A whopping 6 million Americans see themselves as fishermen or anglers. Although they are all united in a shared love for the sport, there’s a heated debate about the best places to fish in the U.S. And this is especially true for bass fishing. Sport bass angling has become something of a trend, which has spread the nation.
With competitions opening up, showcasing different lakes and bodies of water to fish on as much as they do the biggest catch that day, the argument for the best bass fishing lakes is even tighter. To let you decide for yourself, we will recommend for you some of our favorite tried and tested locations.
Lake Lanier, Georgia
Lake Lanier, or Lake Sidney Lanier, is a reservoir in Northern Georgia. It was made through the building of a dam on the Chattahoochee river to provide hydroelectricity, navigation, and flood control of the Chattahoochee River, and constant water supply for the city of Atlanta. It covers a whopping 38,000 acres and has 59 square miles of water.
It’s a great place to go fishing, with 700 miles of shoreline, and lots of beautiful little islands you can fish on. And with this much shoreline, there’s also plenty of options for angling at Lake Lanier. You can fish jerkbaits in the spring or underspins in the winter, and topwater in the summer months if you’re looking to tempt bass out from their shelters. If you’re going fishing in winter, consider investing in some ice fishing boots.
Lake Lanier has opportunities to fish for multiple species of fish, including flathead catfish, black crappie, walleye, channel catfish, rainbow trout, bluegill, green sunfish, redbreast sunfish. But most importantly for us: largemouth bass and spotted bass, and a big bass population. It’s famous amongst anglers as an excellent place to go striped bass fishing. There are lots of areas for public access for fishing from the bank of the clear lake, so this is an ideal place to go out in a bass boat.
Lake Lanier is one of the best-spotted bass fisheries east of the Mississippi, and here the bass tend to really fight when they have bitten. If you’re looking for a thrill in your game angling, then Lake Lanier might be for you. Another benefit of this location is that it’s really accessible.
Being close to Atlanta, you might even be able to fish here as a day trip. And there are also lots of amenities around the lake to make your day more enjoyable: marinas, bait stores, camping, and restaurant options abound. However, because it’s so accessible, it can get quite busy. Aim for weekday fishing if you want to avoid the rush.
Santee Cooper Lakes, South Carolina
The Santee Cooper Lakes in South Carolina is made up of Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie. Here you’ll find some of the best freshwater fishing in the entire of the state. This is a great place to head to if you’re looking to catch yourself a largemouth bass. It’s also a stunning environment to fish in: you’re surrounded by wild, mossy trees and stunning sunsets. This is especially important considering that dusk is the perfect time to catch largemouth bass, as they’re more likely to come out from their shelters in the fading light.
Lake Marion is the largest lake in South Carolina and is even referred to by some as South Carolina’s inland sea. It’s situated in 110,000 acres of stunning river valley landscapes and former marshes. Not only is this a great place to catch a largemouth bass: you can also try your hand at catching striped bass, and white bass.
This is a great place to head to if you’re looking for really big bass. People have caught the beasts here weighing up to 20lbs! Even on a normal day, you’ll be able to catch a 5-7 pound bass, which should be more than enough to impress with your catch.
Because the waters here can be quite clear, and largemouth bass prefer murky waters or shade, you might have to downsize your gear, using floating lures of example, to tempt them from their hiding spots. For your best chance at success, we would recommend using square bill crankbaits, or floating worms and stick worms, on the Santee Cooper Lakes.
Lake Champlain, New York, and Vermont
Lake Champlain is a huge natural freshwater lake, located in the states of New York and Vermont, and heads up across the Canadian border into Quebec. Lake Champlain is situated in the Champlain Valley, which is the northernmost part of the Great Appalachian Valley, which goes down all the way to the south of the United States. Lake Champlain is the thirteenth largest lake in the US, measuring a whopping 490 square miles in area.
People flock to Lake Champlain to catch a variety of species, including lake trout, Atlantic salmon, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and rock bass. This vast lake holds too many fishing possibilities to count. The Bassmaster Tournament Series consistently ranks Lake Champlain in its top 100 bass fisheries, where quantity, quality, and even scenery are important factors. And, lanked to the west by the Adirondack Mountains of New York and to the east by the Green Mountains of Vermont, you’re going to be spoilt for choice for scenery.
If you’re planning on fishing Lake Champlain, make sure you have all of the necessary documentation. Depending on which part of the lake you plan to fish, you’ll need an angler’s fishing license, from Vermont or New York. A New York State Fishing license is required to fish in South Bay, for example, and A Vermont Fishing License is required to fish in the Inland Sea, Mallett’s Bay, Missisquoi Bay and “The Gut”.
In the area, you’re bound to find largemouth and smallmouth bass. This is a great lake to head to if you’re a beginner, and want instant rewards, as you can catch a four-pound largemouth bass here with regularity. But even pro anglers find themselves flocking back here time and again. There are many spots you can target too. Anglers can fish offshore for smallmouth bass, or rock bass, or can target shallow vegetation or other potential hiding places for largemouth bass.
Lake Berryessa, California
Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County, California, located in the Vaca Mountains. It is home to a variety of fish, including catfish, Chinook and kokanee salmon, brown and rainbow trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass and spotted bass. And the bass grow really big here! The largemouth bass in Lake Berryessa range from about 15-20 inches, and the smallmouth and spotted bass about 12-18 inches.
Depending on the time of year, use different approaches for angling bass. In the Spring, it’s best to find bass here in the shallows, as they feed here when they are spawning. In the summer, head out at dawn or dusk, as bass are more likely to move out to the shallows in the morning and evening to feed. These shallow waters are often close to the deep, dark waters where largemouth bass rest, so many anglers choose to fish here to target both big and little bass.
