Product Review by Joe Cornwall
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The pictures attached to the press release showed something very different; it most certainly was not my father's tackle box to put an angling spin on that old car commercial. The Readi-Lure© is octagonal, for starters. And it is clear. And it is made from Plexiglas - or something that looks a lot like it. I immediately thought this might be the perfect fly fisher's boat box. I'm a big fan of tackle boxes for fly fishing and I'm always on the lookout for a new design and the Next Big Thing. Check out my Bass Pro Shops tackle bag review for an introduction to my personal biases when it comes to packing a dozen fly boxes, spools of tippet material, clippers, nippers and other assorted "must haves" into the limited space available on the typical canoe or kayak. I nearly broke my finger dialing the number to request a sample!
Alicia Wills, the daughter in the father/daughter team that is Tackle-Tech, was very gracious and shared with me that she'd just "just sold a clear box to a fly fisherman the other day because he said he needed it to store all his feathers, etc…because he makes his own flies and loved the different drawers and the ability to see through the box." Okay, so my thought wasn't that original, but the excitement remained. It's not often that a company comes along and stands our preconceived notions on end. The last time I remember seeing something really new in a tackle box system was way, way back when disco was king and the Plano hip-roof tackle box took the angling world by storm. I still have mine, by the way.
A few weeks later I came home to find a large box on my doorstep. I love new stuff. My wife says its an unresolved issue related to the proximity of my birthday to the Christmas holiday. Something about never getting complete fulfillment. Sure honey, whatever you say... I think it's just a fly fisher's passion for stuff. You say tomato...
My sample is in the clear finish. The Readi-Lure is also available in chartreuse, green and passion pink! The Tackle-Tech web site claims that the "innovative horizontally-loading design of the Readi-Lure® fishing tackle box ensures fast and easy access to all of your bait and tackle! The twin 4-drawer storage system provides multiple removable compartments for bait and lures of varying sizes and shapes. The fishing tackle box is made of a durable, translucent polypropylene plastic that is both lightweight when empty and allows nighttime content visibility with the assistance of a flashlight. The state-of-the-art octagonal design provides a variety of compartment sizes for storage of up to 200 fishing baits while keeping the fishing tackle box well-organized." How could I ask for more? Clearly (no pun intended) a lot of thought went into this made-in-the-USA piece of manufacturing ingenuity.
The Readi-Lure is an amazingly well-built product. The carrying strap has a hefty swivel lock that looks like it can hold back an excited retriever on opening day of duck season. The webbed strap itself is fitted with a contoured shoulder pad and is adjustable. This would come in handy for securing the box to the thwarts of my canoe - unsecured items are certain to end up missing if, in the course of paddling, you have a dumb-ass idea (right, Ron?). I had no doubt the strap would make lugging all my stuff to the water's edge a bit easier, too.
The Readi-Lure is a horizontally loading box; each of the ends swings down on brawny hinges to reveal four removable drawers and dozens of elongated compartments. The design is, in essence, two of these boxes welded end-to-end in a mirror-image configuration. Each of the end "lids" is fitted with a water-resistant grommet to keep the contents dry. The box has four stubby 'legs' that elevate it above the slosh on the floor of any working canoe, further protecting your gear from unnecessary soaking.
At eight-and-one-half pounds empty, the Readi-Lure isn't a lightweight. It's probably not that much heavier than my old Plano, but with the carrying strap and compact design it wasn't awkward to move around. I definitely wouldn't want to wade a stream or walk a beach carrying this much weight, but then that's not what this tackle box is designed for. The DVD that comes with the box (yes, they have a DVD) shows a few of the more sedentary angling types upending the box and using it as a seat! These folks are confident in their build quality! The box is also labeled as "worm proof" against melting due to the chemical composition of plastic baits, UV protected, and fade resistant. That's a lot of goodness to pack into a 15-1/2” x 11-3/8” x 11” space!
I tried fitting my fly fishing gear into the Readi-Lure, but it was a no-go. The 86 compartments are clearly designed (again, no pun intended) for hard baits. There wasn't a single area large enough to house a small fly box and the individual spaces were too large for flies. Then I tried fitting my fly tying gear into the box. This worked out a bit better, but it was still a poor choice considering the odd sizes of bucktails, pheasant tail feathers, turkey flats and various pelts. The smaller hook boxes, thread spools and other items were wonderfully accommodated, though. This might be a good unit for use in a home fly tying storage system, but as a travel solution it just didn't pass muster.
Finally I decided maybe the designers had it right and this was a tackle box and not a fly fishing solution. Eureka! The Readi-Lure is an ideal solution for folks who like to fish crank baits, blade baits, spoons and plugs. It fell a bit short in the spinner bait area, but I haven't found a really good solution for those pieces of hardware short of a binder. No minus points from me, but then I prefer plugs to spinnerbaits anyway. I can see the efficacy of this storage solution for a bass master who casts big offerings from a half ounce to an ounce or more. It might not hold the giant stuff tossed by muskie addicts, but those guys are a bit weird anyway. It's an ideal solution for someone who likes to carry a full assortment of Acme Kastmasters, ShadRaps, jointed Rapala floating minnows and other neat stuff, though. In short, if you work from a boat or canoe and like to crank this is a tackle box you should look at. I can also see this appealing to the striper fisherman working from the jetty or pier, especially during the early season when most lures are under 6" long. All told, this is one nicely designed and well-built tackle box. Recommended for those with the need to hold lot's of bass plugs and yes, that's me!
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