Best Salmon/Steelhead Fly Box These Days?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by HauntedByWaters, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,748
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    I have old wool fly wallets I inherited but I find that I miss good flies in them because everything jumbles into one dense mess of feathers. The wallets also smash some flies that I wish they wouldn't and I lose flies from them every once in a while.

    I am interested in what is the best box going as of now for big salmon/steelhead flies. There are so many new designs when I look through the options.

    The one that has really caught my attention is the C&F Design fly boxes with the microsplit foam. This seems like a good concept but does it actually work in the field? Will all the flies just slip out the splits when I am tromping around a river?

    Any input is welcome!

    Thanks all!
  2. Preston Active Member

    Posts: 2,461
    Ratings: +434 / 0
    I've always found the plain, old, clear-plastic, Plano divided-compartment containers to admirably meet all of my fly box requirements. They come in a wide variety of configurations and sizes and are cheap and durable.
  3. Keaten LaBrel Formerly Tyinbugs

    Posts: 243
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    all of the Cliffs boxes are nice for big nasties, they have the slitted foam like the C&F designs and are a bit cheaper...i like the bugger barn and the bugger beast jr. for all of my streamers and salmon/steelhead patterns.
    flybill likes this.
  4. steve s Member

    Posts: 442
    Issaquah, Washington
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    I also use the clear plastic containers but have been looking into another box for my steelhead/spey flies. I was thinking about a Wheatley with clips. My problem with boxes with foam are that some of my steelhead and spey flies are pretty big and I haven't found any boxes that are deep enough for big flies. What are others using?

  5. g_smolt Recreational User

    Posts: 916
    58°19'59 N, 134°29'49 W
    Ratings: +161 / 0
    I have used C&F boxes for 2 years now, and I am replacing all of my other boxes with them. Waterproof, snug for everything from 3/0 king flies to sz16 trout stuff. I have thrown away close to 100 dozen flies that have been ruined by water damage in other boxes...I have yet to throw away a single fly since switching to the C&F.
  6. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,748
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    Okay. So my question is this, how does a waterproof box protect you from water damage?

    While fishing, aren't you putting wet flies in the box and than you are trapping the moisture in with a waterproof box?

    I have often wondered about this and water damage is one of the reasons I have always used wool fly wallets.
  7. SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Posts: 1,827
    Roy, WA
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    I'm a Cliff's owner, but have always coveted my neighbor's C&Fs...:D

    Jason, I solved that problem years ago when I began taking Altoids tins or even better, "fisherman's friend" cough drops tins, cutting pieces of self adhesive ripple foam to fit, and putting wet flies in there instead of back in the box. Then when I get home I leave the tin on my desk to dry the flies.
    It also reminds me to spruce them up and check the points for sharpness before returning them to the big box, all ready to go again.
  8. g_smolt Recreational User

    Posts: 916
    58°19'59 N, 134°29'49 W
    Ratings: +161 / 0
    All wet flies go on a dryer pad when it ain't raining, and into a small Morrell box when it it is. At the end of the day, they get wrapped in a towel to blot them, then on top of the pellet stove to dry them out. Like Spaz, I also use this as an inspection time to make sure they aren't damaged.
  9. Les Johnson Les Johnson

    Posts: 1,590
    .Redmond, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    I have a few Wheatley boxes with clips that I really like, one of which is a medium size swing-leaf model that is great for summer steelhead flies. I'm going to order a 3x6" Wheatley swing-leave with large 7s and 5s for the remainder of my steelhead flies. I do not recommend them for use in the salt though.
    I agree with Preston when it comes to salmon on the beach; the Plano 3500 with adjustable dividers is great for saltwater. It fits in a small chest pack with a couple of leaders and tippet spools. All plastic, durable, no metal, no corrosion -- it costs about $2.50.
    The most durable foam filled boxes in my experience are the Scientific Anglers boxes that come in three sizes. The foam is very durable.
  10. SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Posts: 1,827
    Roy, WA
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    good point there Les.
    I also like, in the same vein, the Morrel foam boxes. They're cheap, float, have magnetic closure, and are really good if you want to thow a "day's worth" into your pocket rather than loading your vest with the full catastrophe, as Gierach calls it. But they're not waterproof.
  11. MauiJim ka lawai'a

    Posts: 273
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I had a handful of the Morrell boxes, but after a year or so the glue holding the magnetic closures to the foam would detach, leaving the box functionally useless.

