I prefer small, compact fly boxes. And despite what the fly shop believes, I don’t want to pay $25 for one.
This is by no means my creation; people have been making fly boxes out of all kinds of containers for yonks. But given that I recently acquired a large collection of new flies, I decided to throw together a couple of Altoid fly boxes to keep the bugger from the emerger, the wet from the dry.
Using a screw driver, I carefully bend back the hinge just enough to remove the lid from the container. Then, using the tin as a guide, I use either a piece of foam board (above tin in white) or I cut out a piece of an old swimming pool noodle. Any foam will do the trick, as long as it isn’t too loose of cell. I fasten the foam to the tin using basic epoxy.
I’ve also seen magnetic tape used in makeshift fly boxes, and packing Styrofoam that comes with most electronics also works great. An alternative to fastening the surface is to fit it snug in the tin so it does not move, but allows you to take it out and adjust it’s position, allowing for larger or smaller flies, or just better organization.
Some I paint to quickly identify the type or style of fly I want, others I leave as-is.
The end result is a pocket size fly box, perfect for quick trips to the local grounds, or for storing and sorting flies. Two of these boxes is more than I need for a day on the water, and both can fit comfortably in a vest or trouser pocket.