For those fishing from the shore of Lake Berryessa, we would recommend starting in the inlets, like Capell Cove and Steel Canyon Inlet, and the areas next to Big and Small Islands. There aren’t many lakes where you can successfully catch three types of bass in one day, but at Lake Berryessa, there’s plenty of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass to catch.
Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida
Lake Tohopekaliga, or Lake Toho, West Lake, or just Toho to locals, is the biggest lake in Osceola County, Florida. It’s smaller than some of the other bass lakes we’ve recommended at 22,700 acres and is the primary inflow of Single Creek, which originates in Orlando. It’s famous for both it’s bass catching and it’s bird watching.
It’s not just a great bass fishing spot: it’s also a beautiful location, filled with hydrilla, lily pads, other grasses, and many bird watching opportunities abound. This is one of the main reasons we’d recommend it, so you can be surrounded by beautiful, scenic nature while you fish, and really make a day of it. Not only will it be a lovely, peaceful day out fishing, it’s also not as popular amongst bass anglers, so you won’t have to be dodging the crowds. That’s especially important considering the size of the catch that you can get at Lake Toho. They regularly record catches of 10-12 pound bass. So if you want to catch yourself a biggun’, and have some quiet and reflection too, then Lake Toho could be the perfect option for you.
Lake Erie, Ohio, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania
Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes in North America and boasts some of the best fishing. It’s a huge lake that traverses 4 US states and even goes up to Ontario in Canada. It’s the eleventh largest lake in the world, and one of the best lakes for fishing. The name of the body of water originates from the Erie people, who were a Native American people who used to live on its southern shore. It’s from the trial name which roughly means “long tail”. It has a fascinating history, which you can delve into on your fishing trip.
Because Lake Erie is so shallow, the weather conditions can rapidly change from calm to stormy. This is actually a benefit for you when you’re fishing for bass. Although it might leave you a big soggy and grumpy, fishing just before a storm is perfectly timed, as fish are likely to feel it coming and become more active. The actively changing weather can sometimes get a bit dangerous though. Watch out if you’re going boat fishing. A very thick fog can appear quickly over Lake Erie, and you don’t want to be caught out in it as this can be fatal. Make sure you take a Loran or GPS system with you.
If you’re looking to catch smallmouth bass on Lake Erie, then you’re in luck. Along most of the lake, the bottom drops off fairly quickly to a depth of about 30 feet. Here, where there are some rocky bottom areas, and drop-offs and ledges, is where most of the smallmouth bass are caught. On the east side of the City of Erie, there are more rocky areas, so this is the best area to fish for smallmouth bass. Also aim for the “cribs” off the Hammermill plant to the New York State line, and the mouths of Twelve, Fourteen and Sixteen Mile creeks.
One thing that you need to take note of when considering fishing Lake Erie, is that this isn’t the best place to go if you want to take all your catch home. Lake Erie is now classified as a “big bass” water, meaning you can only take one smallmouth bass from the waters, and it must be over 20 inches. You should check out the rules and regulations before you plan your trip, to avoid disappointment.
Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota
Mille Lacs is Minnesota’s second-largest inland lake and covers a whopping 132,516 acres. However, it’s all pretty shallow, with the maximum depth being just 42 feet. This can make perfect conditions for catching bass, as you can catch their attention with floating lures in the shallows, and tempt them to bite. There are two beautiful little islands in the center, comprising the Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge.
There are a couple of different options for angling for bass on Mille Lacs Lake. On all sides of the lake, you can go shallow reef top fishing for bass, which is especially useful in Spring. There’s also some deep water angling on the southern deep gravel and rocks and lots of mudflats in the north half of the lake. This is perfect for catching big bass, who like to lurk in the shadows.
Mille Lacs Lake is a great option for you if you want to catch some really gargantuan smallmouth. It’s probably the best smallmouth fishery in the states at the moment, and anglers have a really good chance of catching big fish, a 6 or 7-pound smallmouth. But if the bigger ones don’t bite, you’re more than likely to go home with a few smaller 3 or 4-pound fish.
Mille Lacs is just going to continue growing in popularity with smallmouth anglers, what with the bass tournament Elite Series smallmouth beatdown airing on television. In 2016, the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship was held there, with people the winner catching a mind-boggling 76 pounder!
Table Rock Lake, Missouri
There are great places to fish for bass all over the country. We’ve showed you options from Georgia, South Carolina, New York and Vermont, California, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota, there are also great lakes for fishing bass elsewhere (for example Lake Fork) in Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, for example. In general, you’ll be able to find some of the best bass fishing in the world, all over the United States.
One lake that we haven’t reviewed here, that we would definitely recommend for beginners, is Table Rock Lake in Missouri and Arkansas. This is one of the best bass lakes for beginners, because of all the types of fishing for bass you can do, and practice here. Because it’s a very deep and clear lake, it’s the perfect spot to practice drop shots, topwater techniques and various swimbait applications. We would recommend trying out a few jigs and spinnerbaits here, to get your technique perfected.
It’s also one of the best lakes for fishing bass, because of the sheer number of bass here, making it more likely you’re going to get a good catch. This can be especially good for beginners, to motivate you to come back and learn more skills, due to the instant reward. It’s also one of the best bass fishing lakes because you can catch smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass here.
This brings us on to the considerations you should be making when you’re planning your ideal bass fishing trip. Firstly, do you want to be able to angle for a variety of bass? If so, there aren’t many lakes where you can easily catch smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass in one day, so do your research, and make sure you pick an option like Table Rock Lake. Or if you really want to fight for the catch, make sure to head to the lakes that have a high number of big, strong, healthy fish.
Another consideration should be the landscape. Although you might solely be motivated by game fishing and impressing with the size of your catch, it never hurts to be surrounded by beautiful scenery as you’re doing it. All of the lakes we have reviewed are surrounded by stunning scenery, but take your pick depending on your tastes. Do you want to go for a mountain river basin, or a lilypad covered calm lake?
