The metal tackle box is one of the oldest pieces of fishing gear around and some anglers still prefer them today. Let’s take a look at the history of these tackle boxes as well as the things you need to know before you take one fishing.
- 1 1. Metal tackle boxes date as far back as the 1870s.
- 2 2. They have all the pros and cons that you’d expect from a hard tackle box.
- 3 3. Rust may or may not be a problem.
- 4 4. They are extremely durable.
- 5 5. They’ve largely been replaced by plastic.
- 6 6. There are still a lot of vintage options available.
- 7 7. You can safely use a metal tackle box for fishing, but you have to be a little more careful than you would with other options.
1. Metal tackle boxes date as far back as the 1870s.
At first, there wasn’t much distinction between a metal tackle box and a metal toolbox. Early designs had expandable trays inside where the angler could organize fishing tackle, hooks, lures, and everything else in small compartments. There was often a main compartment underneath the trays for larger pieces of equipment. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that tackle boxes and toolboxes began to have unique designs.
2. They have all the pros and cons that you’d expect from a hard tackle box.
Hard tackle boxes have a lot of benefits that soft tackle bags do not. The fold-out trays keep everything organized and nothing is hidden. When you lift them, you can see everything inside the tackle box at the same time. It’s really easy to find exactly what you’re looking for, and you don’t have to dig around in pockets or use a flashlight to see to the bottom of a deep backpack or bag.
Metal fishing tackle boxes have some downsides, too. They’re often heavy and bulky and, though they have a lot of compartments for organization, they don’t have as much space as a soft tackle bag that was designed to hold as much as possible. Metal tackle boxes take up a lot of room, too, and are not always easy to carry.
3. Rust may or may not be a problem.
One of the biggest problems with metal tackle boxes is that they’re prone to rust, particularly if you’re using a vintage model that isn’t properly protected. It’s hard to keep a tackle box dry. If a metal tackle box is placed in a puddle or if lures and other gear are still wet when placed in the trays, rust is hard to avoid.
To stop this from happening, some manufacturers started using powder coating. This method involves using electricity to adhere powder to the metal and bake it on. It provides a nice barrier that prevents water from coming in contact with the metal, stopping rust from forming. Powder-coated metal tackle boxes last a lot longer than those that are unprotected or only covered with paint.
4. They are extremely durable.
Metal tackle boxes can really take a beating. You can toss them in the back of your car, drop them, bump into them, bang them into things, and everything inside will remain untouched. That said, metal dents pretty easily and, though your gear will be safe, the fishing tackle box itself might look a little worse for the wear.
Note that the integrity of a metal tackle box is drastically affected by whether or not it’s protected against rust. Rust weakens the metal and, in time, can eat right through it.
5. They’ve largely been replaced by plastic.
Some anglers prefer a hard fishing tackle box to a soft one, and there are a lot of options out there but, these days, metal tackle boxes have largely been replaced by plastic. There are a lot of reasons for this. First, plastic is lighter and more durable than metal. It won’t dent or bend from being banged around and it’s much easier to carry.
Second, you don’t have to worry about rust with a hard plastic tackle box. You can set it in a puddle of water and nothing will happen. All you have to do is towel it dry and it’s as good as new. Not only does this mean your tackle box is less likely to get ruined, but it’s also much easier to clean after a messy trip without worrying about causing any additional damage.
6. There are still a lot of vintage options available.
While most modern manufacturers have transitioned to making hard tackle boxes out of plastic, there are still a lot of vintage options available. You can find a wide range online and they come in countless sizes, shapes, and colors. If you have your heart set on a metal tackle box but can’t find one that you like, take a look online and see if a vintage one will do the trick. After all, if these fishing tackle boxes are durable enough to last for decades, they must be pretty tough.
7. You can safely use a metal tackle box for fishing, but you have to be a little more careful than you would with other options.
If you find a metal tackle box you love, you can definitely use it for fishing. Some anglers prefer the simplicity of a metal tackle box. It’s really easy to find what you’re looking for, they’re extremely durable, and you can’t beat the aesthetic.
That said, there are some things to keep in mind. Try to find one that’s powder-coated so it is protected as much as possible. Remember, rust is a constant threat with metal tackle boxes, so you have to do as much as you can to keep it from becoming a problem. It’s hard to avoid water when fishing, but try your best if you want your metal tackle box to last. Avoid putting it down too close to puddles or the water’s edge. Instead, keep it on dry land or place it on a nearby rock or table. Bring a towel along if you can. That way, if you get stuck in the rain, you can quickly dry the metal to prevent any damage. Finally, make sure your lures and anything else you place back in the tackle box are thoroughly dry first. Dry them with a towel or lay them out in the sun to dry before you pack up to head home at the end of the day.
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