Every angler should own a good fishing tackle box.
They’re pretty much essential for organizing all your gear. From fishing pliers to the best hooks for catfish, you need a storage system that’s going to hold it all – and keep it protected, too.
But when you’re out on your yak where space is at a premium, how do you fit everything in?
We’ve got the answer right here.
Read on to discover the best tackle boxes for kayak fishing, with some crates and bags thrown in for good measure. A buyer’s guide will follow.
Let’s get organized.
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Given that they’re one of the best fishing brands in the world, and the market leader when it comes to tackle boxes, there’s no surprise that Plano is first up in this review.
And what a product it is – this is an absolute beast of a kayak tackle box, perfectly designed to fit in most yak tank wells, and packed with storage options galore for all your tackle and gear.
It comes with four StowAway utility boxes, housed in its unique V-shaped design to provide easy access, with a waterproof compartment at the base to store valuables.
Rubber straps keep things secure, and a side rail system can accommodate rod holders. It’s the first Plano in the review – but certainly not the last.
Premium quality brand for tackle boxes.
Specifically designed for kayaks.
Compatible with all Plano boxes.
Efficient, easy-access design.
Included tackle boxes aren’t waterproof.
A little on the large side.
An ingeniously designed Plano product to help paddlers reach their tackle and gear without too much maneuvering. Probably the best kayak tackle box on the market, but you might want to upgrade the boxes that come with the unit to the waterproof versions.
While it might be more of a tackle bag than a box, I still have to include this superb option from budget-friendly fishing masters KastKing.
You’re certainly getting a lot of bang for your buck here, with a durable, water-resistant bag that will help store everything you need – including up to seven 3600 size lure boxes.
Plenty of pockets and compartments are available to stash extra clothing, valuables, or any other useful items, and there’s a super-handy tool pocket on the front, so you can keep one of these saltwater pliers to hand.
And speaking of, it’s ideal for use when fishing in saltwater, and that waterproof molded bottom keeps things protected to matter where you set it down.
Great price point.
Neo grip shoulder strap.
Choice of funky colors.
Very highly rated.
Heavy-duty hardware and self-repairing zippers.
Actual tackle boxes sold separately.
This is a solid option for on-board kayak fishing storage, and would sit nicely in a tank well on one of these awesome ocean fishing kayaks – given that it’s great in saltwater.
Here we have a fishing storage crate that has been specifically designed for use in a kayak. And no wonder, since it’s from yak stalwarts Wilderness Systems, who make some of the best recreational craft on the market.
Featuring a large main compartment that’s water resistant when the latch is closed, the lid also serves as additional storage, so there’s plenty of room for just about anything you want to put in it.
Four standard rod holders are included, which can be adjusted with multiple configurations to suit your set up, and the whole unit has been blow molded for superior durability.
Name to trust.
Fits most kayak tank wells.
Rod holder brackets included.
Universal lash down points.
Built to last.
This is a spacious, rugged yak tackle storage option that offers plenty of room and practical rod holding capabilities. Check out this review of the best stand-up kayaks for more from Wilderness Systems, and you might find the perfect match for this crate.
If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it. That seems to be the motto of this classic tray tackle box – another great offering from fishing veterans Flambeau Outdoors.
The cantilever three-tray design is as iconic as it is practical, suitable for just about any type of fishing you can enjoy – with or without your kayak.
Durable and sturdy, the tip-guard tray support keeps things upright when fully open, and the all-weather, oil-resistant construction is built to last and endure even the toughest conditions.
Lightweight, compact, and highly portable, this is probably the last tackle box you’ll ever need, and the top section is perfect for carrying one of these razor-sharp fishing knives – among other essential tools.
Outstanding price point.
Draw-tite latch for secure closure.
Multiple spacious dividers and compartments.
Very highly rated.
Not the most heavy-duty tackle box on the market.
It’s as simple as this – you’re not going to get a better kayaking tackle box for the money. And the compact size means you’ll have even more space on your yak for one of these awesome fishing coolers.
Here we have one of the best tackle bags for kayak fishing on the market. Elkton Outdoors have OUTdone themselves with this rolling backpack model, which is absolutely rammed with fishing-friendly-features and is designed to be taken anywhere.
It’s still compact and lightweight in spite of how much storage room it offers, and it includes no less than five 3600 tackle boxes that fit perfectly in the main compartment.
An extendable handle allows for easy transportation, or the shoulder straps can be utilized when the terrain is poor.
