If you are reading this article, I guess you have just dropped a fly box overboard and watched helplessly as it sunk to the deep. Don,t feel too bad, I am sure most fly fishermen have lost more than a few fly boxes over the years.
In this article, I will share what I consider to be the best fly boxes that float, when fully loaded with flies. It is no good if the box floats when empty only to sink out of reach when full of tungsten flies.
Quite a few boxes sink
Many fly boxes do not float, when fishing is fast flowing water a sinking box might be desirable. But if fishing in deep water a floating box is much easier to recover.
Some boxes also float when they are sealed and air tight, but if dropped when open they slowly start to submerge.
- Plastic boxes, full of foam typically float when closed.
- Compartmental and magnetic boxes typically start to sink once saturated.
- Metal boxes, nearly always sink.
- Wooden boxes, full of foam typically float.
I know from first hand experience that my C & F designs fly box sunk to the bottom before I could get in position to retrieve it, I really should have used a lanyard.
C & F does make a lot of different waterproof models. I have not tested them, but I suspect the ones full of foam in theory should be buoyant when sealed.
The Fishpond/Tacky boxes with their silicon fly holders typically sink, so do the gorgeously designed Whealty Aluminium boxes.
Do you need a floating or sinking fly box?
If you are reading this article, I suspect you already know whyyou need a floating box, but I feel it is important to note that sinking fly boxes are better suited in some situations and are normally my preference when fishing from the shore.
The time floating fly boxes really shine is in deep water. So they are an excellent choice from boats, float-tubes or kayaks. Floating does become a disadvantage when you drop them in moving white water.
I typically, bring a floating fly box with me when I am fishing from the kayak, but I am more likely to fish a sinking box when wading. Rivers typically flow faster than I can wade and run.
Always place your contact details, such as name, phone number, email address or other form of identication into your fly box. If, lost and found makes returning them possible.
The 6 Best Fly Boxes That Float
1) Orvis Ultralight Floating Fly Boxes
These are great when fishing from a kayak or float-tube. They are extremely buoyant.
The design could not be more simple. Simply a well constructed foam box to store flies. This foam construction means it floats even when fully loaded with flies.
It is significantly lighter than more traditional plastic fly boxes, meaning it is barely noticeable when carried in the vest.
Inside the box there is slitted foam to hold the flies. The slits hold onto the flies well, although I suppose it could loosen with use. So far it has been issue free.
The fly box is held shut by a couple of magnets that are strong enough to prevent accidental opening.
One oversight is that there are no lanyard attachment points. A theme all too common with foam fly boxes.
Finally, I will add that the fly box is not waterproof.
The Aventik float fly box shares a lot in common with the more expensive Orvis. It is made out of a very comparable dense foam, and like the Orvis it also floats.
So what are the main differences? Well, the Aventik is a lot cheaper, but I do feel the Orvis is slightly better built.
The internal foam is slitted, which makes adding and removing flies easy.
The magnets in the Aventik can rust after a while which is not ideal, and I have read a few reports of them coming loose and falling out.
It also lacks an attachment point for a lanyard.
Overall, the Aventik fly box is not quite as well made as the Orvis, But two Aventik boxes cost less than a single Orvis fly box. This is value is very hard to bet.
3) Loop Opti 180 Dry Fly Box
If budget is not an issue, and you just want a high quality fly box that floats then the Loop Opti is an excellent choice.
It floats well and has the best waterproofing I have seen on a flybox. It is an excellent way to prevent your flies from getting wet when wading a little too deep.
Overall construction and build quality is top class with excellent tolerances. Inside the box, there are apartments for dry fly storage and slitted foam for storing nymphs and other flies.
There are several variations of the Loop fly box. Some of them only feature foam interiors and different storage layouts. Probably something to suit anyone.
Now, the only downside, that I can tell is the price. They are not cheap, but quality never is. If the loop fly boxes are too much continue reading for cheaper options below.
4) Flambeau Outdoors Blue Ribbon Waterproof Fly Box
This is the first ‘hard plastic’ fly box on this list, it also happens to be the box I currently use to carry my dries and nymphs.
It does float, but it is not quite as buoyant as the foam boxes above. In either case it is not going to sink to the bottom like a rock.
When I think of Flambeau, I always think of high quality tackle boxes. And, I suppose a fly box is just a tackle box for flies. Like their tackle boxes, their fly boxes are very well made.
I rate the Flambeau fly boxes because for the money they are extremely durable and well made. I have had mine for years and both the hinges and latch still work perfectly. No sign of deteriorating.
The fly box seems to be very watertight, maybe not 100% waterproof but still good enough to keep my flies dry.
I do have a couple of complaints.
The first is in regards to the internal foam not having slits. (There is in fact several varations, some with slit foam and even a compartmental one for storing dry flies).
It also lacks attachment points for a lanyard (A problem it shares with most boxes on this list).
For a hard plastic case that floats, it is a great budget option.
(Flambeau also makes a foam fly box that floats, it seems well made, but I have not personally used it. It also uses solid, rather than slitted foam for fly storage)
5) Maximum Catch Fly Box
A nice, yet generic clear plastic fly box that has enough buoyancy to float even when fully loaded.
I always associate clear plastic with brittleness, which made me a bit hesitant to try this box. So far it has held up okay, but I do keep it out of the sun in my pack.
The waterproof gasket does a good job. It can certainly survive a quick swim without the flies getting wet.
The latches and hinges seem well built. Maybe not to the same standard as the Flambeau boxes but still good enough.
This is clearly a mass produced box, and very similar (Maybe identical boxes) can be found under multiple different brands.
Comes in four sizes, ranging between 4.1 and 7.3inches long.
6) Orvis Posigrip Flip Page Fly Box
The Orvis Posigrip is a flip page fly box with enough buoyancy to keep it afloat.
Very basic design but is well made. Nice and compact design and even the small size can hold a large selection of nymphs, dries, and small streamers.
The small size fits comfortably into a vest’s pocket. The larger sizes, while not that bulky are a good size for bulk storage or longer trips.
This fly box is not sealed, and it also lacks a lanyard attachment point.