May 19, 2022
By George Daniel
With super-inflation hitting just about every product and service these days, it’s nice to see a quality product at an affordable price. When it comes to fly-fishing products, the Fulling Mill Tactical Box ($28, fullingmill.com) is one of the best priced fly boxes on the market today. Full disclosure before we get started: I am a Fulling Mill contract tier, but I was using these boxes months before I signed on. With that said, I wanted to share my thoughts on what I consider the “Tacoma base model” of fly boxes.
The first feature I like is the bright red color. If you haven’t lost a fly box yet, you will. I’ve spent several hours of my life with my head tilted to ground searching for fallen fly boxes. I can say with confidence these bright red boxes are easy to spot on the forest floor.
The Tactical Box is a two-side configuration that holds up to 520 flies. The Tactical Max ($40) is the same box with flip leaf in the center, and holds up to 960 flies. I currently use one Tactical Max (shown to the left) to carry all my trout flies except for midge patterns.
I’m a clumsy guy and have a knack for dropping items on the ground and in the water. What impressed me about these boxes is their toughness. Each box is made from a lightweight but impact-resistant polycarbonate—the result is a tough, durable box. If it feels heavy, it’s because you’ve got too many tungsten nymphs in there! I’ve dropped these boxes on concrete numerous times, leaving only a small scar. Even more impressive is that the strong magnet closures remained shut during those impacts. Where other magnetic boxes would have popped open, the Tactical Max remained shut, preventing any loose flies from escaping. Maybe even more impressive is the fact that only a few flies dislodged themselves during the countless accidental drops.
At first, I was disappointed to see foam inserts rather than the popular silicone inserts, but I realized this is what makes the box both lighter and more affordable. I’ve been using these boxes for over eight months and am impressed with how well the foam has held up and retained its ability hold flies during bumpy travels. This was not by accident, as Fulling Mill spent almost a year sourcing a quality foam that could perform like silicone, but with less weight and less strain on your pocketbook.
No box is perfect, but for function and cost, I feel the Tactical and Tactical Max boxes may be the best trout fly boxes available. In fact, would compare the Tactical Box to a Toyota Tacoma base model—no thrills, no luxurious layout, but designed to function over a long time. There’s a popular saying: “The only things left during the next apocalypse will be zombies and Tacomas.” I think I could add Fulling Mill Tactical Boxes to that short list, as they are bombproof.