So there we have it, our recommendations for the best bass fishing lakes in America. We hope you find the perfect catch.
Bonus tip: For some more useful information on how to catch bass on any type of lake, check out this video below!
5 Reasons Why Bass is the Most Popular Among Anglers
From California to Maine, fishing is incomplete without bass. Bass is by far the most popular fish to catch in North America. There are even tournaments like the Bassmaster that appeal to seasoned anglers.
But why? Why is the fishing sport incomplete without bass? Why is it so popular? Well, to start with, they are so easy to catch with fishing gear such as beginner Shimano reels to catch them.
In this post, we’re about to outline the top 7 reasons bass fishing is so popular.
Bass is Widely Available
Out of the 50 states in the US, bass is available in 48. That’s 96% availability! Moreover, fishermen have found populations of bass in Canada too! Logic suggests that if a product was to be popular among the general consumers, it better be widely available. The same is true when it comes to bass.
Another reason is that the bass community is a huge one. In fact, it’s one of the largest fishing communities in the world. In every city or town you go to, you can find a community around.
The best part is that the members don’t have to go far to quench their thirst for fishing. All they have to do is go to the nearest lake and bring out the reels!
It’s a Very Aggressive Fish
Yes, the aggression of the species plays a major role when hunters consider game options. Fishing is also a type of hunting, as is still believed by most people.
Bass happens to be a very territorial and aggressive fish species. They attack everything that they think is alive and in their territory. This makes it relatively easy to fish for bass, as they’ll attack the lure as soon as they spot it.
However, the same aggression makes it hard for new anglers to land the fish. Just because you hook it doesn’t mean you’re going to land it. It’s very possible that the fish breaks the line during the pull-in.
Bass is Available Throughout the Year
Sure, you’ll not find the fish at the same place on the lake throughout the year. And the technique you use during the summer will not work in winter. But it’s very much possible to fish for bass at any time of the year. Depending on the time, you’ll need to change your technique and visit different locations.
Summer is statistically the most popular time to fish for bass. In the fishing world, “structure” refers to the condition of the lake bed. Bass moves to deeper water during winter to hibernate. If you manage to master fishing in the winter, you don’t even have to move your boat to catch the biggest game!
From Beginner to Pro Everyone Has Equal Opportunities
Even if you start fishing for bass recreationally, you can draw a clear path to becoming a pro. There are all kinds of training programs and tournaments that you can attend to build up your skills and compete at the top level.
If you like traveling, this can be an amazing career opportunity too! There are different types of bass fishing tournaments that you can attend and showcase your skill. Of course, there are prizes associated with these tournaments that can change your life for the better!
There are many people who started fishing recreationally but later turned into professional anglers because they love the lifestyle so much.
It’s Easy to Find Equipment
When there are enough people interested in something, the “something” has the potential to support a full-blown economy. The same is true for bass fishing. Thanks to the massive popularity of bass, it’s easy to find all kinds of fishing tackles.
For example, if you visit the Melton Tackle website, you’ll find all kinds of quality fishing gear , including reels, rods, hooks, and flies designed for bass fishing.
This has a very interesting looping effect. Since bass is well known, when new anglers look for a tackle, they usually find a bass tackle. This cycle continues to grow the popularity of bass fishing.
We can list hundreds of other reasons why bass is the most popular fish when it comes to fly fishing. But the ones we’ve listed are, we believe, the top reasons fueling the popularity of this freshwater fish.
If you’re new to fishing and you like the time spent outdoors, you’re in for a treat in bass fishing. Go out there, find a mentor, and start your fishing journey!
5 Best Tackle Boxes for Fishin
With so many products available on the market, finding the right tackle box for your needs can be a bit overwhelming. For this reason, we’ve tested and selected the best-value, top-performing options on the market, guaranteed to enhance your fishing adventures.
January 3, 2023/Samantha Bos Table of Contents
No matter what type of angler you are, a quality tackle box or bag is a must-have item. Not only does a tackle box protect your fishing accessories during transport, but it also allows you to neatly organize your tackle so you’ll always know exactly where each lure is – no more digging around, fumbling through tangled hooks.
With so many products available on the market, finding the right tackle box for your needs can be a bit overwhelming. For this reason, we’ve tested and selected the best-value, top-performing options on the market, guaranteed to enhance your fishing adventures.
Our Best Tackle Box overview includes 5 of the most top-rated products available on the market in terms of customer ratings, value, and quality.
5 Best Tackle Boxes – Overview
- Best Overall: Plano Guide Series Tackle System (also on Bass Pro)
- Best Lightweight: Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag
- Best Budget-Friendly: Flambeau Outdoors 2-Tray Tackle Box
- Best for Versatile Storage: Wild River Tackle Tek Backpack
- Best Easy Access Storage Rack: Plano Angled Tackle System
We’ve included something for every fisherman, regardless of preference and budget. From compact tackle boxes with budget-friendly pricing to super spacious and highly portable tackle backpacks, there’s bound to a tackle box on our list for you. Whether you’re interested in a hard or soft case model, we’ve got you (and your tackle box requirements) covered.
If you’re not quite sure about what type of tackle box matches your needs, be sure to check out our handy buyer’s guide at the bottom of this post.
In our buyer’s guide, we take a detailed look at the different factors that need to be considered when buying a tackle box. We’ll also provide you with more information on the pros and cons of each type of design.
(Also available on Bass Pro Shops.)
The Plano 7771-01 Guide Series Tackle System is one of the best-selling, highest-rated tackle boxes on Amazon. After testing it out myself, it’s no surprise why this tackle box is so popular among anglers.
This spacious, hard-case tackle box offers ample storage for your tackle, spinnerbait, and tools.
Related: The best gazebo to take camping
It features a see-through Duraview cover and easy-grip, molded handle for extra portability. Manufactured in the USA, this tackle-box adheres to high-quality standards and is made by a renowned brand (Plano) in tackle box solutions.
