Best Soft Tackle Box: The Top 5 Pros Use

September 2, 2021

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Anglers have only recently started appreciating the value of soft tackle boxes. And that is mostly because of how efficient manufacturers have become with these bags.

Not only do they have great features that hold several utility boxes but these bags are also lightweight and have waterproof shells. Here’s a look at what else they can do and which ones to choose from.

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…

Our Top Soft Tackle Box Recommendations

We have five very well-constructed bags with a bunch of features to complete your trip. Take a look.

KastKing Fishing Tackle Bags

Our first recommendation is a well-known brand called KastKing. This bag is designed for avid anglers. It is made of 420D ripstop nylon, it’s water resistant and very tough.

The bag has 12 storage pockets both external and internal, all meant for fishing tackle and we’ll go into their details in a minute. But it also has up to 7 lure boxes with fishing tools, lures and terminal tackle.

On the outside, this bag has a shoulder strap with extra padding which makes it comfortable when there is excess load. The strap is also anti-slip which comes in very handy.

Then there is a molded bottom that is not just waterproof but actually repels standing water. It is also non-slip which ensures that the bag doesn’t slip away in tricky waters. The entire bag is resilient to dust and has self-healing zippers.

These bags are known for their durability and performance. There is also a hydrophobic coating on the outside which lets the moisture out. And on the inside, there is a PVC layer that gives your tackle extra protection from environmental factors.

This fishing tackle bag is also a great choice for those who want to take gear around. The main section is large and can hold about six tack box trays (which are not included by the way) that can be stored vertically or horizontally.

The side pockets are smaller and meant to hold items like your phone, wallet and keys. Seven of those pockets are external and coated with mesh pockets. They have zippers and can be used to keep tackle, trays and rain gear or secure the leader line making quick access very easy.

Then there is a front pocket that can hold a tackle box tray with additional capacity for bait. This pocket can be operated easily with just one finger thanks to the double loop zipper on it. You can also hang tools like a pair of pliers on the molded tool holder which is perfect for beginner and experienced anglers.

What We Like

  • Made of anti-slip and waterproof materials
  • Has a large main section which gives incredible storage capacity
  • Comes with 12 pockets inside and out to store smaller items
  • Has a PVC layer on the inside and hydrophobic coating on the outside for extra protection
  • Molded tool holder gives easy access to tools like pliers

What We Don’t Like

  • Zippers on this bag can break easily
  • Can be a bit heavy and oversized for some anglers
  • Does not come with tackle cases

Flambeau Waterproof Tuff Tainer

Our second choice is a flambeau soft tackle box. This is designed like a duffle bag with the idea of protecting your fishing gear from outside disturbances. This bag also comes with an adjustable and padded shoulder strap. In fact, it also has a rain flap which has buckle straps that are adjustable.

The bag itself has four zippered pockets on the outside and one rubber-coated pocket in the back. The one in the rear has a mesh coating too.

The lining of the bag is reinforced with padded lining and the lid is made of polyethylene or PE which secures your tackle no matter where you are fishing.

This tackle box is constructed with sturdy 600D and 420D polyurethane material. The bottom has rubber feet, is coated with 10 ounces vinyl and the carry handle is made of over-molded extra tuff. 

There are four Tuff Tainers that will keep your small fishing gear organized inside the bag. It’s a great storage solution and they are all resistant to corrosion.

This is possible because the plastic dividers are infused with a formula that releases vapor. This vapor creates a layer on the metallic items to fight rust in extreme marine weather conditions.

What We Like

  • Simple and functional bag to transport fishing tackle
  • Sturdy because of the PE material construction
  • Has great storage capacity thanks to the zippered pockets inside and out
  • Comes with adjustable shoulder and buckle straps which makes carrying heavy gear easy
  • Lightweight, durable and waterproof
  • Value for money

What We Don’t Like

  • Pull cords are not very well constructed
  • Dividers inside the bag are not adjustable

Plano Guide Series Tackle Bag

This third one is from Plano and belongs to the Guide series of their tackle bags. The company has been around since the 1950s meaning you can trust that they know what they’re doing.

