Every fisherman knows the importance of a good tackle box. A fishing pole is only as good as the bait and tackle you have to work with. You can pack your expensive, high-end fishing pole on a kayaking trip, but without something to put on the end of your hook, it’s unlikely you’ll actually catch any fish. Tackle boxes can hold everything you’ll need for fishing from your boat, from bait and hooks to sunscreen and bug spray. Tackle boxes come in many different shapes and sizes, so you should easily be able to find one that’s best suited for your needs. If you’ll be doing a lot of fishing from your boat, having a good tackle box is vital. Here are some of our top recommendations for tackle boxes to take on your kayak.
Best Tackle Box for Kayak Fishing 2018
Plano 2-Tray Tackle Box with Dual Top Access - Editors Choice
Types of Tackle Boxes
When I was a kid, the only tackle box I used was a giant red one my grandpa kept in his trunk. It had every type of bait, lures, and tools under the sun. But it was huge and bulky and would never fit on a kayak. Luckily for us paddlers, there are tons of different styles and sizes of tackle boxes, many of which are ideally designed for kayaking. There are two main types of tackle boxes: hard shell and soft shell. These can range from plastic to metal to nylon, and be small and compact, or large and spacious.
Hard Tackle Boxes
Hard tackle boxes are pretty much as straightforward as they sound. They have hard (usually plastic) exteriors with various compartments and storage inside. Older tackle boxes might be made out of metal or even wood, but most modern varieties are made out of durable plastic. Plastic is a great option, especially if you’re taking it kayaking, because it will stand up well against sun, water, and even fish guts. These boxes are easy to clean and usually last a long time. The downside can be that plastic pieces like handles and buckles can sometimes get brittle and break. You’ll want to be sure the box you purchase is resilient and long lasting. Definitely don’t opt for the cheapest option or you’ll be paying for it in the long run!
Features of Hard Tackle Boxes
Hard tackle boxes can have lots of different interior styles, but most feature either trays or drawers for organization. This ensures that your hooks won’t get tangled up with your extra lines or worms. If you have a lot of small pieces, these trays and drawers become real life savers! Trays often lift up and out, exposing further storage underneath. This is probably my preferred style, as I find it easier to access things and can put larger items underneath. If you’re a meticulous organizer though, you might enjoy having drawers that pull straight out so you can see all your items laid out clearly. There are also several hybrid styles of tackle boxes that utilize both drawers and trays. The great thing about all of these though is that it’s pretty much entirely based on preference. All of them work just as well for sorting and storing your materials. You just have to pick the one you like best!
Soft Tackle Boxes (Tackle Bags)
Soft tackle boxes aren’t really boxes at all. They’re much more similar to shoulder bags or backpacks. They are made out of durable fabrics like nylon and are generally easier to carry and transport than hard tackle boxes. One of the best aspects of these tackle bags is that they usually have a lot of extra pockets and storage space for items like cameras, flashlights, or whatever extra tools you might have. On the downside, these bags are not as resilient or waterproof as their hard plastic counterparts, and organization can be a lot more of a hassle. Soft tackle bags have plenty of pockets and storage compartments, but accessing them isn’t as easy and it can often be harder to organize your supplies. One thing to consider, though, is that you can often put smaller tackle boxes or plastic dividers inside your tackle bag to help keep things in order.
How to Choose the Right Tackle Box
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a tackle box. First, you should consider the type of kayak you have and how much storage space it has. There’s no point in buying an elaborate tackle box if it won’t fit in your boat. Then think about what types of materials you’ll usually need. If you’re just going for a quick paddle on a lake looking to catch a few little fish, you probably won’t need tons of extra lures and tools. But if you’ll be fishing for a variety of fish or going on a longer trip, you might need a tackle box that has room for more supplies.
Another thing to consider is how much money do you want to spend? A small plastic organizer that can fit a few lures and a pair of pliers won’t cost you very much, but the more elaborate your box the more it will likely cost. Knowing how much you want to spend at the outset can help you determine which box will right for you. Check out some tips on getting your kayak fishing ready here.