The Plano 7771 Guide Series Tackle Box, like all products by Plano, comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Should you encounter any manufacturing defects, Plano will provide you with a full replacement.
- Made in the USA
- 3 removable bait racks
- 4 pull out tackle trays
- Extra bulk storage
- Top access
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Slightly more expensive
- Not ideal for hikes/carrying over long distances
The highly portable Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag features a soft case design complete with plenty of storage space. Extremely heavy-duty, this tackle box has a spacious 38.8-liter capacity and includes 4 large tackle trays.
Its main compartment is completely customizable so you can easily adjust it to suit your specific requirements. The total dimensions of this bag are 15.75 x 10.8 x 8.2 inches, and it only weighs a total of 2.62 pounds.
Aside from a spacious main compartment, the Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag also includes additional storage options. There are two front pockets and two holsters that are great for storing small tools such as pliers or a knife. In addition, there’s a large mesh pocket on the exterior backside. I love that this tackle bag features two removable fishing line dispensers at both ends.
Made from first-class 1680 polyester, this tackle bag is extremely durable. The design features a quality PVC backing, heavy-duty zippers, strong buckles, and a waterproof molded base. Plus, this bag is extra comfortable to carry thanks to a thick webbing on the polypropylene shoulder strap.
As a testimony to its quality, this tackle bag is backed by a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty. Even though we don’t expect you to encounter any issues relating to quality, it’s always good to know that a guaranteed replacement is inevitable – that’s what we call a great catch!
- High-quality 1680 polyester fabric
- PVC backing
- Heavy-duty zippers
- Waterproof molded base
- Spacious storage
- Holds up to 4 large tackle boxes (included)
- Adjustable dividers
- Additional front pockets with organizers
- Large exterior mesh pocket on the back
- Comes with 2 plier holsters
- Lifetime manufacturers warranty
- Padded shoulder strap/portability
- Fishing line dispensers
- Not as durable as hard case tackle boxes
- Will weigh you down when filled with gear
- No additional rain-cover included
- The seams may fray with long-term wear and tear
If you’re looking for a compact, budget-friendly tackle box, then the Flambeau Outdoors Classic 2-Tray style just may be the tackle box for you.
Although this plastic tackle box is not very big in stature, simply organizing the storage space will ensure you have plenty of room for your lures, tools, and bait. This tackle box includes eight built-in tray compartments and 6 removable dividers which allow you to keep your gear securely organized.
The efficient layout of the Flambeau Outdoors Classic 2-Tray Tackle Box is further enhanced with plenty of base storage. Even though it may be on the small side (14 x 8.2 x 7.6 inches), this tackle box can pack a whole lot more than you’d expect at first glance.
The silhouette provides you with instant access to your tackle via a flip-top lid compartment, whilst a Drawtite latch makes sure your items remain secure. This tackle box features tip-guard tray supports to ensure that your fishing accessories stay firmly in place, even when on the go.
The Flambeau Outdoors Classic 2-Tray Tackle Box is extremely lightweight and portable. When empty, it only weighs one pound!
Although this best-selling tackle box is highly affordable, it does not compromise on quality. Considering its listed price, this tackle system is simply a steal.
- Comes built with eight tray compartments with six removable dividers
- Drawtite latch
- 8 built-in tray compartments
- 6 removable dividers
- Easy Access flip-top lid
- Lightweight (just 1 pound)
- Too compact for some anglers
- Not the most heavy-duty design
- No space for larger tools
- Can become top-heavy when filled
Note: You can also get this backpack at Bass Pro Shops here.
When it comes to tackle backpacks, the Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad is just about as good as it gets. Although it’s slightly more expensive than your typical plastic tackle box, it’s well worth the splurge.
Designed for heavy-duty, on-the-go use, this tackle bag is the perfect choice for anglers that love to venture deep into the wilderness. To make carrying the Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad Lighted Backpack even easier, it features large, adjustable padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap, and a padded carrying handle.
This sturdy, functional tackle backpack is a versatile choice for additional gear storage. It can hold up to 6 medium-sized 3600 tackle trays, and 4 additional 3500 tackle trays. Plus, it features a multitude of zippered compartments and mesh pockets to ensure there’s plenty of room for all of your favorite tackle, lures, reels, and more.
The large upper storage area also includes a removable divider. When you need extra space for larger items, simply remove the divider to maximize the interior storage capacity. I love that this tackle bag includes a front pocket cover that folds down, providing you with a makeshift work surface.
Clever design elements
This smart alternative to a traditional tackle box comes with various clever design elements. For example, there’s a molded sunglass compartment on the top that keeps your eyewear secure, and an external removable plier holster for additional convenience, with or without the tackle bag.
The Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad Backpack also includes a rain cover, ensuring your pack and gear stay dry, no matter the weather conditions.
This backpack has an integrated LED light system that lights up the pack in the dark, allowing you to easily locate it (and your tackle) even in low light and dark conditions. This is an ideal feature if you enjoy fishing in the early hours of the morning, or at night.
- Heavy-duty, quality construction
- Versatile storage options
- Holds up to 6 #3600 trays
- Holds up to 4 #3500 trays
- Internal mesh pockets
- Removable divider in the upper compartment
- External gear pockets
- External pliers holder
- Sunglasses compartment
- Comes with rain-cover to keep dry in wet conditions
- Integrated LED light system
- Very portable/adjustable shoulder straps
- Can feel too bulky for some anglers
- Does not provide instant overview of gear
- Straps are prone to wear and tear
- Zippers may break with repeated usage
The Plano 732 Angled Tackle System is another firm favorite amongst fishing enthusiasts. This highly-rated Plano tackle box features a built-in storage rack that holds two medium and three large utility boxes.
