Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Making Your Own Fly Boxes

Fly boxes are one of the most crucial and underrated components of a fly fisherman's equipment list. These days there are almost an infinite number of fly box designs, shapes (and prices!). If you like to do things yourself or have difficulty coming to grips with paying exorbitant prices for one of the most common things in the world (foam), read on...

I had heard of people using video cases as fly boxes before, but it wasn't until I saw one that Steve Chatterton had made up for his nymphs that I was sparked into action. The steps below show how you can make yourself a simple, effective fly box for a fraction of the price of a brand name box. More importantly, you can customise the foam or the case to suit your specific needs.

For this you will need:

  • An empty video case (available at video stores or discount shops - get a semitransparent one rather than a black one as 1) you can see what is in it if you have a few of them laying around, and 2) black fly boxes will get very hot if left in the sun, which could affect the flies inside.)
  • A razor blade or a pair of scissors
  • Double sided tape (medium-large width)
  • Some flat or rippled foam of your choice (Clark Rubber has some good foam matting which they sell on rolls by the metre in a variety of colours - the thin, open cell foam packing used in fruit boxes can also be useful for small flies)


Instructions (click on the picture to see a larger view in a new window)

02.jpg (53997 bytes) 1. Cover the inside base of the video case with double sided tape.
03.jpg (109686 bytes) 2. Measure up the foam sheet and cut it to fit nicely inside the case. Carefully align it over the double sided tape and press it on. You might want to use two different types of foam in the box, as softer foam can be better to store flies tied on fine gauge hooks.
07.jpg (96519 bytes) 3. As an extra feature, you can run a thin bead of superglue underneath the edge of the plastic cover sheet and form a pocket on the outside of the box. In this you can store spare leaders or tippet material, which might be a lot easier than carrying different spools in your bag or pocket.
04.jpg (85418 bytes) Different sized boxes are handy for different situations. Once the foam has been worn out, it is simple to replace it with some new foam. If you are carrying a lot of epoxy coated flies such as surf candies, it may be worth making the lid of the box opaque, as sunlight will tend to slowly break down and 'yellow' the epoxy.
05.jpg (98510 bytes) This video case box is used to carry my estuary flies as it is reasonably compact and can hold quite a lot of flies.
06.jpg (93356 bytes) This larger box is used to store large saltwater flies for use off the rocks and in boats, where holding capacity and 'headroom' space for the long flies is more important than compactness.