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The Fish Magnet Gear Guide
For
Steelhead and Salmon Spey Fishing
By Dave Robinson

Dave Robinson Fish Magnet Gear Review

Featured Gear: Plan D Fly boxes, Cliffs Bugger Beast, and Grabflies Individual fly tubes Review by Dave Robinson

November 29, 2016


Finding a good fly box has been the bane of my existence since I started steelhead fishing. Flies themselves are pretty darn expensive to ignore having a decent way to keep them clean, dry, organized and accessible. We spend $3 to as much as $8 or more for a fly that will catch a 1 in a 1000 cast fish, but will let them turn into a ball of rusty mush in a fly box that we spent little or nothing on.

I started off with some old fly boxes I had, but they were too small for the bigger flies I was using. Then I started using the smaller Plano's that I could put in a sling bag or fanny type hip pack. That was better, but by trip end, they would be jumbled up and all stuck together with the hooks being tangled in the marabou and hook eyes. About that time the Cliffs Bugger Beast Big Fly Box came out and that was a fair solution. It kept the hooks organized but allowed the flies themselves to swing all over and get a bit jumbled. I would say it is a great box for smaller traditional flies, nymphs, and smaller swing flies. For big 3 to 4 inch intruder style flies and leeches, it is just ok by securing the hooks. However, the other problem is that some of them are made to carry LOTS of flies, some on top and bottom, or with a divider that if used that way with big flies, ends up smashing your expensive patterns. The solution to the Big Fly Box for big bugs is to use only one side so you don't smash them. Cliffs Bugger Boxes are another solution for transportation and long term storage.

Here are some other Cliffs Bugger fly boxes that might be a good solution, along with Grabflies Individual Fly tubes that I review below.

Cliff's Bugger Beast - Fly Box

(Link to Fly Box)

There are anglers out there, like us, who like to thow meat (big flies). Big flies catch big fish, but the problem is, "How do you store them?" We have the answer. The Beast Series uses the same time-tested, hook gripping, slotted blue material as our infamous Bugger Barn. If you are at the stage where you have accumulated and want to organize lots of big flies, we've got the box for you. Cliff's Bugger Beast is 13.5" X 9" X 3". The Beast Jr. is 10" X 6.5" X 2.75". the question is, "How much meat are you going to pack?"


Cliff's Bugger Beast Jr. - Fly Box

(Link to Fly Box)

There are anglers out there, like us, who like to thow meat (big flies). Big flies catch big fish, but the problem is, "How do you store them?" We have the answer. The Beast Series uses the same time-tested, hook gripping, slotted blue material as our infamous Bugger Barn. If you are at the stage where you have accumulated and want to organize lots of big flies, we've got the box for you. Cliff's Bugger Beast is 13.5" X 9" X 3". The Beast Jr. is 10" X 6.5" X 2.75". the question is, "How much meat are you going to pack?"


FlyTubes

(Click here to go to FLyTubes)

FlyTubes - Tube Fly Box made by GrabFlies.com

Crystal clear water proof plastic tubes, perfect for those Intruder flies, Moal Leeches, Stinger - trailing hook flies, Tube Flies...

Tubes come in two diameter sizes:1/2 inch (smaller Intruders, Moal Leeches, Marabou) and 3/4 inch (Large Intruders, Mega Moal Leeches)

  • Removable vinyl end caps fit securely
  • Easy to store
  • Protects Hackles, Maribou, Flash, Ostrich Plume...
  • Easy to store
  • Easy to carry
  • LESS BULK
  • Custom lengths: 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 inches
  • 1/2 inch tubes - three different color caps to help sort
  • Store and Protect Large Intruder Flies

    Removable End Caps

    "This is the only fly box I use now. In the summer I will put several skating or muddler type flies into one tube. For big steelhead flies it a must have item. I have tried so many different fly boxes, but it was always the bulk that gets in the way of Spey casting, or closing the lid down and munching the flash or marabou that gave birth to this simple fly storage solution." - Jeff Layton

    Always on the lookout for something better, I decided to load up on Grabflies individual fly tubes.

    I bought a bunch of them in all sizes. They sure do keep your flies nice, and it's easy to carry a half dozen in your wading jacket. I guess the biggest problem was finding the fly I wanted by sorting through them until I got to the right one. Then I found the Tacky Box. It turned out to be a smaller Big Bug Box with all of the same inherent problems.

