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MartinlfFebruary 12th, 2013, 9:25 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2907
Hi, I am looking to buy some new fly boxes, preferably ones that are very light weight, hold a lot of dry flies, and will protect the wings on size 12 or 14 and smaller comparaduns. A 7.5 x 4.5 inch box will fit nicely into my chest pack, so the thickness may be one of the determining factors in terms of not smashing down the wings. I'm thinking probably C+F or perhaps a Morrell style. I may also buy a similar size streamer box. Any recommendations?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
CaseyPFebruary 12th, 2013, 10:33 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
C&F is my favorite. pricey but the hooks sit nicely in those little slots and they have an option for threaders for the teensy ones. the Morrel boxes float but for some reason my squashed-barb flies come out of the foam just enough to make me not trust them as much.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
WbranchFebruary 12th, 2013, 10:40 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2502
Louis,

I love the C&F swing leaf boxes for #16 and smaller but it won't fill your needs for the #12 - #14. I've liked the clear Dewitt boxes all my life. I have seven of them in three different sizes. The two sizes that should work for you are the six compartment 1" x 3" x 4" and the other is eight compartments 1" x 3.25" x 5.75". They have metal hinges that are riveted to the plastic bottom and top sections. I have had these two boxes for over thirty years! I'm not kidding and consider them like old friends that I enjoy seeing. The larger of the two can easily hold 8 - 10 flies in each compartment without any damage to the tails or hackles.

Mine say "Dewitt Plastics" Auburn, New York on the backs. Another box I use, and like, are the Myran boxes. They are a harder plastic and come in similar sizes.

Here is a link to the six compartment box;

http://catalog.dewittplastics.com/viewitems/lightweight-line-plastic-boxes/series-1023-lightweight-line-plastic-boxes?

Here is the link to the eight compartment box;

http://catalog.dewittplastics.com/viewitems/lightweight-line-plastic-boxes/series-1020-lightweight-line-plastic-boxes?

These links take you to the manufacturer. They also make the Myran boxes. I didn't examine the site close enough to see if they sell retail. But if you Google "Dewitt fly boxes" you will get multiple hits of vendors who sell direct retail.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnFebruary 12th, 2013, 11:29 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
I have had my eyes on a style I've seen that looks something like the one shown in my link here...This isn't the actual one though...I don't remember the name. I have seen them with fly shop logos on them etc...They have foam slits, and the cool thing is the lids are deep enough not to crush parachutes etc. The ones I've seen are two sided. Plus the lid is clear.

Sorry I don't know the makers name...

http://www.gatesflyshop.com/The-Big-Fly-116_p_185.html

I also like the C & F boxes and own a few...I own a couple of their slotted boxes which I love, but I'm not too fond of their compartment ones with the clear plastic inside the lid which is held down by a magnet...Flies always gather around the magnet and when you lift this second lid some flies stick to it...Poor design.

Like Matt I have a bunch of the Myran boxes in different sizes...I have a couple Wheatleys and a green tinted plastic box that was made in France and was one of my first and is still going. Matt. Maybe you remember those as well...I think it may have started with a P?

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EntomanFebruary 13th, 2013, 12:48 am
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Fly boxes? Never met one I didn't like....:) Seriously though, I have extensively used most makes and types over the years and with few exceptions most are quite serviceable. It depends on the use intended and a person's budget as to which ones I would advise purchasing. The C & f boxes are hard to beat, generally. Forget the swing leaf for drys, as Matt said. For the sizes Louis is talking about 5 rows on one side and six on the other (for the small stuff) is perfect. Nothing will hold them neater and protect their shape as well, and in a smaller space. Each row will hold more flies than a compartment and your little ones won't end up in a tangled wad in the corner. I also agree with Matt that the big Dewitts are the best solution for big puffy dries. Keep them sealed for long storage as bugs can get into them. For you guys that have never owned one, don't believe that stuff about wind blowing flies out due to all the compartments being exposed when you open them; losing your balance or dropping it while open is a different matter.:) For aggressive wading in heavy water, the gasket C & F models are worth a look. Besides the flies staying dry, they make the fly vest into a life vest! Keep 'em up front though, you don't want to float face down!;)

Drag this photo to your desktop and enlarge to look around. These are working boxes and each were selected for a specific purpose. Of special note is the C & F Fly File cut off by the top frame. I have a couple of those and each one holds a dozen slot foam inserts.

How'd you like to lug all these around in your vest, Spence?:)

"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
MartinlfFebruary 13th, 2013, 8:41 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2907
Many thanks for the ideas.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Feathers5February 13th, 2013, 9:52 am
Posts: 287
I have had my eyes on a style I've seen that looks something like the one shown in my link here...This isn't the actual one though...I don't remember the name. I have seen them with fly shop logos on them etc...They have foam slits, and the cool thing is the lids are deep enough not to crush parachutes etc. The ones I've seen are two sided. Plus the lid is clear.

