Our Tacky Hack


While I was at the Somerset Fly Fishing Show doing demos with my personal gear, a number of visitors to the booth were really excited to see my “Hacky” boxes – which I made by combining an Original Tacky Flybox and a Tacky Big Bug Box. For me – “pulling the pin” gave me less boxes to keep up with, less weight in the pack, and a lot more efficient use of space (and time) when on the water.

So, by popular demand, I’ve put together this little tutorial to demonstrate how to do this with your own Tacky’s.

PRE-HACK CONSIDERATIONS

A few things to consider up front…
1)  You cannot combine two Original Tacky Boxes.  I tried – but there isn’t enough clearance when you have flies loaded… and the box won’t close.

2)  The Magnets need to match up, so before you start, quickly confirm that your magnets don’t oppose each other.  I made this mistake – and tried to combine two big bug boxes, but the box wouldn’t close because the magnets opposed each other.

3)  This is a great option if you have existing boxes that you want to consolidate as I did to streamline your own existing setup. However, if you’re starting from scratch, check out the Orvis | Tacky collaboration boxes HERE that come like this new – with high-vis, bright green silicone mats in a dark grey box.

So… with no further ado… let’s get started!

TOOLS NEEDED
  • Small Hammer
  • Punch Tool for Removing Hinge Pins (Same diameter as the hinge pin itself)
    • This could be a thin nail or other similar pin, as long as it is about the same diameter / no larger than the hinge pin itself.
  • Pair of sturdy pliers or Vice Grips (I used the latter – much easier)
  • One (1) Tacky Original Flybox
  • One (1) Tacky Big Bug (or Dry Fly) Flybox
  • Care / Patience so that you don’t break your boxes or yourself!
STEP 1 – Pull the Pin on Your Original Flybox

It’s important to start with your Original first – because the pin will come out easier.

As you look at your box up close, you’ll see that one end of the pin has texture on it… we want this end to exit the box hinge first.  Using your punch tool and a small hammer, drive the hinge pin out of the hinge so that enough of the pin sticks out for you to be able to get a firm hold on it with a pair of pliers.  [See Photo Diagram Below]

Note: my Punch tool was a metal pin with a round loop in one end that came with a door knob kit.  It was EXACTLY the same diameter as the hinge pin in the box, and the loop fit over my finger so I could apply pressure without having to use a hammer on my first box.  However, you could (carefully) use a nail, or something else similar, as long as it is that is no larger than the diameter of the pin that holds the box together for this.  Use something bigger, and you may break the plastic in the hinge. 

With the textured end exposed, use your pliers to grab on to the end of the pin, and carefully pull it out of the hinge.  I used a pair of vice grips to make this easier, but on the Original Box the pin slides out pretty easy.

STEP 2 – Pull the Pin on Your Big Bug Box (Hardest Part)

The Big Bug Box pin is tighter in the hinge and harder to remove.  For me, the loop-end pin wasn’t enough on it’s own, so I used the pin pulled from my Original box (careful to not bend it) with a small hammer to drive the pin out of the Big Bug box.

Like before, once you have the textured end exposed a good enough amount for you to be able to grab hold of it with your pliers, carefully pull the pin out of your bigger box.

STEP 3 – REASSEMBLY

(As shown below) you now will have the two loose pins and four box parts. Reorganize the parts and line up the hinges so you can reinsert the pins:

Carefully push the pins back into the hinges of your two new boxes as shown below.  Once you have them pushed in up to the textured end, use your small hammer to tap them the rest of the way into the hinge.

NOTE:  You’ll want to try and insert the pin from the end OPPOSITE of the plastic leash loop on the box – otherwise, this piece will make it near impossible for you to fully seat the pin with your hammer.

With the pins fully re-seated, you are left with two “new” boxes:  1) a double sided “Hacky” box with space for smaller flies as well as space for larger flies in a single box, and 2) a clear box that (someday) could be used with magnetic inserts as an awesome box for midges.  (truthfully – I’m working on figuring this out for myself – so I welcome any suggestions from the community if / as you set up your own).  But even if you only use the clear box as a simple storage box for other gear, around your fly tying bench, or for extra flies – it comes in handy.

I hope this makes as big a difference for you as it did for me!  Cheers, Scott

12 Comments On “Our Tacky Hack”

  1. SO Sweet…….. i know what i am doing tonight!!

    Reply

  2. Gotta try this, but my big bug boxes are used for salt flies and the original for fresh. May need to rearrange flies to take advantage of this.

    Also, for the clear box liner, I would get the sticky back foam from a craft store (I get mine from Joann Fabrics). Check the depth with a single sheet, and if possible, double up the foam sheets cut to the size of the box. Use a razor knife (or fabric cutter – you’ve got plenty of those, Scott ;-)) and cut slits in the top layer of foam at a fixed distance apart (1/4″ for smaller flies, 1/2″ for larger flies). I made several boxes like this using greenFlambeau Tradesman 10.5 boxes. They work great.

    Reply

    • That’s actually a really good idea, Dean – foam would make a nice base for one side… though I doubt there’d be room for it on both sides. I’ll have to have you show me next time our paths cross!

      I also found a possible source for sticky back magnetics – – – more on this to come.

      Reply

  3. You the man

    Reply

  4. Have you been able to combine two big bug boxes? Definitely going to give this a try.

    Reply

    • Hey Bobby – Alas, no. I tried, but the magnets in the box sections opposed each other and the box wouldn’t close. Maybe yours will work better – but test it out before you pull the pin. Cheers! Scott

      Reply

  5. Cool idea but for $20 cheaper you can by the Orvis Tacky Collab box just like the one you made or with two dry fly sides.

    Reply

    • You didn’t read the whole Post in the first paragraph he says that he suggested to do this with your old boxes if you want new boxes to buy the Orvis one

      Reply

  6. Pingback: Tacky fly boxes. - Page 3 - The North American Fly Fishing Forum

  7. I was able to successfully combine two of the original boxes to make a super euro nymphing box and it appears I’ll have enough clearance for the size 10-20 patterns I typically use.

    This is a fantastic, super easy mod. I didn’t have a punch small enough for the hinger pin, but a 1.5mm Allen key worked wonders.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *