June 6, 2014 Share

Best Tackle Box on the Market?

Originally Published on Apr 24, 2012 “From the Dock” NBC Sports

A week or so ago I had over 60 of the top tackle bag/boxes on the market spread out before me. The goal was to evaluate each one for an upcoming piece in the digital edition of North American Fisherman magazine. Fellow evaluators Jim Edlund, who grew up in the bag of his dad’s bait shop, and Mitch Petrie, a hard core angler fishing somewhere as I write this, were also on hand.

The goal: to find the best tackle box on the market.

It was Jim who asked, “Well, where do we start?” And with that, the testing began.

The first box I grabbed at random out of the intimidating pile in front of us was actually a tackle bag–the Plano Guide Series Hydro-Flo Tackle Bag model 4674.

I must admit, the bag didn’t blow me away at first. For one, it is a simple square bag built with a dull green nylon and a black plastic base that reminded me of the old Chev Impala my buddy Joe drove back in high school. But then I started breaking the bag down by features and within minutes I realized with some trepidation that this bag is something special. “If they are all this good,” I thought to myself, “ranking them is going to be impossible.”

After using a variety of tackle bags for more than a decade, I look for four primary things:

1. Bag Must Not Collapse When Empty.

This make it easy to store or remove items, even in the heat of battle. Ever try to grab a pliers from a bag one-handed because your other one is busy holding the dripping jaw of a 9-pound bass? Or replace your crank box while letting line out to make another trolling pass? This bag stands tall, even when empty, making it a joy to use.

2. Roomy, But Not Too Large.

In the early days, I used to think bigger was always better, and that is still true when judging the fish you catch,. However, giant boxes when loaded with tackle often become so heavy that anyone short of Brock Lesnar would find it impossible to lug anywhere, even if it just from the garage to the boat. This box, at 24″L x 13.5″W x 13.5″H is large enough to hold five 3700-series and two 3600-series ProLatch StowAway utility boxes, and features two well-designed padded pockets for sunglasses and other valuables.

3. Durability

A bag without good zippers or straps or other components will fail under normal use in a couple years or less, which means you just blew a wad of money. This bag is well built with quality materials. It should provide years of service.

4. Design

There are products on the market that are long on fluff and short on features. This bag is not one of them. It is loaded with innovative features, including the perforated hard-plastic Hydro-Flo bottom that not only keep the bag off the floor of the boat (and dry even if there is some standing water), it allows the bag to dry naturally. This will help you avoid issues with rust and mold. I also like the top and side department storage, as well as the elastic straps for bringing (or storing) my the rain gear.

This bag sells online for anywhere from $85.99 to $99.49 , and is highly rated by consumers (4.5 stars out of 5 possible). It also won the ICAST 2011 award for best new tackle management system.

I didn’t know any of this when the testing began a couple weeks back, but I can assure you I concur!–Steve