This particular bag is made of a rugged 1680 Denier fabric and even though it is a soft box it does not lose its shape for years. The same is true for its color. It has a 

hard back and a magnetic top which makes accessing your tools rather easy.

The storage features on this bag are of a premium design. That starts with a laser-cut webbing for lures and a molded base that is non-skid thanks to the over-molded pads.

This will keep the bag from sliding around on the boat. The magnetic top will also lock the lures perfectly in place and keep the tools exactly where you need them to be.

It has five 3,500 size stowaways to organize your tackle. There is a waterproof holder on the side for smaller items like your cell phone, wallet, license holders and such.

You can also fold your carabiner and pack it in one of the zipped pockets which are easy to use and of durable construction.

It is a good investment if you’re a regular angler.

What We Like

  • Sturdy construction with a nice organizing structure
  • Lots of storage space with separate waterproof pockets for electronics and IDs
  • TPR-molded base provides rigidity and extra gripping power
  • Has a padded shoulder strap and easy-to-use zippers
  • Magnetic top is a great feature for both beginners and experienced anglers
  • Durable and the color doesn’t wash away over time

What We Don’t Like

  • Does not have a rod holder
  • Stowaway is not adjustable which can be an inconvenience

Ugly Stik Fishing Bag

The company might be calling themselves Ugly (Stik) but the bag is anything but that. This is a fishing bag made of polyester and has a capacity of almost 21 liters (20.8 liters to be precise). There are four spacious tackle boxes measuring 10.2 x 6.6 x 1.6 inches which are versatile in design.

The bottom is compression molded which means the bag won’t sag. It is also non-slip which keeps the bag where you need it on the deck of the boat. There is a shoulder strap that is padded and the top handle has a mesh on it which makes it easy for you to carry the bag.

The bag also has three external pockets with zippers. These are perfect for smaller items like cell phones and IDs. It also has a tool holster that is removable and has a belt clip which makes it easy to use.

And best of all, the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty.

What We Like

  • Nice, comfortable storage pockets
  • Durable construction which keeps it in use for a long time
  • Tool holster is removable which makes it customizable for different kinds of trips and also helps manage weight if that’s a problem
  • Great size whether you’re going fishing or kayaking
  • Value for money

What We Don’t Like

  • Pockets are not waterproof
  • Some zippers are single, instead of double as advertised

Plano B-Series Mossy Oak Manta Tackle Bag

Our final recommendation is this tackle bag from Plano. It is made of nylon and plastic and comes in mossy oak color. This is part of their B-series tackle bags which come equipped with four stowaways of which three of them are of 3,650 size and one is 3,500 size. But the bag has a capacity of six of them.

This bag is a great way to keep your gear dry because it has a waterproof base which is also impact resistant. Not a feature you will find on soft tackle boxes in this price range.

The bag also has uniquely designed features and is made of rip-stop fabrics including the panels. All of them have dual buckles or zippers to close them.

There are five pockets on the outside and one on the inside which should be enough to hold all the fishing gear. There is also a specially-sized holder for pliers which is a bonus.

What We Like

  • Made of tough ripstop fabric which makes it of sturdy construction
  • Has plenty of storage space including pockets on the outside and inside the bag
  • Pliers are separately held which makes it easy to access them
  • Has several panels which make it easy to organize the tackle
  • Durable and value for money
  • Waterproof and impact-resistant bottom
  • Has a padded shoulder strap which can be removed if it gets in your way

What We Don’t Like

  • Not the best customer service
  • Construction is strong but it’s made in China which might be unimpressive to some customers
  • Does not have a top storage flap for quick access

How to Buy a Soft Tackle Box: A Buyers Guide

There are so many different kinds of tackle boxes in the market that sometimes choosing the right one for your next fishing trip can be a challenge. But fear not because that’s what we are here for.

Picking the right tackle box depends on the kind of fishing you are going to do. But whether you are camping at a river, pond or going for fly fishing, this is a very useful bag to have for your gear.

About Soft Tackle Boxes

Now, these soft tackle boxes can be turned into a great place to hold your lures. That’s pretty much a given no matter the manufacturer. But you need to start by looking at the dimensions of the bag to make sure how many boxes can fit into them.

