At Tacky Fly Fishing, we set out to create innovative, meaningful products for fly fishers, designed by fly fishers. Our first fly box uniquely anchors your flies so that you can have the best access to the flies when you need them, and we are building out an entire line of boxes with the same concept in mind. We strive to help fly fishers enjoy their experience on the river by allowing them to focus on chasing fish rather than fussing with out of date equipment.
As avid fly fishermen and guides we have long recognized the limitations of currently available boxes for holding flies. We have spent a lot of time identifying solutions to those limitations so that you can spend less time thinking about your flies and more time finding fish. The most widely used boxes utilize a thin sheet of foam with slits to hold flies. This works fine when the boxes are new, but these sheets are readily susceptible to wear and tear, and the adhesives used to secure the foam sheets to the boxes are prone to de-lamination in extreme temperatures (such as in your car during Summer months). The foam slits also develop memory when flies have been placed for an extended period (see image below). This is a big problem when you try to put a midge in a slot that previously held a big hopper or even a medium sized nymph.
Knowing the limitations and issues with the current boxes in the market, we set out to find a solution. We tested many different materials and a number of different formats to address these problems. After numerous design variations in the inserts over the past two years including variations in materials, dimensions, and cutout formats, we finally identified this patent pending system that utilizes a similar slit-based mechanism using a far superior material and an ideal tear-drop shaped cutout that will ensure excellent functionality and a lifetime of fly-boxing bliss.
We tested many different systems for fly retention. The earliest versions utilized slits in thin plastic sheets that overlayed super-strong rare-earth magnets. While this system worked quite well, the box was heavy and the system was cost-prohibitive. Next we tested many different rubber compounds such as natural rubber, neoprene, and silicone. We settled on silicone for a number of reasons including its versatility and its excellent properties in extreme temperatures. We have designed a fly box insert utilizing inherently sticky, or “Tacky,” silicone sheets that anchor the flies extremely effectively. We have exhaustively tested multiple thicknesses and durometers of silicone to identify the optimum scenario for holding a fly. Through the testing process we also learned that silicone is by nature a non-stick material, so some adhesives are not suited to adhering a silicone rubber to the inside of a plastic box. Fortunately, the adhesive experts at 3M have developed a series of adhesives specifically designed to adhere to silicone.
Another part of the evolution of the perfect box was to decide on the best material and dimensions for the box. We started with a wood box because we love the look and feel of exotic hardwoods, but we decided wood was not very practical for a number of reasons including durability and manufacturing complexity.
After all our research and development, we decided that most fly boxes are plastic for a reason- plastic is light, inexpensive, and versatile. The Tacky Fly Box will be constructed of polycarbonate (the same plastic used in the lenses of most sunglasses) because it is extremely durable and shatter resistant. We have identified the ideal box size for the typical fly fisher’s pack. The box is approximately 7″ x 3.5″ x 3/4″ thick and holds 168 Flies. We designed the box with a magnetic closure system to avoid the latch closure mechanism that is prone to damage and failure.
Introducing, the Tacky Fly Box. We have applied all we have learned, and this is a rendering of the final product. The Tacky Fly Box is a tough and sleek polycarbonate box with a clear top, a magnet closure system and a patent-pending silicone rubber insert. Box dimensions will be approximately 7″ x 3.5″ x 3/4″, with slots for 168 flies.
By now I’m sure that you’re just asking yourself how you can get your hands on a Tacky Fly Box. We are hard at work to get the Tacky Fly Box in shops and retailers throughout the United States. To find a Tacky dealer near you, check out our list of dealers and retailers. We also have a bunch of Tacky gear that is available in our online store, so be sure to check it out!