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Updated Aug 31, 2021 3:09 PM

Every angler needs a method to carry and protect their gear in an organized fashion. Today’s various styles of tackle boxes provide a wide array of choices to accommodate all styles and quantities of fishing equipment.

Purchasing your first tackle box is a rite of passage, a demonstration that you’re ready to take angling from a casual pursuit to a serious hobby. Purchasing your second tackle box is a sign of obsession, showing that you’ve moved beyond the “hobby” moniker to make fishing an integral part of your life. 

Tackle boxes of yesteryear came in limited styles and were often neither lightweight nor durable. In 2021, however, anglers have an almost inexhaustible array of tackle box options, with some being designed for highly-specialized purposes, and others functioning as wide-ranging generalists. No matter what kind of tackle or how much of it an angler owns, there’s an ideal way to organize, protect, and carry it.

Best Fishing Tackle Box: Lure Lock Locker 6 Piece Set (Large)

Key Features

  • Color(s): Green and blue
  • Dimensions: 20.5”x15.5”x13”

Why It Made the Cut

Not only is this system remarkably modular, with five included trays that can be reorganized or replaced on a whim, but it also features Lure Lock’s proprietary gel technology that secures lures in place — even when turned upside down — without leaving them covered in a sticky, hard-to-remove goo.

Pros

  • A lot of gear in a lightweight, skeletal frame
  • Trays hold lures securely
  • Custom trays included for one-stop shopping

Cons

  • Does not have a single large, “catch all” compartment for odds and ends that don’t fit in utility trays

Product Description

The Lure Lock Locker comes in three sizes, but unless the storage compartments on your boat are too small to hold it we recommend the largest one. Despite holding a ton of gear, its strong exoskeleton is super-lightweight, which means you won’t be weighed down in transport. You can even roll it down a hill or flip it upside down and not worry about our baits and terminal tackle ending up in a nasty mess.

Final Thoughts

The lightweight cage for the boxes is a matter of convenience and would be worthwhile on its own merits — but add in Lure Lock’s “sticky” technology, and you get a product that’ll keep everything where it’s supposed to be and thus easy to find.

Best Tackle Box for Kids: Plano Two-Tray Tackle Box

Key Features

  • Color(s): Green/black, red/white, blue/black, green/white, blue/white, periwinkle/pink
  • Dimensions: 14.25”x7.75”x8.5”

Why it Made the Cut

In order to feel invested in the sport of fishing, a child needs a starter set of gear and a compact, totable way to take it from one place to another. Whether they’re fishing from the bank or heading out on your boat for a day, your kid will feel like a more experienced angler with this tried-and-true, accordion-style tray box. Plano has been making them for generations, and obtaining a starter box is an important part of passing down the tradition.

Pros

  • Time-tested style
  • Budget friendly
  • Easy for even a small child to carry

Cons

  • Limited storage capacity

Product Description

For a lightweight tackle box, this container will securely hold a surprisingly large amount of fishing gear, thanks to two fold-out trays with a total of 14 compartments and an open section in the bottom for holding odds and ends like extra line, pliers, and a pocket knife. It’s not cutesy like some of the cartoonish fishing gear available, but because it comes in so many colors, your child can pick their favorite. A secure latch prevents accidental spillage.

Final Thoughts

This simple 2-tray tackle box has the iconic look of the one that started so many fishing careers. Get your kid invested in the sport with the properly-sized and durable container that builds on Plano’s long heritage.

Best Waterproof Tackle Box: SKB iSeries 1610 Tackle Box

Key Features

  • Color(s): Desert tan
  • Dimensions: Interior 16”x10”x10”

Why it Made the Cut

SKB makes all sorts of industrial-grade and military-grade storage solutions for not just sporting equipment like bows and firearms but also electronics. If you’re checking your fishing gear on an airplane or subjecting it to the possibility of bouncing down a rocky cliff, this one is made to protect your valuables.

Pros

  • Impact resistant and submersible
  • Exceed airline specifications to withstand a minimum of 100 trips by air
  • Adjustable dividers

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Heavy

Product Description

This near-indestructible case will hold up to five utility trays in place with adjustable dividers and keep them dry and dust free in storage. The design is not complicated — it is purely utilitarian, able to handle anything you can subject it to with ease. It has two snap-down cushion grip handles and can be padlocked. Further, it is made in the U.S. and has a lifetime warranty.

Final Thoughts

Everything SKB makes is nearly bomb proof, and if you expect your expensive gear to be put through a torture test, this might be your choice. It’s not inexpensive, but it’s an insurance plan for your valuable tackle.

Best Large Tackle Box for Big Baits: Lakewood Fishing Musky Monster Tackle Box

Key Features

  • Color(s): Black, gray, green, khaki
  • Dimensions: 24.5”x12.5”x15.5”

Why It Made the Cut

Most traditional tackle boxes can’t organize “oversized” lures in a way that keeps them safe and separated, but this one takes big bait fanatics into account. It’s made specifically for musky fanatics, but it will serve other groups — including a wide range of saltwater anglers — equally well. It’s super heavy duty and, in addition to the hanging slots for lure, offers multiple pockets for terminal tackle and other odds and ends.