Sorry I don't know the makers name...

http://www.gatesflyshop.com/The-Big-Fly-116_p_185.html

I also like the C & F boxes and own a few...I own a couple of their slotted boxes which I love, but I'm not too fond of their compartment ones with the clear plastic inside the lid which is held down by a magnet...Flies always gather around the magnet and when you lift this second lid some flies stick to it...Poor design.

Like Matt I have a bunch of the Myran boxes in different sizes...I have a couple Wheatleys and a green tinted plastic box that was made in France and was one of my first and is still going. Matt. Maybe you remember those as well...I think it may have started with a P?

Spence


Spence
Scientific Angler makes those, and although nice, they are heavy.
Bruce
Feathers5February 13th, 2013, 10:02 am
Posts: 287Louis
As far as C & F fly boxes they are way over priced. You can buy the same thing, just as nice, for half price if you look around. They just aren't
C & F brand. Check the links below. I have several from the Fly Tyer's Dungeon that have been going strong for about 5 years.
Bruce


http://www.allenflyfishing.com/ab001-s/


http://www.flytyersdungeon.com/flyfishingproducts.htm
CrepuscularFebruary 13th, 2013, 10:08 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
Richardson Chest Box. Never leave home without it, since I was 12 yrs old. That makes my box 32 yrs old, the brass is tarnished and I've replaced the foam in the non compartment trays a few times but thats it. it has held up way beyond expectations. I'd be lost without it. Both hands are free to select a fly and tie it onto your tippet. I have a three tray version, so I do supplement with 1 or 2 other boxes. I like the thin orvis boxes for nymphs and spinners, a lot of room but do not take up much vest pocket space like my C&F boxes which I only use for my big drake and hex dries. For those of you non pa folks and dont know what im talking about, here is a link to the Richardson boxes... I can't say enough good things about them.http://www.chestflybox.com/
WbranchFebruary 13th, 2013, 10:58 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2502
"As far as C & F fly boxes they are way over priced. You can buy the same thing, just as nice,"

Well, maybe, but I tried a couple C&F knock-offs I found on Ebay and they suck. Far fewer slits per row and the box is actually an inch or more longer than my 3" x 4" boxes and it has fewer rows. I want my boxes to look sharp. I use those dogs for sucker spawn, estaz and glo-bugs.

I have seen a couple that look decent; they have the slits and a little triangle cut-out right by the slit so I think you can locate the slit easier by putting the bend of the hook into the open triangle and pushing the fly back. That is a nice feature but you can't get 22 flies side by side with that style box. Many of my rows that are nymphs or emergers are 22 side by side. Most of my duns are every 2nd slit and spinners are every 3rd slit.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
CrepuscularFebruary 13th, 2013, 11:37 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
Matt, do you use your Richardson box?
WbranchFebruary 13th, 2013, 11:42 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2502
"Matt, do you use your Richardson box?"

No, I sold two on PAflyfishing last year. One was a three tray that needed refurbishment; straps and new foam in the trays. I pretty much gave that one away for $50. Then I sold an original black, four tray, Rex Richardson box, in mint condition, for $250.00.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
CrepuscularFebruary 13th, 2013, 11:51 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
So you don't have the one in the photo anymore?
WbranchFebruary 13th, 2013, 12:14 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2502
"So you don't have the one in the photo anymore?"

Yes, I still have it. I had three, I was a sicko! That one is a three tray with an original brown suede leader pouch and the magnifier. When I was a younger man I wore it all the time and you should of seen the four tray! I had all my spinners and micro nymphs on the lids of tray 2 - 4. Tray one was nymphs, tray 2 - 3 were dries #14 - #20. Tray four was all the big brown and green drake duns & spinners, and the MB's.

I had literally 600 - 700 flies in it. Now I don't have the wading confidence I had when I was in my 20's - late 50's and am always thinking if I fell in all those flies would get wet and it would ruin my trip because I would have to get out and dry off every single fly.

Now I just keep two C&F boxes in my upper vest pockets and maybe one other 4" x 6" box in the lower pocket so if I do get wet the damage is far less.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
EntomanFebruary 13th, 2013, 1:13 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
PS. Don't your dry fly hackels get matted in those C & F style boxes?

Not at all, Bruce. In fact, no other design will keep the delicate parts in better condition as long as a few rules are followed:

1. No up-wing or standard hackle dry flies larger than 18 in the swing leaf models.
2. Match flies to the appropriate slot configuration.
3. With up-winged & standard hackles larger than 16, reverse the insert loading so that when closed the wings and hackle from one side are against the tails of the other.
4. Angle the larger flies up a little so the hackle doesn't touch the space between the rows.
5. For big flies (8's & 10's), you can only use one side.

