I had a question recently about how to carry extra flies when traveling. It’s a great question and I thought you might like to hear my answer as well. I’ll begin by saying this method works for me, but I’m constantly trying to find the best way to carry the flies we may use on a 4 to 6 week fly fishing road trip.
I think we all struggle to determine an effective way to carry our flies. How many systems have you tried?
If you are a fly tyer, your answer might be different. Whether you tie flies or not, a storage container may be something you need. You may not need any at all. Your strategy might be to stop at a fly shop to restock missing flies.
If you are looking for a different answer, read on.
This is an order I tied for a customer. His approach is to order enough flies for the season at one time. He’ll fill in the fly box holes when flies were lost on fish or trees and use a storage system similar to this box for the remaining flies. When several flies are lost, he’ll simply reload the fly box with flies.
My original method was to use Plano 18 compartment clear, plastic boxes. You can find many brands with different configurations, but I settled on the 18 compartment variety with dimensions of 11 x 7 x 1.75 inches. They worked well for large flies and I regularly used 2 or 3 compartments for a fly style and size when tying several dozen. Below is an example of size 12 and 14 Beetle Bailey and Beetle Betty flies in one of these boxes.
The dividers were fixed. I even used this style to store my hooks for many years. In fact, I still have a couple boxes around with a few hooks remaining in them. Some of the boxes only had one clasp to secure them. I preferred those utilizing 2 clasps to prevent the lid from opening. I felt much safer!
The next box I used on my journey was a smaller version of the Plano storage boxes with dimensions of 9 x 4.5 x 1.5 inches. I purchased a set of 4 in this Cabela’s carrying bag (I’ve replaced the boxes, so read on).
The bag protected the boxes really well. I purchased additional boxes without the bag, but this is what can happen.
The boxes weren’t nearly as sturdy and several broke when tossed around in a larger storage container outside of the bag.
A few years ago, I found Meiho Clear Case boxes and use the Cabela’s bag to carry them (see image above). They are roughly 8 x 5.5 inches and come in two depths, 1.1 and 1.5 inches. These boxes have very sturdy latches, and the compartments are adjustable. In fact, these dividers are the most secure I’ve used. Your local fly shop may stock these. The boxes can be purchased through Amazon, but prices are higher. Either Google “Meiho Clear Case” or try this LINK. The examples below are both 1.1″ deep.
Here are several images of flies in the boxes. Notice how I adjusted the dividers to fit fly sizes (1.5 inches deep).
A box of small Perdigon and miscellaneous nymphs and small dry flies (1.1 inches deep).
I even started a box with a few streamers (1.5 inches deep).
For larger dry flies and nymphs, I continue to use a reliable Plano 11 x 7 x 1.75 inch, 18 compartment clear boxes.
Hopefully, this will give you a few ideas how to store and carry extra flies.
Lastly, I wanted to share my newest YouTube video. I’ve been working on filling my own provider box for the upcoming season. I’ve already published videos with detailed instructions on how I tie the flies. For fun, I decided to turn on my Nikon Z 6ii to see how many flies I could tie within the 29 minute 59 second recording limit. The video is sped up 600 times, which results in a video of 5 minutes and 20 seconds. I’ve enjoyed doing this for something different. I hope you enjoy it as well.
(John Kreft is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.)