Pros

  • Floats when loaded
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Adjustable dividers

Cons

  • Pricey

Product Description

This heavy-duty beast offers slots for up to 100 big hanging lures in a manner that keeps them separated, but it’s not just a featureless rectangle. There are two zippered side pockets, four tool storage pockets, and a large rear zippered pocket to hold other items that may otherwise get lost in its cavernous insides. The Musky Monster has heavy-duty webbing around the case for protection and an adjustable shoulder strap to carry it from your vehicle to the boat.

Final Thoughts

The Musky Monster isn’t just a traditional tackle box blown up to larger dimensions. It’s made specifically for the big bait angler’s needs and is durable enough to take on the harshest environments.

Best Tackle Box for Boats: Flambeau T3 Multiloader – Zerust

Key Features

  • Color(s): Gray/blue
  • Dimensions: 14”x6”x10.5”

Why It Made the Cut

At some point, we all put away lures or terminal tackle while they’re still wet, and the end result can be disastrous. This modular box has Zerust anti-corrosion technology built into it in order to form a protective layer that inhibits rust in marine environments, and damp areas like your boat’s storage compartment. If you want to be extra careful, you can remove the five included utility trays after use.

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • Saves additional money to preventing damage to gear
  • Modular design promotes flexibility and efficiency

Cons

  • No clear storage on top for frequently-used items

Product Description

After graduating from their two-tray or three-tray tackle boxes, most anglers move on to a “multiloader” design which allows trays of tackle to be traded out to cater to a particular species or body of water. This one comes with five included utility boxes, in two different sizes, but adds a twist — rust-proofing materials that should reduce corrosion on your growing tackle collection. It has a solid handle, a latch for the cavernous top compartment, and a snap-lock door to keep the three largest trays in position.

Final Thoughts

Most of us are not as vigilant about preventing corrosion as we need to be. If you count yourself among that group, let Flambeau be the backstop against sacrificing a lot of costly tackle to the fish gods.

Best Tackle Box for Spinnerbaits: Bass Mafia Blade Coffin

Key Features

  • Color(s): Black/red
  • Dimensions: 14.8”x6”x5”

Why It Made the Cut

Proper storage of spinnerbaits has perplexed serious bass anglers for years. Most hanging systems tend to end up with them in a jumbled mess, and just sticking a pile of them in a single Ziploc bag can lead to disorganization at best, and heavy-duty rust at worst. This lure-specific box was designed with anglers in mind, and solves all spinnerbait storage problems.

Pros

  • Virtually indestructible
  • Waterproof
  • Compact size

Cons

  • Pricey

Product Description

The Blade Coffin offers a file drawer design that’ll keep your spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, and bladed jigs In check. Put one or two lures in each of the 25 included bags (the box will easily store 50 or 60), and if you run out of bags or somehow misplace them, you can purchase replacements. They’re held in place with a rail that runs along the bottom, so you’ll always know where to find precisely the bladed bait that your particular situation calls for. The coffin has two quality latches to maintain the waterproof seal.

Final Thoughts

The more tackle you accumulate, the more you need specialized boxes and carriers to hold it. It seems that Bass Mafia has appropriate solutions for all sorts of classes of gear, not just spinnerbaits.

Methodology

In evaluating the best tackle boxes of 2022, I recognized two distinct categories of gear-holding devices: those aimed at storing something specific and those that give anglers versatility as different situations present themselves. I tried to offer a balance of the hyper-specialized and the universal in a manner. I evaluated each box against other products in the same category to determine the best of the best. The qualities I look for in a tackle box are:

  • Innovation (does the tackle box do something others don’t?)
  • Time-Tested Designs (has the tackle box stood the test of time?)
  • Durability (will it stand up to many seasons of use?)
  • Functionality (is it easy to use and organize?)

Things to Consider Before Buying

Take a realistic assessment of where and how you’ll be using your tackle box before choosing from among these options. The needs of a bank angler differ from those who will lay the box on the floor of a jon boat, which in turn differ from those of someone heading offshore for big game species. Think about how much gear you need to store and how you’ll be lifting it, and remember that tackle-aggregation is a constant process. Accordingly, the tackle box that fits all of your gear today may be inadequate for the supplies you “need” to tote in just a few weeks, let alone a year from now.

FAQs

Q: Are tackle boxes worth it?

A good tackle box is worth its weight in gold because it helps you organize your fishing gear in a way that prevents loss or damage while helping you take it to the lake, river, or ocean.

Q: How much does a tackle box cost?

Beginning anglers can find something durable to hold a nominal amount of tackle for less than 20 dollars. But, as features increase and materials become more high-tech, the price can easily rise into triple figures.

Q: What should I have in my tackle box for bass fishing?

Seasonally-specific lures and appropriate terminal tackle and your starting point for a properly stocked bass fishing tackle box, but don’t forget tools like clippers and pliers, along with quality polarized sunglasses.

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Outdoor Life editors don’t just enjoy hunting and fishing as hobbies—the pursuit of these passions make us who we are. Our writers are diehard outdoorsmen and women, too. For more than a century, OL has been evaluating the latest and greatest outdoor gear and providing our readers with no-B.S. reviews. We test products in the field under real-world conditions. We write about the pros and cons of every product we review so that you know exactly what you’re getting if you decide to purchase the gear we cover. Only the best hunting, fishing, backpacking, camping, and survival gear will make the cut in our reviews and roundups. If we’re covering it, you know it’s legit.

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