The last rule is the reason why compartment boxes are better for the larger sizes excepting your most delicate forked tails. Compartment boxes can be hard on tails, invariably putting a curl in some of them that's hard to remove, even with steam. This is especially frustrating on large drake spinners that have long delicate split tails. This problem is worsened if the boxes are stored vertically in a fly vest. My compartment Wheatleys (though I love them dearly) are actually a pain in the butt in this regard, but for an additional reason besides gravity. Their tiny springs and metal seams are tail tip grabbers and it is often hard to remove stuck flies without ruining them with little curls, bends, or breakage. Wings too...

Matt,

That's quite a collection! It's amazing what the product of time x fanaticism can end up looking like , eh?:)

BTW - I think you are shorting yourself more than you think in terms of value. I've got a 7 row swing leaf C&F full of tiny flies that's got to be worth at least $1,000, even if you factor in the modest price of 2 bucks a pop for the flies (I wouldn't sell any of mine that cheap).

if I fell in all those flies would get wet and it would ruin my trip because I would have to get out and dry off every single fly.

Yeah, that's why I mentioned the gasket type for fishing where a dunking is more likely. I just switch out the inserts to them. Had a spot on the MO I liked that was tricky wading when the flows were up so I luckily switched out my boxes in anticipation. One day I slipped wading a little deep and couldn't hold my footing. I knew the water shallowed up down below me so rather than trying to swim (an instinct to suppress unless you are upstream from a maelstrom where you shouldn't be wading in the first place), I just floated down feet first. My vest was annoyingly floating up so I instinctively crossed my arms over my chest. This pulled it tight against my body and I floated like a cork, feeling for a shallow bottom occasionally with my left (river center) foot until I came into hip deep water about 30 yds or so down stream. I sheepishly trudged back to the rig for a change of clothes and some spare waders. I was back fishing in 20 min. because all my flies (except for one box left open on the dash) were bone dry. Those boxes are heavier though.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
WbranchFebruary 13th, 2013, 1:39 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2502
"Compartment boxes can be hard on tails, invariably putting a curl in some of them that's hard to remove, even with steam. This is especially frustrating on large drake spinners that have long delicate split tails."

Way back in them "Olden Days" Scientific Anglers brought out a neat fly box that had a removable insert for each side of the box. One insert has four rows of flexible plasic channels and the other side has five rows. When you close the box the four row side dovetails in between the spaces of the five row side. If you look at the yellow box in my picture you might be able to see what I'm referring too. I put all of my #10 - #14 microfibbet tailed spinners in those boxes.

I had three of them but someone stole one of them out of my drift boat but the other two still hold the flies very securely and I bought them prior to 1968.

Talking about stealing - not only did someone steal one of those boxes but someone else stole a large 4" x 7" deep box with those foam ripple pads that had all of my Green & Brown Drake emergers, duns, and spinners and 80% of my big March Brown comapara-duns, also out of the Hyde when I went up to the parking lot to get the car and trailer. I was devastated about that lose and it took me an entire year to re-tie all those flies.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
WbranchFebruary 13th, 2013, 1:49 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2502
Kurt,

"I think you are shorting yourself more than you think in terms of value. I've got a 7 row swing leaf C&F full of tiny flies that's got to be worth at least $1,000,"

I think you misread my sentence. I said I have at least 7000 flies and probably 8000 is a closer number. So that would put the value at between a minimum of $10,500 to an outside value of $16,000. Probably much more because of the hundreds of Clousers I have and I think they list for about $3.00 each and then I have all those salmon Bombers and other big dries. Last time I looked even Crazy Charlies were $2.50 - $3.00 and the crab flies $4.00 - $5.00. So yea there is alot of value there.

I told my wife that when I die to be careful about someone coming over and saying "let me help you out and get rid of all those flies, I'll give you $500."
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
EntomanFebruary 13th, 2013, 1:56 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
I told my wife that when I die to be careful about someone coming over and saying "let me help you out and get rid of all those flies, I'll give you $500."

Ha! One of my nightmares...:) Once picked up a 8 1/2 ft. E.C. Powell in pristine condition at a garage sale for an embarrassing price. Still feel a little guilty about it. Luckily, I have three boys and a nephew that know better!:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
FalsiflyFebruary 13th, 2013, 2:36 pm
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 656
My biggest worry is that when I'm dead and gone, my wife will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it.
-- Koos Brandt
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
EntomanFebruary 13th, 2013, 3:13 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Lol:) Very good, Allan.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
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