Ideal for use as an alternative to a milk-crate in a kayak tank well, this is a versatile option that ticks a lot of yakking boxes.
Four reinforced rod holders.
Covered splash skirt.
D-rings for accessories.
Removable wheels would have been useful.
This is definitely one of my favorite tackle bags, thanks to the sheer number of features, the compact design that’s ideal for a kayak tank well, and it can be transported anywhere.
Perhaps this option is more suited to smaller craft, as it’s taller than it is wide, and lends itself to nestling in a kayak tank well.
Another Plano offering, it again uses the DuraView door, so you can easily see the boxes within – and it comes complete with four 3600 series StowAways.
There’s extra space for bulkier items under the lid – an ideal place to stash a good fishing multi-tool, for example, and it can be used with any combination of Plano boxes – so even if you’re attached to the ones you already own they’re perfectly compatible here.
Name to trust.
Solid, durable construction.
Versatile for other hobby use.
Compact and lightweight for kayaks.
Not fully waterproof – which would have been nice.
Yet another outstandingly useful tackle box from Plano that makes for a great storage solution on a kayak.
Don’t forget to wear a good fishing hat when you’re out there, as kayak fishing under the sun can be brutal unless you’re protected.
This durable tackle storage box is a real heavy-duty piece of hardware for the back of your kayak.
It’s been specially designed with kayak fishing in mind, and significantly improves your options compared to using an actual milk crate.
The lid features a recessed work area with double OTC snap latches for secure closure, and there’s universal tie-down points for securely attaching the crate to your kayak deck.
Two premium rod holders are included, and ten stainless steel screws are also part of the package, so you can mount them wherever suits you best.
Large storage compartment.
Easy to assemble and set up.
The latches aren’t the best.
As an alternative to trying to rig up your own milk crate, this has a lot going for it. Universally designed to fit the tank well of many well-known kayaks, there’s enough space in the main compartment to stash extra fishing rain gear for if the heavens open.
I think this is a super little tackle box that is ideal if you don’t need to carry a lot of gear, and you like to travel light.
It’s a great option for anyone who wants to fish from a kayak, but kayak fishing isn’t the priority – if you catch my drift.
It comes with 19 dividers, so you can adjust the compartments to how you see fit, and create up to 30 different sections if you so choose.
Best of all, the tackle box floats, so even if you do happen to spill it overboard, you won’t be watching your expensive jigs and spinners sinking into the depths.
Excellent price point.
Choice of sizes available.
Three internal lids of organization.
Not as heavy-duty as some other options out there.
A versatile storage box that would suit recreational kayakers who like to throw a rod in from time to time. And if that sounds like you, why not try one of these handy telescopic rods which are just perfect for kayak camping.
Pelican is a hugely popular kayak company that manufactures affordable, entry-level yaks. They’ve got some great fishing options, too, and this fishing bag has been designed for use with a milk crate to sit in the rear kayak tank well.
Capable of holding two fishing rods or nets, it’s made from a super-tough 1200 Denier polyester for extra durability, with a lined main compartment and heavy-duty zippers.
It can be used without a crate thanks to the reinforced panels in the walls, and it has multiple compartments for tool and tackle storage, and universal loops to attach to most fishing kayaks.
Excellent price point.
Name to trust.
UV and saltwater resistant.
Mesh side pockets.
Removable padded shoulder strap.
None to speak of.
Why bother trying to DIY when you can get Pelican to do it for you. This is a brilliant fishing kayak bag that can be used with or without a crate for all your tackle storage needs.
Last but not least we finish with another Plano option, this time a similar product to the Pelican offering.
Also designed to be used with a milk crate (and perfectly suitable for use without one) this is a kayak fishing soft bag that can hold a ton of tackle and gear.
Two 3600 StowAway utility boxes are included to get you started, and the four sided design with removable panels allows you to customize the bag depending on how much or how little you want to take on board.
Side panels double as sturdy carrying handles, and the large interior compartment is perfect for bulk storage.
Value for money.
Name to trust.
Storage area in lid.
Durable hardware and zippers.
Not for use in wet conditions.
A top-quality tackle box/bag/crate assistant that offers loads of storage space and helps you keep organized on board your yak. Just don’t take it out in a monsoon.
How to Choose the Best Tackle Box for Fishing on a Kayak
There are a few things to consider before diving in and ordering a tackle storage box for your kayak.
Let’s take a look at what they are in the buyer’s guide below.
Why Use a Kayak Fishing Tackle Box?
It’s a good idea to understand why you should use a kayak tackle box in the first place.
