-sided tackle bag will allow you to carry what you need and do it with comfort. With a place for everything, including multiple tackle trays, a fillet knife, fish grip, pliers, and even a water bottle, you will never find yourself wishing you had brought that important piece of equipment.
- Dedicated storage for a water bottle, including a mesh cover for draining
- Interior can be easily wiped clean
- Can be used as shoulder or waist bag
- Plenty of exterior attachment points
- Slightly smaller than many traditional tackle boxes
- May be hard to access some of the smaller compartments quickly
7. Best Soft Tackle Box / Fishing Tackle Bag #2: SPIDERWIRE Wolf Tackle Bag
If you are searching for a large, soft-sided tackle bag that is durable and versatile, it will be hard to beat the Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag.
This is one of the best-made soft tackle options on the market. Constructed of 1680 polyester, PVC backing, heavy-duty zippers, super-tough buckles, and a waterproof molded base, it is built to last.
Water, sun, extreme temperatures, and even adventure mishaps will not damage this bag or the gear it is protecting. The extra-thick, webbed-polypropylene strap with padded comfort area will make carrying easy and comfortable even over long distances.
With a large 38.8-liter capacity, this bag is 15.74” x 10.8” x 8.2”. The main compartment can accommodate four large tackle trays (which are included) or be customized thanks to adjustable dividers.
Dual front pockets provide the perfect storage for small tools such as pliers, knives, or hook removers. The rear mesh pocket is a perfect place for wet gloves, and two side pockets feature removable line dispensers.
This is the perfect tackle bag for the angler on the go. If you’re traveling by bike or kayak, hiking into secret hidden spots, or walking the shoreline in search of the perfect cast, the Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag will let you take all your gear with you in comfort and style.
- High-quality, heavy-duty construction
- Includes four large tackle trays
- Multiple storage options, including adjustable dividers, exterior pockets, and line dispensers
- Lifetime warranty included
- Wide, padded shoulder strap for extra comfort
- Does not include a rain cover
- Only available in black
- Difficult to organize if not using tackle trays
Tackle Boxes vs. Tackle Bags vs. Fishing Backpack
Never have you had so many options when it comes to carrying your tackle. Of course, with more options come more questions. Not only do you need to decide which tackle box is best, you also need to decide between a tackle box, tackle bag, or even a fishing backpack.
Let’s look at each option and review the advantages, disadvantages, and best situations for their use.
This is the most traditional option, although today’s tackle box includes many features never dreamed of by our grandfathers. Users can purchase a box that fits their budget and fishing style, ranging from inexpensive flip-top designs with a single tray to larger units with multiple trays and accessory storage.
Even the simple hard tackle box provides adequate storage and a high level of protection.
These are geared toward the angler who fishes from a stationary location, such as a boat, pier, or single shoreline location, as these boxes are not as convenient to carry over long distances.
They are also suitable for those who target multiple species throughout the season, as the trays can be removed and replaced with others containing different lures.
Soft Tackle Bag
These are some of the most popular tackle solutions among today’s anglers. These soft, durable fabric bags weigh less than metal hard cases. The main compartment of these bags is easily customized with removable tackle trays, and most include multiple exterior pockets for smaller items and tools.
Some even include a second large compartment for bulk items or a padded compartment for your sunglasses.
The biggest advantage of the soft tackle bag is the versatility. Add or remove plastic trays as needed, and use exterior pockets for everything from an extra reel to smaller trays. A second advantage is they are easier to transport.
Thanks to padded shoulder straps, a soft tackle bag is easier to handle over longer distances or when carrying multiple items.
Because of its versatility and lighter weight, a soft tackle bag is well suited for anglers on the go or those who fish for multiple species.
Although many anglers have been repurposing backpacks as tackle bags for years, only recently have manufacturers started designing packs specifically for this task. Now, they are enjoying strong growth in popularity, and with good reason.
Like soft-side bags, the fishing backpack is highly versatile. Most contain multiple large compartments, one for tackle trays and the other for bulk items. There will also be multiple exterior pockets, clips, or hooks for tools, and some even include a pouch for your license.
Even a smaller backpack will have a ton of storage. Because you are carrying it on your back, it will be more comfortable, keep your hands free, and allow you to carry more gear with less effort.
Fishing backpacks are perfect for any type of fishing but truly shine when used by anglers on the move. If you want to check out multiple locations, hike to deep into the backwoods, or otherwise get off the trail, they are far superior to either the tackle box or soft-sided bag.
Buying Advice: How to Choose a Tackle Box
When it comes time to select your next tackle box, bag, or pack, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Rows of similar products, each claiming to be the best. How do you narrow the search? Here are a few key features to look at when comparing different models.
The biggest mistake new anglers make is selecting the wrong tackle box size. Too big and you are carrying around more weight than needed. Too small and you will not have the equipment necessary when the time comes.
Beginners should consider buying slightly larger than presently needed. This will give you room to grow without investing in an additional tackle box.
Look for a tackle box that will store everything you plan on taking with you, and leave additional room for items you learn you need later. A pouch for small tools, somewhere to store a snack and drink, and a compartment for an extra reel, line, or repair parts are often as important as lure storage.
Remember, every compart that is filled will result in additional weight.
