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Best Kayak Tackle Boxes for 2022 - Keeping your Tackle Organized

Written by: Pete D
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Tackle solutions for kayak anglers take some careful thought.

Not only is space at a premium on a kayak, but most tackle bags and boxes are also designed with larger decks and unencumbered access in mind, not the realities of stern well storage and twisting to reach behind your seat.

As a die-hard kayak angler myself, I know how hard finding the right tackle bag or box can be, and like you, I’ve relied on the tried-and-true plastic crate for years.

But there are options out there designed with kayaks in mind, and we’d like to help you find the right one for you.

Below, you’ll find reviews of some of my favorites, as well as a complete buying guide to help you make the best choice.

Quick glance at the best kayak tackle boxes and bags:

Related:

Best Kayak Tackle Boxes Reviewed

Wilderness Systems Kayak Crate

Wilderness Systems Kayak Crate | 4 Rod Holders | Kayak Tackle Storage | Fits Most Kayaks

Amazon 

Size: 13 ¼” x 12 ¼” x 18”

Wilderness Systems is a major player in the kayak fishing world, and it’s no surprise that they offer ‘yak-specific storage solutions. Their Kayak Crate is an excellent product, offering the storage you need with thoughtful touches like customizable rod holders.

Measuring 13 ¼” x 12 ¼” x 18,” most stern wells on fishing kayaks can accommodate this crate in at least one orientation. Moreover, the four included rod holders come with additional mounting brackets that give you plenty of options for raising, lowering, and angling them.

That’s a really good idea, and it makes this crate both customizable and versatile.

The lid on the Wilderness Systems Kayak Crate has its own locking storage compartment that is great for organizing your most used items, including things like pliers, a knife, lures, weights, and other tackle.

Inside, you’ll find space for Plano 3600 and 3700 tackle boxes. As many as 10 Plano 3600s boxes or 5 Plano 3700s will fit, providing plenty of tackle storage.

That’s the good, so what about the bad?

Though it’s not a huge deal (nor is it false advertising), this kayak crate isn’t waterproof, and even when it’s latched down, it’ll allow water in through the lid. If you need truly dry storage, look elsewhere.

Some anglers have had problems with the latches since the locking system uses a single latch for the lid-mounted storage bin. It’s pretty easy to leave that undone, and when opening the interior, you can dump all your tackle stored in the lid into the drink.

User error, to be sure, but it’s something that does come up.

Overall, this is a capable kayak storage option, especially if you like a hard crate.

Pros:

  • Customizable and versatile
  • Plenty of storage
  • Lid storage organizer is a good idea
  • Four included rod holders with multiple mounting options

Cons:

  • Not water-tight
  • Be careful to secure the lid storage latch!

Flambeau Outdoors 455TKP Tuff Krate - Best Hard Crate Fishing Tackle Box

Flambeau Outdoors 455TKP Tuff Krate - Premium

Amazon 

Size: 16 ¾” x 12 ⅘” x 15 ¼”

Flambeau Outdoors has taken the typical milk-crate design and souped it up, adding the extras we’ve all struggled to incorporate on our own for years.

16 ¾” x 12 ⅘” x 15 ¼”, the Tuff Krate has the footprint of a standard milk crate’s width while being considerably longer and taller. That means that it fits more angling kayaks well, though you should measure to be sure. 

It has the handles and openings you’d expect, making it easy to place and remove or tie down with bungees. Of course, it’s not water-tight, but it drains easily if you take on water launching the surf.

The lid of the Tuff Krate includes an integrated storage area that latches firmly shut above a larger compartment that’s great for less-used tackle. Together, they can hold as many as 5 Flambeau 5000 series or 8 4000 series Tuff Tainers.

That’s plenty for any kayak angler.

The Tuff Krate comes with two rod holders, as well - a thoughtful touch.

The only fault we can find with this crate, other than a lack of true dry storage, is that it sometimes ships with incomplete components. Amazon will make it right, of course, but that’s still a headache we’d hate to have.

Pros:

  • Plenty of storage
  • Lid storage organizer is a good idea
  • Two included rod holders

Cons:

  • Not water-tight
  • Sometimes ships with incomplete components

Pelican Exocrate Fishing Bag

Pelican - Exocrate Fishing Bag - Large Saltwater Resistant Fishing Bag - Kayak Fishing Tackle Bag - 13' x 13'

Amazon 

Size: 15 ¼” x 14” x 12 ½”

Pelican’s Exocrate Fishing Bag is a smart idea for kayak anglers. Essentially a tough bag with some storage pockets and rod holders attached, it fits an included crate within its plastic-reinforced sides. The result is an easily portable, very useful storage bag that’s perfect for a stern well.

The Exocrate measures 15 ¼” x 14” x 12 ½”, or pretty close to a standard crate. It should fit in the stern well of most kayaks, and it’s easy to bungee in place.