Many decent kayaks can offer good storage solutions, and might even have dedicated center consoles for holding tackle and gear – like some of these excellent river fishing kayaks.
But if you really want to organize all your stuff – especially smaller hooks, lures, jigs, and other tackle – then you do need a durable box that’s going to do that.
And as you’re going to be fishing from a kayak – it’s a good idea to get something that can work in that set up – especially as you might be short on space.
Type of Storage
As you’ll notice from the review, kayak tackle storage comes in all shapes and sizes.
There are three main types you need to be aware of.
Tackle boxes are standard, hard case containers you would expect most anglers to own whether kayak fishing or not.
Usually made out of durable plastics, they’re a significant improvement on the metal tackle boxes of yesteryear.
They help organize your smaller tackle items, such as hooks, lures, and weights. They come in several sizes and are commonly stored together in a hold-all tackle bag, or larger box.
Tackle bags are soft shell carryalls designed to hold tackle boxes, as well as other gear you might need when you’re out on the water.
They’re ideal for use as a general carry-bag, and depending on the size, they might also be capable of stashing extra clothing, or something like a good quality fishing jacket in case it rains.
They also offer plenty of storage compartments, tabs, D-rings, and other accessory holders, located in convenient places, so you can have easy access to them when you land a catch.
Tackle crates are based on the classic milk crate design – which just happens to lend itself to being used in a kayak tank well.
You can purchase hard, plastic tackle crates, and you can buy soft shell crates that are for use with an actual milk crate, and are a sort of hybrid between a crate and a bag.
Whatever you decide on, there’s a kayak fishing tackle storage option out there for everyone – and it just comes down to what works for you and the particular kayak you’re piloting.
Alternatively, you could always try a fishing paddle board instead, and you might find you actually have a lot more deck space to play with.
Tackle crates tend to come in the standard milk-crate size, which I believe to be 13×13 inches or thereabouts.
They work well for most kayaks – but fitting one depends on your model and what else you might have on board
For some yaks, it can be the choice between a tackle box, a cooler, and a four-legged-friend – so you need to be aware of how much space you have, your weight capacity, and the overall balance of the craft.
Thankfully, bags and boxes come in all sorts of sizes, so you should be able to find one that caters for your needs.
For some extra tackle storage space, don’t overlook one of these certified kayak fishing PFDs. You should all be wearing one when you’re out on the water, anyway.
If in doubt, you can always get creative with your tackle storage solutions.
For some more inspiration, check out the video below.
Storage Compartments and Features
Once you’ve decided on the type and size of tackle box you need, you should start to consider what’s important to you when it comes to the storage compartments.
It’s up to you to take a look at the tackle you own and decide what goes where.
There are all sorts of options – many with compartment dividers that you can adjust and customize to suit your gear. That’s why good fishing tackle boxes also make ideal storage for art and craft supplies.
Fishing in all weathers and all conditions can seriously take it out of you, your gear, and your tackle.
It’s important that you choose a storage option that’s not only going to organize your stuff, but also be durable enough to take a beating and keep everything protected.
Especially if you happen to be fishing in saltwater.
Look for tackle boxes that are clearly designed to last. The good news is – the vast majority that I’ve included in this review should do just that, and stand up to whatever nature throws at them.
And you can always follow this link for more of the best saltwater tackle bags if you’re looking for storage solutions that are designed to take some extra punishment, and are treated to be anti-corrosion.
It’s worth noting how easy a tackle box is to transport, as, although you’re using it on a kayak, you have to get it set up first.
And kayak fishing boxes and bags that score high marks in the portability column are always advantageous.
Carrying straps, over-molded grips, extendable handles, and even wheels can make transporting your tackle much easier.
And at the end of the day, when you can barely lift your arms from paddling and casting, packing up should be as comfortable as possible.
Tackle boxes are available to suit every budget, and the type you’re looking for will give you an idea of how much you should pay.
Products that have been specifically designed for use in a kayak tend to be a little more expensive, and if you are trying to save some cash, you can always get by with something affordable and simple like the Keeshine tackle box.
In the end, try to purchase only what you need, and what is going to be suitable for your style of kayaking and fishing.
Just like the craft they’re going to be used in, the best tackle boxes for kayak fishing come in all shapes and sizes.
It might be a bit of a headache choosing the right one, but I hope this review and guide has gone some way to helping you do just that.
Let me know which option you’ve gone for and why, and/or any useful tips and tricks from your yak tackle set up.