Having trays that can be customized to fit a variety of lures is important and has become a standard in most designs. However, some will desire additional protected storage for specific types of lures as well. If you use spinnerbaits, live bait rigs, or umbrella rigs, you may fall into this category.
Consider what type of fishing you do and the lures you carry when comparing lure storage options.
It is important to select a tackle box that is durable yet lightweight enough to be comfortable during transport. Eventually, your tackle box will be dropped or otherwise face harsh conditions. Molded plastic and soft nylon are both highly durable, although soft nylon is more flexible.
Avoid thinner-walled plastic options, as they tend to crack when dropped. If fishing in cold conditions, nylon will usually fare better. Of course, it is impossible to go fishing and never get wet. This means that it is especially important to select a water-resistant model.
Some soft-side models are treated to repel water or include a rubber bottom and rain cover for extra protection. Hard cases that latch securely are better than simple snap-closing models. For extreme conditions, look for designs that include heavy-duty latches and gaskets to keep water out.
Although no angler expects their tackle box to end up in the water, it does happen. If you fish from a boat, pier, or kayak, this is a more obvious concern. While many tackle boxes will float for a short period, others are specifically designed to do so.
Most of these are molded plastic, crate-style boxes that include insulation and gasket-sealed compartments. This combination provides additional floatation that will keep the box on the surface long enough to be recovered.
If possible, choose a tackle box with a long-term warranty. Although it is unlikely this warranty will protect you if the box falls over the side of the boat or out of your truck, most will cover premature wear and tear.
Your tackle box will face a host of hazards, and there is no reason to fall victim to faulty workmanship.
One of the keys to selecting the right tackle storage option is narrowing your search to companies with a solid reputation for producing quality products. Although there are many such companies, here is a list of some of the most popular.
This Illinois-based company is a leader in supplying sportsmen with high-quality, dependable storage options. Although they started as a fishing tackle box manufacturer and continue to provide a diverse line of such products, they have expanded to include hunting and general storage items as well.
Plano produced the first plastic molded tackle box in 1952 because the owner was tired of lugging heavy metal boxes on out-of-town trips. They would go on to revolutionize the tackle storage industry by introducing the first cantilevered trays, worm-proof designs, and storage options that meet military standards.
Today Plano offers many styles of tackle boxes, trays, and soft-sided bags. These products appeal to a wide range of anglers due to the diverse range of sizes and prices suitable for the beginner or professional.
Based in Columbia, South Carolina, Spiderwire was one of the first companies to offer braided line to recreational anglers.
While this continues to be their focus, they have now developed a solid reputation as a provider of additional fishing gear and accessories. This expanded focus increased when they were acquired by Berkley Group.
The Spiderwire line of soft-side bags includes high-quality, durable designs that are available at a reasonable price. Though designed for bass anglers, these bags are also well suited for general anglers.
Although many buyers would be wary of purchasing new designs by a company that does not have a long history of producing tackle bags, there are no such concerns with Spiderwire products.
A leader in molded- and blown-plastic manufacturing, Flambeau was first formed in 1947. They entered the fishing market in 1948 with their first frog lure, and by 1970, they had expanded to the point that Flambeau Outdoors became a separate division.
Today Flambeau if a leader in molded-plastic fishing and hunting accessories, including a wide range of tackle boxes. These products range from basic hard-case designs to larger professional models. Other items in their line include bait storage, divider systems, rod storage options, and soft-side tackle bags.
Although most Flambeau products would be considered economy designs, they are not cheap, just inexpensive. Anglers have trusted these products for many years and will continue to do so without worry.
What should I put in a tackle box?
What you choose to carry in your tackle box depends on where you will be fishing and what you will be fishing. Even the most basic supplies should include a variety of appropriate lures, extra hooks, sinkers, and tools such as pliers and hook removers.
If you are fishing close to your vehicle, it is possible to carry only the essentials and return to the vehicle for additional supplies.
When fishing in remote locations, it may be necessary to carry items that you would not normally need but would want in a worst-case scenario, such an extra reel, spare lines, or a snack and drink.
How do I organize a tackle box?
How you organize your tackle box depends the design you purchase. However, some simple tips can help you. Most tackle boxes will have a larger main compartment. This is where you store your most-used equipment, including lures, hooks, and plastics.
Smaller items such as paste bait, a container holding sinkers or hooks, and packaged pre-rigged lines are easier to access when in a side or auxiliary pouch.
Tools, measuring tapes, licenses, and other items you may need to access frequently can be stored in a clear top area or zipped pouch. Some boxes will also include a dedicated pouch for water bottles, a large compartment for bulk items such as reels, line pouch, or even a cooler.
Can I take a tackle box on an airplane?
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to traveling with sporting gear. This includes fishing tackle. According to the Transportation Security Administration, “small hooks for fly fishing or freshwater fishing are acceptable” in carry-on luggage.
However, “deep-sea fishing hooks” are not. This does not provide a clear answer.
Although it is possible to get most fishing gear through in a carry-on, this can vary from one airport to another, as well as from airline to airline. It is best to check with the airline before traveling.
If they have a written policy, get a copy and have it available when checking in. If there is any question, pack your tackle in a checked bag.