On one side, you’ll find utility pockets for items like pliers, knives, and hemostats. On the other, the Exocrate offers two fabric rod holders that work reasonably well. To the rear, you’ll find a large mesh pocket, and on the front, a Velcro-style pocket.

That’s a lot of useful storage, no question about it, and all of it is relatively easy to access from the seat. Beneath a zippered top that’s water-resistant, you’ll find a space that can enclose the included crate or be left entirely empty to slightly increase its capacity.

You should have room for at least 5 Plano 3600s. That, in combination with the other storage compartments on the exterior of this bag, makes it a very useful tackle storage option for kayakers.

Pros:

  • Plenty of storage
  • Lots of exterior storage options
  • Two included rod holders

Cons:

  • Not water-tight

Plano Weekend Series Kayak Crate Soft Bag - Best Fishing Kayak Tackle Bag

Plano PLAB88140 Weekend Series Kayak Crate Soft Bags, Grey, One Size

Amazon 

Size: 12" x 17 ½” x 12 ½”

Plano is the true expert on tackle storage, and they deliver innovative solutions for kayakers. Inverting the Pelican Exocrate, they’ve engineered a soft tackle bag that fits inside a standard milk crate, adding a storage lid and two “wings” that greatly increase organization options.

How well-executed is this design? Let’s find out.

The overall dimensions of the Kayak Crate Soft Bag fit inside a standard plastic crate, so if your ‘yak already wears one in its stern well, you know you’re ready to go.

It comes with 2 Plano 3600s, and can hold as many as 9. The zippered compartments to either side - and the zippered lid - add even more storage and provide easy-to-reach compartments for your most-used gear. That’s a great design feature, as anyone who’s had to twist and turn and stretch to reach something knows.

You’ll also find plenty of D-rings ready to attach essentials like pliers or hemostats, too.

Sturdy enough to use even without an enclosing crate, this tough, well-designed bag is very hard to beat as a kayak tackle storage option.

Pros:

  • Plenty of storage
  • Fits inside of a milk crate (not included)
  • Lots of exterior storage options
  • Durable and well-made

Cons:

  • Not water-tight

Yak Attack BlackPak

Yak Attack BlackPak 12x16x11 with Lid 3 Rod Holders Black

Amazon 

Size: 12” x 16" x 11"

Yak Attack’s BlackPak delivers a next-level milk crate design.

Measuring 12” x 16" x 11", the BlackPak will fit most angling kayaks with no trouble.

The advantage and disadvantage of this design is that it’s essentially a clean-sided milk crate with attachment points for as many as 10 rod holders, 3 of which are included. It’s honestly hard to get excited about this crate: yes, it works; yes, it’s a great platform for rod holders; and yes, it’s ridiculously expensive for what it is.

Just a big, durable plastic box with a bungeed-down lid, it comes with 3 rod holders, drains quickly, and is easy to insert and remove.

We’re not knocking this box, but for the price, it should do a lot more.

Pros:

  • Plenty of storage
  • Lots of rod mounting possibilities
  • Durable and well-made

Cons:

  • Not water-tight
  • Ridiculously expensive for what it is

Propel Paddle Gear Ultimate Kayak Bag

Propel Paddle Gear Ultimate Kayak Bag | Durable Water Resistant 1200 Denier Material | 2 Fishing Rod Holders | Heavy Duty Zipper | Lined Accessory Storage Compartment

Amazon 

Size: ???

Propel and Pelican have basically the same idea: make a tackle bag with exterior storage that can fit a standard milk crate inside.

So how does the Propel Paddle Gear Ultimate Kayak Bag stack up?

The interior dimensions of the Propel are built to fit a standard milk crate, though the manufacturer doesn’t report the overall dimensions. We wish they did, but expect this to fit most stern wells on fishing kayaks.

The exterior storage options on this bag are excellent, with plenty of space for must-have items like pliers, hemostats, fish grippers, and the like. Two large mesh pockets add to the utility, and you’ll find two fabric rod holders on one side.

We’d prefer to see at least one zippered or Velcro pocket on the exterior to keep essentials enclosed, so in this sense, the Pelican Exocrate wins out.

Propel’s Paddle Gear Ultimate Kayak Bag provides plenty of storage internally, and whether you choose Plano or Flambeau tackle boxes, you won’t be short on lures, hooks, weights, line, or anything else you might need.

Given that these two bags are within pennies of each other, I’d probably prefer the Pelican for that one pocket. But that said, you won’t be disappointed by the Propel, and in eerie regard, it’s a worthy competitor.

Pros:

  • Plenty of storage
  • Lots of exterior storage options
  • Two included rod holders

Cons:

  • Not water-tight

Perception Splash Kayak Crate - Best Waterproof Fishing Kayak Tackle Bag

Perception Splash Kayak Crate

Amazon 

Size: 13" x 17" x 12 ½”

Count me as impressed by Perception’s Splash Kayak Crate. Alone among the options on our short list, this storage solution offers waterproofing that can take waves, rain, and spray while keeping the inside dry.