If you are not great at these kinds of decisions, lucky for you, you can pick any bag and rest assured that you will have a minimum of two and a maximum of six utility boxes. If you pick a large bag, there will be more.

Next, let’s talk about the convenience of owning one of these bags because that is where they really shine. You only need to take the tackle boxes you need, especially if it’s a short trip.

This will reduce the weight you need to carry and you will have a bag that does not occupy too much space on your small boat. A smaller bag for a day-long trip also won’t leave you grasping at the bag to find the bait.

The best of these bags come with a lot of storage pockets which helps organize not only your gear but other small items you will carry with you all the time, like devices and documents.

But you will also find ample space for your reels and fishing tools. Ideally, you should find a bag that has pockets of different sizes so that you can decide what goes where.

And then there is the matter of main compartment storage for your gear. It needs to be big but you must look for something which can hold more than two utility boxes. This is one of those situations where, especially for the main compartment, bigger is better.

If you go through the specs of our choices, you will also notice that they have padded shoulder straps which is a very useful feature.

Check the straps to be sturdy and with reinforced stitching for extra toughness. You also need all the bags to be waterproof and made of fabric that does not wear easily.

Now let’s look at the absolute essentials followed by the red flags.

Essential Features in a Tackle Box

Regardless of whether you are going for a traditional design or a tackle box backpack, here are some features that you cannot compromise on.

  • Storage: you need additional storage units on all of these bags. This might make the bag bigger but it is easier to find things and not mess with IDs and cell phones that you don’t need while you’re on the job.

    It is conventional wisdom to take the option when the manufacturer offers to organize the gear for you.
  • Lure Compartments: If you have a large box, you are likely to have a lot of compartments and that’s a good thing. It gives you the chance to organize and manage your gear effectively. Everything from lures to hooks and sinkers can be stored in these compartments making your experience a pleasant one.
  • Waterproof Features: We cannot stress this aspect enough. You absolutely must get a bag that is waterproof so that your gear is safe and also because a wet bag is a massive inconvenience to carry around.

    It also makes the bag heavier which is a pain when you have to lug it around.
  • Special Features: You need to think of the accessories you will be carrying and pick a tackle box that fits them all. This might need you to buy a high-quality bag but it will be worth it.

    See if you can get a rollable model which makes it easy if the bag is heavy. If not, at least make sure there is a padded shoulder strap which is what we have recommended earlier in this piece.

    If you go outside of our recommendations and get a backpack, make sure it works for hiking and camping trips too. You must also check if the compartments have reinforced handles and are removable. Those are bonus features.
  • Quality: Even when you are on a budget, this is not something anyone wants to let go of. But tackle boxes can be considered expensive. However, there are now a lot of models that come with the basics and are in the affordable range.
  • Warranty: this can be very useful when you are buying outdoor sporting gear. Most reputable ones will offer a warranty.

    What you need to check is if it covers immediate issues that are likely to show up right after the purchase or manufacturing defects. You’re lucky if you get both.
  • Size: You can never have a tackle box that is too big. Well, you can but if you know your way around the box, you will be just fine.

    If you’re getting one of these for your boat, you can have a large box because it can accommodate more trays. But if you’re going to move a lot, you must get a small one.
  • Durability: Soft or hard shell, you want a tackle box that does not stretch, crack or tear for a long time. This means you need to see if the manufacturer is known to make outdoor equipment, if it’s weatherproof and waterproof.

The Red Flags

Now that you know what features to pick, here are a few things you should avoid.

  • Bad Shoulder Straps: The worst thing is to get a tackle box you like, stuff it with all your gear only to realize that the shoulder strap broke the moment you pick it up.

    If you drop a soft tackle box, you might also damage what’s inside the bag. So, this is a critical factor.
  • Flexible Plastic: If the compartments are made of cheap plastic, they are likely to break easily because they are probably really thin. You want a solid box in the bag.
  • Broken Cases: Internal damage can be a real problem if the bag isn’t carefully delivered. So, check for broken cases right away and get it replaced.

The Bottom Line

You know about the features to look for, you know the red flags to watch out for and you have five stellar options to choose from. Pick one, buy it and you’re all set to go.

Happy Hunting!

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