    The new Orvis boxes are great- a screw-in magnet at both forward corners holds it closed, and they've been great in fresh and salt (but don't put a salty fly back in the box, of course). They're also more sturdy than the Morrell boxes, come in three sizes, and you can get a mix of flat foam and ripple foam depending on the use. I get a flat/flat box for big salt streamers and steelhead patterns, flat/ripple for a 'all in one day' box (think streamers + nymphs for fishing the Cedar), and ripple/ripple for small dries and nymphs.

    And, they're cheap ($10-$15). My only problem is the 'nametag' for personal info on the back coming off, but you can always write directly on the box.
  12. Grayone Fishin' to the end, Oc.P

    Posts: 1,332
    boring, oregon
    Ratings: +110 / 0
    The SA boxes are trouble free.................

  13. Don Barton Member

    Posts: 215
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    To a large extent I have mostly converted to the large waterproof C & F boxes with removable inserts. The inserts save a lot of money and thus make the system much more economical. I have five or six boxes but many more inserts. The inserts, filled with flies, are easier to store than closed boxes, take up less space, and it is easy to sort thru them looking for a specific insert to take on a given trip.

    I wear a Tilly hat when I fish. The bill which surrounds the hat has many rows of sewing stitches. So when I use a fly, I slip the hook under a stitch. If I am fishing the salt, I’ll wash the used flies and put them back in their place when they are dry. If I have fished fresh water, the flies are dry when I get home and I put them back in the box they came from.
  14. cj6530 Member

    Posts: 164
    Bellevue WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I use the Plano as well. I think it depends how organized you are. I am just throwing the flies in the clear cheap box seems to work best for me
  15. bjgavin Member

    Posts: 55
    Gig Harbor, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I'm a fan of the large C&F boxes with removable inserts also, a few boxes does the job and my pre-loaded inserts are easy to store and swap out depending on what I'm going after. The various options for numbers of rows/compartments in the inserts let me use the same box for my small stream, nymphing, south sound, salmon and Florida saltwater flies. I just make sure I don't put used flies back in the box until they are clean and dry. I use Plano boxes for my tube flies but am going to find another solution. The Planos fill with water as soon as they get wet.
  16. wolverine Member

    Posts: 576
    Everett, WA
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    I like the C&F's but don't like their price. I use the Flambeau gray and the SA clear double sided boxes in the field. Both are waterproof and float. For storage at home I've got at least 30 of the large clear boxes to store flies in. Reminds me to buy more storage boxes as its getting fly tying season!
  17. golfman65 Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    Funny, I got some smaller cigar tins that work great too...I've got c&f, the wheatley clip box, bug barn..I pretty much now throw what i'm using in the clear plastic box's with dividers..To dry um I hang um off some part of my anatomy...Not like your needing to change up flies for any real reason when salmon/steelie hunting...
    I've also been enlightened to the use of plastic baggies for my tube flies!!! Kind of nice to pack small and light!!!
  18. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,399
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,357 / 9
    I covet the C&F. I inherited an aluminum with clips and divider leaf that is awesome for mid sized flies (probably similar to the one Les spoke of). I use plano clear top boxes from wal-mart at $5 each in three sizes. They come with ripple foam. Larger flies go in the boxes as designed, smaller flies go into boxes that I've added ripple foam to the clear lid so that I can get a bug-gillion flies into the box. If I knew what I was doing I could save space and carry fewer flies. I don't, so I pack them full to minimize the number of pockets filled with boxes full of flies.
  19. Coach Duff Banned or Parked

    Posts: 1,272
    Kailua Hawaii
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    I've got some Wheatleys old and newer, C&F, the Big SA boxes were great in their day, but Cliffs boxes are the best going today. Check out the new Tube/string leach box they just came out with. Perfect for us T-14 poodle throwing mutts. Made in Wyoming and great people. Duffer
  20. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,748
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    Thanks for the heads up on this box Duff! That will be a truly helpful piece of equipment to me and I had no idea such a thing existed.

    I just ordered one and I will let everyone know how it works with a review in the future. The only problem I forsee is that I might need 3 of them. :D

    It is called Cliffs The Swinger Fly Box for those who want to look it up.