Fly Boxes: What We Like and Why

10 December 2014
Comments: 1
10 December 2014, Comments: 1

Fly Boxes: What We Like and Why

We’ve been seeing a lot of guys in the shop gearing up for the tying season. We are too, especially during Duranglers open fly tying nights.

But where do we put those flies when they have been tied?  The amount of box choices can seem daunting.  If you are an avid fly fisher, it also never seems like you can have enough fly boxes.  Thankfully, we are lucky these days to have many fly box options available to us that make our fishing:

  • (a) easier
  • (b) more fun
  • (c) more efficient
  • (d) all of the above

Everyone is different and likes different things in regards to fly boxes.  Being a subjective area preference in the arsenal of the fly angler, we wanted to discuss a few of our personal boxes and show you why we like them so much


When I look at a fly box, I look for the best application and use for that box.  While some may just say “A box is a box”, I see that there is specific types of boxes for specific types of flies.  Some boxes are great for streamers, some are great for nymphs, some are better for dries, while some are best to carry big saltwater and pike flies.  I also think that everyone needs the right box for the pack or vest they are using.  You don’t want a box that is hard to get into or out of your pack!

Meiho 49 Deep Fly Box-21 Compartment

These Meiho boxes are my  all time favorite boxes for dries.  The latch system is one of the best as it is quick to use and not annoying.  It also does not become unlatched when not in use.  I also took out all the dividers to carry big saltwater streamers when I was fishing for Giant Trevally at Christmas Island.  It may seem big, but it actually fits in my Simms Headwaters Guide Pack with more than enough room left to store other fly boxes and gear.

Kyle's Meiho 49 Deep Fly Box


Meiho 132 Fly Box-Slit Foam

This a great box for small streamers and buggers.  This is one that I like to throw in my pocket for an hour or two of fishing.  Again, this box has a great latch and holds flies really well in the slit foam.


Fishpond Sushi Roll_0009_sushi_roll_standing

A new storage solution from Fishpond for 2015; this innovative product has to be my new favorite way to carry big streamers.  Rolled up, the Sushi Roll is no bigger than a water bottle (and fits in most water bottle hip pack pockets), but when unrolled it measures 15″ x 8″ and has the same fly real estate as 2 large foam fly boxes.  If you fish a lot of large articulated streamers, this may be something you will want to check out.






This is a difficult subject for me because there is only so much room in my pack and I always am trying to find a way to fit in another box.  In recent years I have been trying to find ways to carry as many bugs on the water with the fewest boxes possible.  I have been able to keep it around 4 boxes for the most part (but I am known to thrown in an extra box or two depending on the season).  I usually try to get the biggest bang for my buck, meaning I want something that will hold a large amount of flies in a fairly small amount of space.  I also want something that will hold a diversity of sizes and styles.  To this end, here are a few of my favorites (It would take too long to list all my favorites):


Cliff Days Worth

The uses for this box are pretty vast, but the main appeal for me is the size.  You can throw a few dries, nymphs, and small streamers in this box, stick it in your pocket, and are ready for a day on the water.  I currently use this box as my midge/San Juan box.  The magnet holds flies securely and I probably have about a billion midges in there right now.  The foam then gets used for midge and BWO dries as well as a few SJ worms and leech patterns.



SuperDaysWorthCliff Super Days Worth

This is the last box you will ever need.  Seriously though; if you are one who has the fortitude and self discipline to keep it simple with one box, the Super Days Worth is it.  One side holds all your dries with strips of foam that protect hackles while the other side holds all your smaller nymphs and bead heads with 6 magnetic compartments.  On top of that, the leaf insert has a sheet of slit foam that will hold all your big nymphs and streamers.  Heck, I even have used the insert to hold size 2 articulated baitfish streamers.  This box ends up being my end all Animas box most often.

Unfortunately, neither of these two Cliff boxes are waterproof.