Its total dimensions are 18 x 9 x 10 inches, whilst its weight is 5.65 pounds (without gear). Although it’s not the most lightweight tackle box on our list, we reckon it’s a fair trade-off considering its ample storage space and durability. If you own a boat, this could be the tackle box for you.
Made from hard plastic, the Plano 732 Angled Fishing Tackle Box features a built-in storage rack with multiple utility boxes that sit at a nice 15-degree angle. This ‘angled’ configuration allows you to quickly reach for anything you want, providing you with easy access when you need it.
This tackle box also includes additional storage compartments situated on top of the lid and an extra storage area below the lid that can hold a lot of tackle or other fishing accessories.
The top storage compartments are fitted with DuraView lens covers that provide a clear view of the contents. For stability, this tackle box also features non-skid rubber feet. These feet are ideal for keeping the box in place, even on slippery or wet surfaces.
An oversized handle helps evenly distribute the weight and provides a firm, comfortable grip. Two locking latches keep the contents of the tackle box firmly in place, so you don’t have to worry about losing any of your expensive tackle when rolling over massive waves.
- Integrated storage rack for easy access
- Holds 3 large utility boxes
- Holds 2 medium utility boxes
- Additional storage compartment under the lid
- Additional storage pockets on top of the lid
- Angled silhouette with ‘pull out’ trays
- Duraview Lens Covers
- Non-skid rubber feet
- Strong locking latches
- Might be prone to tipping when filled to maximum capacity
- Quite a heavy tackle box (5.65lbs)
- Not super portable over long distances
- Not fully waterproof according to some reviews
Every product that we’ve covered on our list will make for a great choice to keep your fishing gear organized. The best tackle box for you really depends on where, when, and how you plan to use it.
For anglers who love venturing out into nature for days at a time, then a softshell portable-style tackle unit like the Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad backpack or the Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag make for ideal choices.
For the fishing enthusiasts who want maximum durability and capacity (where portability is not the main priority), a hard case style such as the Plano 7771-01 Guide Series Tackle System will be your best choice.
No matter what type of angler you are, all 5 products on our list score top-marks for quality, value, and convenience, and have gathered hundreds of 5-star reviews by satisfied Amazon customers.
Be sure to check out the following buyer’s guide for further details about different factors to consider when buying the tackle box that’s right for you.
In the unlikely case that you do encounter any problems, you can simply contact the manufacturer or seller to request a full refund or replacement.
Best Tackle Box – Buying Guide
Important Factors When Buying A Tackle Box
When buying a tackle box, there are multiple factors to consider. For example, size, the type of shell (hard or soft), the price, the material, and the configuration. A tackle box that is a perfect match with one angler, might be completely the wrong choice for another fishing enthusiast. Which is why it’s crucial to not just pick a tackle box with high consumer rating and fancy features, but one that actually ‘ticks the box’ for your requirements.
Below we’ve listed the most important factors to take into account when shopping for tackle boxes, allowing you to determine which type and style will be ‘the best’ for you. Get informed about the different possibilities, and learn how to find the best tackle box for your needs by using these handy criteria:
Type of Tackle Box
Generally, tackle storage products can be divided into 3 main types: hard tackle boxes, soft tackle bags/boxes, and tackle backpacks. Each has its characteristics, and pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at each category:
Hard Tackle Boxes
The hard tackle box is a classic choice to store your lures and bait. This trunk-style silhouette was originally a single-tray storage box made of wood or wicker but now comes in a variety of materials and configurations. The first plastic tackle boxes were created by Plano, who noticed anglers needed hard cases that didn’t rust or degrade such as wood or metal boxes did. Still a preferred material of choice, most hard-case tackle boxes are made of waterproof plastic compounds. A smart choice, as these are both lightweight and durable, plus easy to clean.
Most hard-shell tackle boxes have a trunk-style or suitcase-style silhouette with a handle at the top or side, and clips to lock the box. Some larger hard tackle boxes may also come with wheels, or an extendable handle for extra maneuverability.
Though the interior configuration of hard tackle boxes differs per brand and style, most designs will feature some sort of cascading/folding trays and/or a sliding drawer. These trays or drawers come with various smaller compartments, allowing you to easily organize your favorite lures. By keeping lures and jigs in various separate compartments or levels, you can quickly locate the right piece of equipment. Plus, this storage solution also ensures your fishing gear is less likely to get tangled, or damaged, during transport.
Soft Tackle Bags/ Soft Tackle Boxes
We’ve noticed that recently the popularity of soft tackle bags and soft-shell tackle boxes is on the rise. And it’s no surprise why these styles are becoming a go-to choice for anglers: as their portability is a big lure.
Soft tackle bags are often still shaped like a box/trunk, but the fabric material makes them more pliable and lightweight than plastic counterparts. The silhouette is most commonly made of nylon or polyester. Unlike hard-case tackle boxes that generally tend to only have a single handle, most soft tackle bags also come with a shoulder strap. Allowing you to easily sling it over your shoulder for extra comfort on the go.
Just like hard tackle boxes, the interior of a soft tackle bag will differ depending on the brand, size, and style. Though, as a general rule of thumb, look for a bag that has multiple compartments to keep your gear easily organized. Most soft tackle boxes will include various inner compartments and dividers, zippered pockets, and/or removable trays to comfortably store your lures, reels, and spools in one, lightweight silhouette. Some brands include removable plastic utility boxes with their soft-shell bags, which are quite similar to standard Tupperware containers. Though handy for storing tackle, these boxes don’t quite provide the same overview as tackle trays or drawers. So if a quick overview is a priority for you, a soft fishing tackle bag might not be your best choice, and we would recommend a hard tackle box instead.