The exterior dimensions of the Splash Kayak Crate measure 13" x 17" x 12 ½”, and most stern wells can take this storage crate, no sweat. It’s also big enough to accommodate a milk crate if you wish, turning this into a hard storage crate to some degree.

Inside, expect to fit 7 3700 Plano boxes or 13 3600 Plano boxes. That’s a lot of storage, and for gear hounds concerned about keeping everything nice and dry, Perception’s Splash Kayak Crate is definitely the way to go.

This tackle storage solution is made from durable, waterproof material that, in conjunction with a canopy-style lid, really works to keep water out.

You’ll find a D-ring at each corner, making securing this Kayak Crate easy. It’s also surrounded by strong nylon that’s been sewn to create attachment points, allowing you to accessorize this bag with added extras like Perception’s Splash Rod Holders or anything else you can dream up.

Overall, if you’re looking for a dry storage solution, this is the best option on the market.

Pros:

  • Plenty of storage
  • Lots of exterior storage options
  • Waterproof

Cons:

  • Rod holders and other storage accessories are sold separately

How To Pick the Best Kayak Fishing Tackle Box

Picking a kayak tackle box isn’t as simple as grabbing a popular storage solution and hitting the water. That’s because most tackle bags and boxes are designed around the needs of anglers who fish from the bank, the beach, or a boat.

Now, I’m not knocking these products, and I wholeheartedly recommend them for their intended purpose. But trying to retrieve a storage box from either of these popular tackle solutions is going to prove all but impossible in your ‘yak.

Instead, you need a tackle box that’s designed for kayak fishing.

Size

Most fishing kayaks are designed with a stern well that can accommodate a milk crate - think 13” x 13”. And since plastic crates have been a popular storage solution for years, those dimensions are more or less universally embraced by manufacturers.

Just be sure, though, you should measure your stern well carefully.

The products on our shortlist should fit most brands of kayak pretty well.

Ease of access

This is perhaps the biggest issue on a ‘yak.

Front-opening drawers, latches that can’t be reached from the seat, and tall, hard sides all cause more problems than they solve.

You just don’t have the space on a kayak for drawers, and since you’ll be twisting in your seat and reaching back, they’re a real hassle to open and access. Ditto for latches that would otherwise be a snap to open. And while deep interiors seem like a great idea, unless they're soft enough to fold or squish down, reaching the bottom will prove impossible.

The products on our shortlist aren’t general-purpose products - they’re kayak-specific solutions that are designed with these issues in mind.

You’ll find that each and every one of them is easy to access, open, and close from the cockpit, and you won’t have trouble finding or reaching what you need.

Storage options

In addition to a large space that can accommodate common tackle boxes like those from Plan or Flambeau, you want mesh, zippered, or Velcro-closure pockets and lots of spaces to store essentials in a way that makes sense to you.

D-rings are also really useful because they allow you an easy bungee solution to secure your tackle box, and they double as an attachment point for tools of all kinds.

I like to see lots of different storage possibilities, as this increases the utility of a tackle box quite a bit. You want a mix of large pockets, small pouches, D-rings, and holsters for tools.

Water resistance

One advantage of the milk crate is that for surf launching, it drains immediately.

But for water-sensitive items like sandwiches, that’s not so great!

There are other things that you might want to keep dry, too, but most tackle boxes are water resistant rather than truly waterproof. And even the awesome Perception Splash Kayak Crate can be compromised if you get hit by a big enough wave.

Keep that in mind, and look for water-tight storage elsewhere on your kayak.

Rod holders

Most kayaks come with plenty of rod holders built-in, as well as numerous options for attaching more. But it’s almost never a bad idea to have a few rod holders on your tackle box, too, especially if your kayak doesn’t feature behind-the-seat mounts.

On the products on our shortlist, the rod holders range from soft fabric pouches to the more stable hard plastic variety. In any case, I don’t recommend trolling from them as they're really not designed for that use.

Final Thoughts

Only you can pick the fishing kayak tackle box that’s right for you, but we’re confident that you won’t be disappointed by any of the products on our shortlist.

For our money, the best hard crate is the Flambeau Outdoors 455TKP Tuff Krate. It offers plenty of hard-sided space for tackle storage boxes and drains quickly. And the lid storage option really is useful for your most commonly accessed items. The included rod holders are well-made and durable.

Probably the best overall option on our list today is Plano’s Weekend Series Kayak Crate Soft Bag. Designed to slip into a milk crate, it offers a nearly universal footprint that’s all but guaranteed to fit your ‘yak. Storage space and options are plentiful, and clever design puts everything you need in easy reach.

For dry storage, our pick is the Perception Splash Kayak Crate. Big, easy to access, and as water-tight as a tackle storage solution can be, it’s a great pick for anglers who prioritize keeping their gear from getting wet.

As always, we hope that this article has helped you make the best choice for your needs and budget, and we’d love to hear from you!

Please leave a comment below.

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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