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DIY Fly Box Insert / Leaf System
Posted 10 June 2018 - 09:08 AM
After deciding I needed a better way to organize my flies I thought of ways to make different "inserts" that would fit into the front pocket of my fishpond chestpack. This way I can swap out inserts based on hatches, rivers, time of year, etc. Along with that I would need fly boxes to hold the inserts because my chest pack only holds one. In addition, I would also need a bigger case to hold the inserts I'm not using at the time.
I found the C&F system and Scientific Anglers System X online but both were very expensive. 6 inserts, plus the case and three fly boxes would have cost me $200, and that was just the start. So, I set out to do it much much cheaper (and my inserts are much bigger and longet lasting than the C&F ones).
So here's the pics and how I did it.......
I found foam door hangers at Hobby Lobby. The foam matched exactly in thickness and density with the foam I already had in my fishpond pack. So I cut them out to match in size, basing the size from the first one that I have:
Then for some of them I used a box cutter to cut out the "slats" for fly hooks to be inserted into. I also left some just whole because I seem to like those for certain flies too.
As you can see it's all up to you what size and shape you make the cut-outs. The white one it working great for my streamers and wooly buggers. A perfectionist could make these look a lot nicer.
Once I cut out the pieces I started looking for something to back them up with for support. It had to be thin, a little flexible but not too much, and cheap. To my astonishment this is what worked best:
I found a good use for these signs after all
Cut out a piece to fit the foam and used gorilla glue to bond them together:
Once the glue dried I cut it out and placed 3 velcro strips on the back:
Inserts are now done once I repeated those steps a dozen times. Now I had to make the case and fly boxes.
I found this felt material with a sticky back for 59 cents a sheet at hobby lobby that attaches to velcro nicely:
Also found this clear case (8.99 I think) that I placed the felt material into:
The fly boxes I found at sportsmans for $4 each:
I ripped the foam out carefully, used a hair dryer to heat up the glue and make it easier, so that I could use that foam for other inserts too:
Placed the felt material into the fly boxes:
Done. Now all I had to do was start filling it up and making sure the the weight of the flies wouldn't be too much for the smaller strips of velcro. It works!!
Here's more pics:
After 10 years and 100s of trips, they are still going strong. Have not needed to replace a single piece of velcro or felt. What's more amazing is I still have some of these flies!!!
Posted 11 June 2018 - 12:43 PM
SilverCreek, nice looking boxes, creative use of those tins too! I almost did something similar.
What got me to do this system was
- wanted to limit myself to 3-4 boxes yet still carry the flies I most commonly needed at that river at that time of year,
- ability to change out the built-in chest pack insert to different load outs, sometimes customized to a particular trip/river
- allowed me to organize and separate flies better which means I don't carry flies that I will not have a chance at using...for instance, no sense in carrying eggs in July or stoneflies in October (in places that I fish), or my big bushy dries for small creeks do not go on the high pressure tailwater trips.
Posted 11 June 2018 - 05:01 PM
Due to severe budget cuts and economic down turn the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off...
Posted 13 June 2018 - 08:26 AM
I cannot believe foam door hangers last forever! I did not do slits and am surprised that the hooks, even larger ones, do not tear it apart.
Also, how many of these boxes and tins do you have? Is there anything you would do differently the 2nd time?
Posted 13 June 2018 - 09:32 AM
I have about 15 of the plastic boxes made up as fly boxes. I got them on sale at JoAnnes for $2.95 a box. I would not change a thing. I use the boxes to hold the flies I donate to TU auctions and to the Wounded Warriors Project Healing Waters program that my friend, Bob runs at Ft. Belvior US Army base. Bob shares the flies with Marty who runs the PHW program at the Quantico Marine Base
Let me use this opportunity to put in a plug for Project Healing Waters. If anyone wants to donate some flies, PM me and I will give you Bob's email so I you can arrange a donation.
The commander of the Fort Belvoir is Col. Gregory Gadson, a double amputee, and a PHW participant. Col. Gadson was in the movie Battleship and has been on several PHW outings.