Take a soft-shell tackle bag, add two shoulder straps, and voila: you’ve reached the final category: tackle backpacks. This style is the best of both worlds. Not only does it contain various dividers/compartments to keep your tackle safely secured, but the backpack-style silhouette makes it ideal for longer hikes or fishing trips. The added portability makes it a popular style for multi-day adventures where you have to carry your tackle over longer distances. A downside is, that just like soft-shell tackle boxes, a tackle backpack does not provide an instant overview of your gear. When opened, you’ll have to sift through the contents to locate pieces, instead of instantly seeing which tackle is where. Meaning that separate plastic containers are key to keeping your stuff organized inside the pack.
Disclaimer: we’ve chosen not to include any fly fishing tackle gear in this overview and buying guide, such as the “Go-To” Fly Box by New Phase. As fly fishing tackle boxes only caters to a very specific fishing type/type of fish. Instead, we’ve chosen to include versatile options that accommodate a range of tackle/lures/sinkers/fishing accessories, and other saltwater and freshwater fishing gear.
When looking for the best tackle box, size is one of the most important factors. Every angler needs a design large enough to store your supplies, but size-up too much and the tackle box can be heavy and difficult to carry. It’s tempting to choose a larger option, but you may not even need all that storage space.
Compare it to a closet for your clothes. You could buy a super large option that has enough room for all your 4-season clothing, but this will take up a lot of space and cost you a pretty penny. Or you could size down and simply alternate between your winter and summer wardrobe. The same goes for a fishing tackle box. You could buy a heavy-duty, extra-large size with dozens of storage compartments to fit all your tackle or gear. Or you could size down and simply pack it based on what gear you’ll be needing on that specific trip. If you’re going on an open-water adventure on a boat, you can leave your surf fishing lures at home. Or vice versa.
Sometimes bigger is indeed better, but when it comes to fishing tackle boxes, we prefer a mid-sized option that is both spacious enough for fishing essentials, yet also portable enough to easily carry to our favorite fishing spot. However, the choice is of course completely up to you!
The material of a tray tackle box or tackle bag depends mostly on the style. Hard-cased tackle boxes are generally made of metal or plastic, whilst soft shoulder bags and backpacks are produced of nylon or polyester fabrics. There’s not one material that reigns supreme, as each has its specific pros and cons.
Plastic is lightweight, corrosion-proof, easy to clean, and doesn’t retain odor. Metal is more durable but may be prone to rust depending on the type of metal alloy used. Fabric is even more lightweight than plastic, and its pliable qualities make it easier to compress during transport.
Overall, there’s a simple way to ensure the material of the tackle box lives up to expectation: make sure the material is a high-grade/top-grade choice. For example: if plastic, ensure it’s BPA-free and non-toxic. If nylon, ensure its a durable variety such as ripstop nylon with a water-resistant coating. And if metal, look for a corrosion-resistant option such as stainless steel. Regardless of which material you prefer, quality is key. Check what customer reviews are saying about the durability, waterproof qualities and wear and tear of the plastic/metal/fabric, etc. And double-check the specific type of material used, as listed by the manufacturer. Yes, we know this can be a laborious process, but if you want top performance in the long-term, it does help to do your research.
Fortunately, there is an alternative: our Best Tackle Box overview. All 5 options listed tick the box when it comes to quality and durability. With a big thumbs up from fellow angling enthusiasts. We’ve only included products that adhere to high-quality standards, to provide you with a premium selection available on Amazon that doesn’t disappoint.
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Samantha is an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves exploring the great unknown. She’s traveled all across the globe to sample nature’s delights. And her travels have taken her to all corners of the world: from hiking the famous Inca Trail in Peru to ice-hiking on glaciers in Alaska.
Besides hiking, Samantha likes to challenge herself with all kinds of outdoor activities. She doesn’t shy away from testing her limits. For example, navigating Grade 5 rapids whilst whitewater rafting in New Zealand, and avoiding close-encounters with bird-eating spiders and poisonous plants in the Australian rainforest. Currently based in Manhattan, New York, she’s traded in the real jungle for an urban jungle. But she tries to get out and explore nature in the surrounding Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Harriman State Park areas as often as she can.
She shares her knowledge of hiking, backpacking, and outdoor activities in handy ‘Best of’ overviews. Bundling the best-value, top-rated products that will no doubt make every reader a ‘happy camper’.
7 Best Portable Fish Finders Reviewed
Fishing can take a lot of time and patience, which for some fishermen can be part of the fun, whereas for others can be downright aggravating. Finding the right fishing spot can be difficult because unless you put on goggles and go underwater yourself, you’re not able to see the fish, the water depth, or anything else underneath of you.
That’s where portable fish finders come in. They do the work of finding the fish, measuring the water depth and temperature, and some even come equipped with GPS to help you find and save the best fishing spots.
Fish finders come in a variety of sizes with a variety of features that can help you get the best experience and most success out of your fishing trip.
Best Portable Fish Finders – Reviewed
- Best Portable Fish Finder Screen: Garmin STRIKER Vivid 7cv Series Fish Finders
- Best Old School Portable Fish Finder: Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder
- Best Castable Portable Fish Finder: Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
- Best Smart Device Portable Fish Finder: ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Sonar Fish Finder
- Best User-Friendly Portable Fish Finder: Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Fishfinder
- Best All-Season Portable Fish Finder: Lowrance Hook2 4x Portable
- Best Portable Fish Finder to Attract Fish: LUCKY Portable Fish Scanner with LCD Screen
Best Portable Fish Finder Screen
1. Garmin STRIKER Vivid 7cv Series Fish Finders
As screens seem to be getting smaller and smaller, it may be hard to catch important details of what’s below the water’s surface. The Garmin STRIKER Vivid 7 Series Fish Finders features not only a larger 7-inch screen but vivid colors that help make fish and structure more distinguishable in ultimate clarity and contrast. There are seven different colors to choose from, now your fishing trip is more personalized to you. With a screen resolution of 800 x 480, you’ll have an easier time distinguishing between things like rocks and fish.
