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Fly Display Boxes

You should never think inside a box, except when you talk about boxes.

Calzolari Alberto 54

Flies are the peak of the craft in fly fishing, something logically indispensable for the fishing action. Without flies you don’t have fly fishing at all. These tiny concoction of feathers and furs are the driving force behind centuries of literature and more words have been written on flies than any other aspect of our sport.

I am an avid collector of vintage and antique stuff and a firm lover of books and flies. I consider flies some of the most charming collectable items, the most intimate connection between us and fly fishermen and fly tiers of the past, tiny receptacles of DNA and a perfect learning tool, especially if you are deeply involved in fly tying, in its tradition and history.

There are so many styles of flies out there, from the tiny trout midges to the big monsters for predators. Among them, salmon flies have probably the most striking beauty, with their mix of precious feathers, silk bodies and sparkling golden pheasant crests. It is not surprising that this last few years are seeing an overbearing resurgence of the interest around these little jewels with fly tiers of every age and nationality trying their hands with the hundreds of dressings described in the rich literature. Salmon flies, both the classic dressings or the modern artistic interpretations, are somehow delicate and, considering the cost of materials involved in the making and the time spent in tying one fly, are worth to be protected and stored correctly.

Salmon flies, likewise streamers and wet flies, are developing mainly on a two-dimensional plane and they naturally lay flat. Hence the need to keep them flat also while storing them. I have been tying classic salmon flies for many years and the search of a proper box where to protect my creations was always a priority. You keep tying, completely absorbed by the passion and the willing to try more and more patterns but all of a sudden you realise you don’t know where to store them. With dry flies and nymphs, or trout flies in general, the problem does not arise as you simply throw them all together in a box and they stay pretty well protected. But with salmon flies it’s another story, they deserve a better treatment.

An ideal protective box should be transparent to easily see through and appreciate the fly, lightweight, robust, easy to open and to re-close multiple times without breaking apart, not too thin to squeeze the fly and neither too thick to leave too much gap inside. In the course of the years I have used baseball card plastic boxes, CD and DVD cases, cases originally designed for specimen like insects and stones. But I never found one that was really satisfying me completely, for one reason or another. Until the day I found these amazing boxes.

They possess all the features I was always seeking for. They come in different sizes, for big flies or for small patterns, they can be used to store multiple small flies at once and they have the correct thickness to gently protect and hold the fly steady, with a proper wool mat, folded paper or similar padding inside, without jamming their fibres or deforming the fly overall shape. An alternative is to fix the flies with small strips of tape inside the box, without any wool mat.

These fly expositor boxes are easy to store, even in low drawers, and they pile up nicely to create a well stored archive. The small ones perfectly fit a business card to create a small presentation box for your giveaway flies or for your collectable specimen. These boxes are easy to open and close and they withstand hundreds of opening without showing any sign of wear.

When you consider the cost of a properly made salmon flies, including hook, gut, silk, tinsels and feathers, not to forget the time involved, you will agree the price of these protective boxes is reasonable. But, if all these features above weren’t enough you would please consider an additional use for your materials, sometimes more precious than the fly itself. With or without a layer of the usual wool mat, these display fly boxes can be used to store and protect small feathers of every sort. Try them to keep selections of tiny feathers, sections of wings or even whole wings ready to dress a nice fly. They are perfectly suited to accommodate ready to use Golden Pheasant Crests: lay them on their sides, in bunches, from the same head or divided and selected according to size. These multipurpose boxes really offer a wide variety of uses and they can be a perfect ally for the serious fly tiers or collectors.