Hard Tackle Box Reviews
Best Hard Tackle Box
Plano 2-Tray Tackle Box with Dual Top Access
If you need a small and basic tackle box, this is a great bargain. It’s compact and affordable, and perfect for stowing away in your kayak. The clear plastic container includes dividers so you can create different sized compartments for storage. The fact that it’s transparent makes it super convenient for finding your supplies while paddling without having to open everything up. You can see what’s in each compartment before you even open the box. This is a great option if you just want a small box to hold a few supplies while you’re paddling. An added bonus of this product is that it can fit into a lot of larger boxes and bags or be used on its own. The downside is that it really doesn’t have room for a lot, so if you want to have space for your gloves, camera, or knives, then this won’t do. It’s best used for light trips where you won’t need many extra supplies.
This medium-sized tackle box feels like the perfect happy medium of tackle boxes. It’s large enough that you can store your fishing supplies and a few extras inside, but not so big that it’s bulky or would be hard to store on your boat. It’s lightweight and easy to transport and has a secure brass buckle to keep it shut tight while you’re on the water. On the inside, it has fixed storage space as well as trays with adjustable compartments. The removable dividers can create up to 25 separate compartments to keep all your pieces organized. Some customers have complained that the plastic part of the buckle is flimsy and breakable, but beyond that this is a solid tackle box.
This is a little higher end than a lot of tackle boxes, but it’s an excellent product. There’s so much space for everything you could possibly want to store. The top portion of the case has a translucent cover so you can see what’s inside. There are three removable racks inside as well as spacious storage compartments inside. Most customers who have bought this box have noted that it has more space than they ever actually use. It’s always great to have a little extra room for any gadgets and tools you want to bring along. The downside to this box is that it’s bulky and heavy, so you need to make sure your kayak is big enough for it.
Soft Tackle Bag Reviews
This tackle bag has a shoulder strap for easy carrying. It has the look and feel of a large cooler bag, but with lots more storage space. There are three big pockets on the outside and space on the inside for up to eight small storage boxes. There’s even a hard shell sunglasses case pocket. The fabric on this bag isn’t waterproof, but it is water-resistant, so as long as you don’t throw it overboard, everything inside should stay pretty dry while you paddle. Something to note if you’re purchasing a soft tackle bag like this is that you will need to buy some smaller organizers to go inside, unless you want to have all your supplies tangled together. While there’s lots of space, there isn’t a lot of organization going on.
This messenger-style bag is a bit of a step up without costing too much. The material it’s made out of is highly water-resistant and durable. The buckles, zippers, and fabric are all abrasion resistant and long-lasting. The exterior also has reflective material, making it easy to spot (just in case it falls overboard!) What I like about this bag is that it seems to have a pocket for everything, from your lures to your water bottle. Again, with this bag you’ll probably want to put some hard storage containers inside the bag to keep your items organized. This bag isn’t super big, so it won’t be ideal if you have a lot of fishing supplies.
This is kind of the ultimate in tackle bags. While it’s a little more extravagant than the other models we’ve listed, it has the features to make it worth it. It’s big enough to stack several plastic organizers inside it to house all of your fishing essentials. It has a pliers holder on the outside of the bag for easy access as well as a hard sunglasses case. The inside has adjustable dividers if you want to keep your contents separate and there’s even a waterproof pouch to keep your electronics or valuables in. The one downside is it can be a bit bulky, especially if it’s full of supplies.
Our Pick - Plano 2-Tray Tackle Box with Dual Top Access
The tackle box you choose will depend primarily on your kayak and your fishing preferences. There’s no point in buying a giant bag with tons of space if all you want is somewhere to store your bobbins and lures. Keep in mind the size and space of your kayak when choosing your tackle box to make sure it will fit comfortably in your boat. All the tackle boxes and bags we’ve listed here are terrific options. But if we had to choose one, I think the all-around favorite is the Plano 2-Tray Tackle Box with Dual Top Access. It’s small enough to easily store in most kayaks, but big enough that you have room for your fishing supplies and maybe a few extras. The hard plastic ensures that the contents inside stay dry. Do you prefer hard tackle boxes or tackle bags? Which one is your favorite? Let us know!