The high-quality Garmin sonar provides a detailed look underwater, and the CHIRP technology transmits a large range of frequencies. The high-sensitivity GPS allows you to map out and create your routes, as well as track your boat’s speed. Up to two million acres of map can be saved and stored, and you can use the waypoint marking to mark hot spots.
Built-in WiFi allows you to connect to the ActiveCaptain app where you can receive smart notifications, transfer waypoints, and access the Garmin Quickdraw community. Garmin is a reputable name in the technology department, and this portable fish finder only adds to it. Find it now on Bass Pro Shops or Amazon.
Dimensions: 11.4″L x 8.9″W x 8.2″H
Sonar frequency: 200 kHz / 15° and 77 kHz / 45°
Depth range: 1,900 ft
- 7″ screen size, WVGA color, and backlit
- Seven vivid colors and a great contrast help make fish and structure more distinguishable
- Garmin 2D sonar
- High-sensitivity GPS allows you to map and create routes and track boat speed
- Quickdraw Contours mapping
- Waypoint marking to mark hot spots
- Detects water temperature
- Built-in WiFi
- Compatible with ActiveCaptain app
- Included transducer for Garmin CHIRP sonar
- Included tilt/swivel quick install mount
- Pricey compared to other portable fish finders
Best Old School Portable Fish Finder
2. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder
For every fancy fish finder, there is a more basic one that still comes equipped with useful features. The Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder may be for those minimalists who are looking more for function and less for looks. The display is in black and white, which could eliminate confusing spots on the screen. It’s small enough that you can strap it around your neck with the included neck strap and store it in your tackle box when you don’t need it.
Although small, it can last for up to five hours, uses sonar to detect not only fish but water depth, size of the fish, plants, sand, and rocks. Whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater, this fish finder can measure over 300 ft deep in the water and comes equipped with a fish alarm. This is ideal for kayaks or small boats since the finder can detect when moving at up to 5mph.
Fishing at night is no problem due to the backlight mode, and if you’re more into ice fishing, the Venterior fish finder can even withstand temperatures as low as zero degrees. This is a great option if you’re on a budget or are a beginner fisherman. Check it out on Amazon.
Dimensions: 10.63 x 6.65 x 2.48 in
Sonar frequency: 200 kHZ
Depth range: 328 ft
- Minimalist fish finder for beginners or budget cautious
- Neck strap for convenient carrying
- Small for ultimate portability
- AAA Battery powered for up to five hours
- Detects fish, water depth, sand, rocks, and plants
- Fish alarm
- Night fishing is easier with backlight mode
- Can withstand temperatures as low as zero degrees
- The screen is not waterproof
Best Castable Portable Fish Finder
3. Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
Maybe shore fishing and relaxing in your chair is your type of fishing. The Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar is a castable fish finder that allows you to create maps on your smartphone by simply casting it out and reeling it back in. It is the only fish finder currently on the market that can make bathymetric maps from the shore since most work best on a boat. It also has a casting range of 330 ft, which is farther than any other castable fish finder.
With dual beam sonar, the Deeper PRO sends 15 scans per second, so you can get the most accurate reading possible. It pairs with your android or IOS device in seconds, and the WiFi connection is 10x faster than Bluetooth.
Three different color palettes help with visibility, and the advanced display outlines plants, structure, and the bottom contour and consistency. As soon as you start scanning, the water depth and temperature are measured, so you can find the best place to cast. You can mark fish and your favorite fishing spots to come back to.
Once you finally get that perfect catch, you can log it with pictures and notes, as well as equipment, bait, and techniques used. Buy it now on Amazon.
Dimensions: 5.9 x 5.32 x 2.95 in
Sonar frequency: Dual-beam Frequency 290 kHz (15°)/90 kHz (55°)
Depth range: 260 ft
- Castable fish finder that allows you to cast from a fishing line
- Create maps from the shore on your smartphone and look at them on any device
- Casting range of 330 ft
- Dual-beam sonar for a narrow or wide beam
- Target separation of 1″ for accurate readings
- Sends 15 scans per second
- Color screen for visibility and structure
- Measures water depth and temperature
- Mark fishing spots, campsites, and other locations
- Log catches with pictures, notes, and details
- Lithium rechargeable battery
- Can withstand as low as -4 degrees
- Need a smartphone to use it
Best Smart Device Portable Fish Finder
4. ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Sonar Fish Finder
Sharing your fishing trip just got easier with the ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Sonar Fish Finder. The iBobber does much more than just provide easy access to share your catches on social media, but that’s just one of the unique features you’ll get. This wireless fish finder is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and uses Bluetooth to link to your smartphone or smartwatch, making your fish-finding experience more convenient. Cast up to 100 ft away for accurate readings.
The sonar technology detects up to 135 ft, and you can choose between raw sonar or fish tagging views. Fish under 15″ get an orange tag, but fish over 15″ get a green tag, so you can decide whether you want to go for it or not.
A trip log can allow you to record everything from location, water temperature, types of fish caught, and more. Drop a pin at your favorite fishing spot, so you can come back again. With 10-hour battery life, you can be fishing all day. Check it out on Amazon.
Dimensions: 2″ x 2″ x 1″
Sonar frequency: 118 kHz at 90 degrees
Depth range: 135 ft
- The smallest, lightest portable unit
- Patented sonar fish identifier technology
- Choose between raw sonar or fish tagging views
- Different tags for fish under or over 15″
- Links to your smartphone or smartwatch via Bluetooth up to 100 ft
- LED Beam
- Rechargeable battery lasts up to 10 hours
- Contour mapping of waterbed and structure
- Depth finder
- Included carry case
- Easy access to post on social media
- Mark the location of your favorite fishing spot
- Strike and fish alarm
- Included charger
- Need a smartphone or smartwatch to use
Best User-Friendly Portable Fish Finder
5. Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Fishfinder
Simple and effective is the best way to describe the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Fishfinder since it provides just enough of the qualities you need when fishing. With the user-friendly interface, Fish ID +, depth and fish alarms are simple. The dual-beam sonar allows you to choose from a narrow beam for more detail or a wide beam for a larger coverage of fish, structures, and ground contours.