Umpqua UPG LT Box Standard High

This was a new one for me, but I knew as soon as I had it in my hands, I had to have this one.  The silicone trend has been growing in fly box design, and I will have to admit I am slow to the party.  I have not personally found the “perfect” silicone box for my needs.  However, the High Bugger seems to fit the bill.  Why?  Because it isn’t that big.  My streamers all currently live in a Cliff Bugger Beast cast (see below), which isn’t all that convenient for a day of wading.  Enter the Umpqua UPG LT High Bugger.  I quickly load up a few choice streamers (including larger articulated) from the Cliff box for the day, slip it into my pack, and go!  Some may find they like the Umpqua UPG LT Bugger Box for the streamer purposes, but I personally like the ability to stick smaller buggers and leeches in the more shallow silicone slots, and then larger hooks into the deeper middle.




Meiho 48 Shallow Fly Box-28 compartment

When guiding on the San Juan, John uses two Meiho 48 Fly Boxes; one for midges and one for mayflies.  The latch system is what really sets this box apart from other compartment boxes.  Thanks to the latch, the lid stays on tight even when bouncing around the bed of a truck and does not “leak flies”….meaning no flies find their way out of their designated compartment into other compartments.  This “fly leak” prevention is extremely useful especially since John’s box is filled with midge pupa for the San Juan River (think an average of size 26).  These two boxes fit easily into a hip pack along with a multitude of other gear, fly boxes, and snacks.


Meiho-48-Top-John.jpgJohn also likes to glue a small magnet from a Tiemco 25 fly tying hook pack onto the top of these Meiho fly boxes.  This makes it easy to quickly grab the size 26 midge pupa he needs then close and latch the box and stick the fly onto the magnet.  Works great when rigging up and ensures you won’t dump your entire box should any mishaps arise while tying on more tippet.





Morell Foam Fly Boxes

While foam fly boxes tend to get chewed up over time after repeatedly inserting and removing flies; Morell foam boxes more than make up for it in weight and usability.  Morell boxes are the perfect lightweight solution for the backcountry angler when weight is an issue.  Slip a small box in your shirt pocket and you may forget it is even there.

Morell Fly Box



E-Z-Ryder-Midge-Magnet-OpenDuranglers E-Z Ryder Midge Fly Box

The sleek streamlined design of this box is something all of us here at Duranglers fully appreciate.  It is quick and easy to slip in an out of shirt pockets and the hinge and latch system works great.  Jake uses the magnetic version of the Midge size (E-Z Ryders come in 4 sizes) for a lot of his small midge larva and pupa patterns.

The size, simplicity, and ease of usability with this box is so awesome in fact, that we can rarely keep them in stock and we spend a lot of time listing these boxes as ‘backordered’.  We have however recently added the E-Z Ryder Bug Box to our inventory which works as a fantastic little streamer box.


Meiho 49 Deep Fly Box-21 Compartment

See above.  The deeper version of John’s favorite, the Meiho 48.  All we need is this quote from Jake to sum his feelings up: “This is the single best summer dry fly box available”.



Cliff Bugger Beast Jr.

The Cliff Bugger Beast is one of those boxes that is instantly recognizable.  When you see anyone with this box in their boat or pack, you know they mean business.  Streamer business.

Tom uses this bad boy to hold all his big streamers (of course).  He likes the Jr. version of the Bugger Beast because he can stuff it in in his pack if necessary for wading.  It is not too overwhelmingly big but he can still fit a lot of bugs in it.

Andy McKinley
Andy manages Duranglers Flies and Supplies online store and web content. When he is not plugging away in the basement of Duranglers, he can be found in the shop talking weird flies, throwing spey casts for few fish, eating pizza, drinking coffee, painting, and raising a family in Southwest Colorado.

His fly fishing writings have been published on blogs such as the Daily Drake and Simms Wading Room.

One response on “Fly Boxes: What We Like and Why

  1. Brad says:

    Gotta disagree with John on the Meiho shallow. I have been searching for a box to hold midges down to twenty eights, and bought on this recommendation. Don’t know about his truck, but my flies quickly swapped compartments with some gentle shaking. Fit between plastic dividers you slide in and the box top seems to be the problem. I have since found a Meiho box with lidded compartments that does the job perfectly. I modified it by gluing a tweezers holder tube to the box and lining the black plastic bottom of the compartments with white foam to aid in seeing the color and pattern of these tiny things.

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