    In the meantime, I had been tying my own flies with materials from the Grabflies shop that I would buy from Jeff. Some of my latest creations are basically Grabflies Skagit Leeches but tied with Rhea instead of Marabou. These are very expensive to tie but really move well and catch fish. Grabflies also offers Rhea Skagit Leeches for his website. A Rhea feather is $13 and good for 3 or 4 flies! Now I had some really expensive flies to care for! I think Jeff felt my frustration because it wasn't too much later and he shot me an email with pictures and information on the new Plan D fly boxes.

    Finally, a big bug box that is the perfect way to carry your flies for the day or the entire trip.

    You actually secure the hook eye onto the box hook at one end. Then just push down on the hook into the hook slot. The big puffy flies don't move at all! They are 100% secure. I like to organize by size and color. Read below on these specs on how I use my different fly holders to be as efficient as possible and to keep my flies nice.

    Here are the sizes and specs on the ones Grabflies sells.

    Plan D Pocket Articulated fly box (Link to fly box)


    Dave Robinson's Skagit Leeches

    The Plan D Pocket Articulated fly box utilizes our patent pending design for storing up to 8 of your favorite articulated fresh or saltwater flies. Simply slide the eye of the fly onto the stainless steel hook and insert the fly's hook into the slotted foam. The Pocket is the little brother to the Pack and the perfect box when you want to travel light.


    Plan D Pocket Plus Fly Box (Link to fly box)

    The POCKET Plus has an additional set of hooks for a total of 16. This box is especially great for micro articulated flies such as the new Intruders or Sculpzillas.


    Plan D Pack Articulated fly box (Link to fly box)

    The Plan D Pack Articulated fly box utilizes our patent pending design for storing up to 20 of your favorite articulated fresh or saltwater flies. Simply slide the eye of the fly onto the stainless steel hook and insert the fly's hook into the slotted foam. Equally at home in a boat bag or stuffed in the top of your waders, this is the box you need.


    Plan D BOAT Plus Articulated fly box with drying pad (Link to fly box)

    The Plan D BOAT Articulated fly box utilizes our patent pending design for storing up to 56 of your favorite articulated fresh or saltwater flies. Simply slide the eye of the fly onto the stainless steel hook and insert the fly's hook into the slotted foam.


    So here is how I play it now. I have two of the pocket size ones that hold 8 flies each. I will put my top fly picks in one of the Plan D pocket boxes for the days use. Then I will use the pack size Plan D to put in 20 flies that are good runners up for size, pattern and colors and carry them in my hip pack. As I fish through the day and happen to change flies, I will not put my wet flies back in the box, but I carry some of the Grablies individual fly tubes for wet flies until the end of the day, or to carry a few higher use flies in a handy pocket. When I get back to the truck, I take the wet flies out of the tubes and hang them on the back seat to dry. The next day, they are re-organized into my system.

    Does this sound like a lot of work or am I over thinking this? I use and tie flies that catch fish. They cost me a bunch of money, so I want to keep them nice, dry and organized. This seems like a trivial thing, but one of the keys to successful steelhead fishing is to keep your fly swinging in fishy water instead of fumbling around with your un-organized system. That is accomplished with efficient casting, knowing your knots, and being organized enough to get it all done quickly when you do make a change!

    Dave Robinson Fish Magnet Gear Review

    Fish Magnet reviews.

    Plan D Fly Boxes, 10/10 grabs

    These are awesome! Fully secure and clear plastic. They are perfect to keep expensive medium or BIG flies from rolling around and getting smashed or tangled. Great used in conjunction with Grabflies Individual fly tubes.


    Grabflies Individual Fly Tubes, 10/10 grabs.

    I give these 10/10 grabs. They are awesome for keeping expensive big flies in perfect shape. Even better than the Plan D boxes for keeping a fly absolutely in perfect shape. I use them in conjunction with the Plan D boxes. If you are fishing MOAL Leeches, you can also get 2 or 3 in each tube.

    The other nice thing about the tubes is that your flies will never get wet as they are really water tight.


    REMEMBER, YOU CAN CATCH A FISH WITH A BAD CAST, BUT YOU WILL CATCH MORE WITH A GOOD ONE!


    See all of Dave Robinson's gear review articles (click here)


    Learn more about Dave, and see some of the fish he catches (click here) - Jeff Layton/Grabflies