Although it doesn’t come equipped with GPS or live mapping, it can reach a depth range of up to 600 ft, so if you’re not shallow water fishing, this is a great option. The color display and 272H x 480V screen resolution help provide a clearer view of what’s underneath the water.
The fish alarm can be set to small, medium, or large fish, so you won’t waste your time on catches you don’t want, and the depth alarm lets you know when the transducer hits the desired depth. A truly simple yet effective device for a range of fishermen, from novice to advanced. Find it now on Bass Pro Shops or Amazon.
Dimensions: 3.6″ x 3.9″ x 6.8″
Sonar frequency: Dual-beam sonar 320 ft (20) 455 kHz 600 ft (20) 200 kHz
Depth range: 600 ft
- Deep depth range
- Easy-to-use Fish ID interface
- Depth and fish alarms for specific depths and sizes
- Color display to distinguish fish, structure, and waterbed
- Included tile and swivel mount
- Suction cup for transducer
- Easy for anyone to use
- AA battery powered for up to 10-hour battery life
- Dual-beam sonar for narrow or wide reading
- Included carry case
- Doesn’t come equipped with GPS, maps, or some of the features other fish finders do
Best All-Season Portable Fish Finder
6. Lowrance Hook2 4x Portable
When you fish in the summer and in the winter, it’s understandable that you may not want to purchase two different fish finders. The Lowrance Hook2 4x Portable is great for all seasons, including winter when you want to go ice fishing. This simple yet powerful fish finder is designed to go anywhere as it includes an ice transducer and technology that adjusts sonar settings as the fishing conditions change.
The wide-angle CHIRP sonar covers more water in less time and doubles the coverage of other competitors. A simple display gives you a one-touch access keypad, so you can spend more time fishing and less time messing with the settings. The high-resolution SolarMAX screen provides a clear display in any condition.
With a high-sensitivity GPS antenna and GPS plotter, you’ll be able to save waypoints, follow trails, and travel to your favorite fishing spots. It comes with a portable kit for easy and safe storage when you’re not using it. Check it out on Bass Pro Shops or Amazon.
Dimensions: 10.7″ x 9.5″ x 4.4″
Sonar frequency: 200 kHz
Depth range: 200 ft
- Designed by anglers for a simple and effective experience
- Includes ice transducer for ice fishing
- Adjusts sonar settings as the fishing conditions change
- Wide-angle CHIRP sonar doubles the coverage of other fish finders
- Down imaging sonar
- One-touch access keypad
- High-resolution SolarMAX screen for sunlight-viewable brightness
- High-sensitivity GPS antenna and GPS plotter
- Save waypoints, follow trails, and travel to your favorite fishing spots
- Comes with a portable kit
- 4″ screen
- The screen may not be big enough for some anglers
Best Portable Fish Finder to Attract Fish
7. LUCKY Portable Fish Scanner with LCD Screen
Throwing bait into the water isn’t the only way to attract fish; they can also be attracted through light. The fish LUCKY Portable Fish Scanner comes equipped with a yellow transducer that has two light beams on the bottom, making it easier to attract fish and see it in the dark if you go night fishing. The LCD screen helps keep the handheld fish finder last longer as it provides efficient energy. It also has LED backlighting, which may come in handy in darker conditions.
The transducer can measure water depth, temperature, underwater structure, and fish size. It comes with an option to set the detection sensitivity between one and 10. One being detecting minimal detail, and 10 detecting the most detail. This small unit is extremely portable, making it easy to store and carry and helping you save room for other fishing gear.
If the scanner or transducer runs out of battery, they can both be easily recharged with the included USB chargers. The transducer can last for up to 10 hours, and the scanner can last for up to four. You can find it now on Amazon.
Dimensions: 5.12″ x 2.76″ x 1.38″
Sonar frequency: 200 kHz
Depth range: 147 ft
- LCD screen energy efficient and provides backlighting
- Measures water depth, temperature, structure, and fish size
- Yellow transducer comes equipped with two light beams to help attract fish and see in the dark
- Small and extremely portable
- Easily rechargeable
- Two user modes: wireless/simulation
- 196 ft wireless operating range
- Depth and fish alarm
- Set sensitivity to see more or less with a scale from 1 to 10
- 2.4″ screen may be too small for some users
How Does a Portable Fish Finder Work?
Even though you now know some of the best portable fish finders out there, you may still be wondering how they are actually able to detect fish and other structures underneath the surface. Portable fish finders use sonar beams to transmit sound waves. The transducer tracks how much time between when the signal is sent to when it’s returned and uses that to measure the depth of the object the sound bounced off of.
Like with any piece of technology, fish finders can take practice to get the hang of it. If you’ve never used a fish finder before, it may be more beneficial to go for a simpler model like the Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder or the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Fishfinder. More advanced fishermen may need the Garmin STRIKER Vivid 7cv Series Fish Finders in order to have access to GPS and store maps for the best and their favorite fishing spots.
All of the above fish finders have the ability to track fish location, and a lot of them have the ability to track the size and even alarm you when the desired size passes by. Ultimately, that is probably priority one when looking for a fish finder. Whether you want the extra bells and whistles is up to you.
Portable fish finders are great because they are designed to go anywhere your next fishing trip takes you. They don’t take up much room and are light enough to carry around. Depending on if you’re kayak fishing, shore fishing, or anything in between, you can find a portable fish finder that meets your needs.
Aside from just finding fish, some fish finders can lead you to the best spots to get the most fishing success, so you won’t have to spend time waiting around for the fish to come to you. There are simple and more advanced models that each provide different features, so once you decide which features are most important to you, you can start enhancing your fishing experience with a portable fish finder.
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