Plastic fly boxes have improved. No question. Better plastic, better hinges, better latches, better foam, and more sizes and shapes then ever before. And today some are even water tight.
Years ago I relied mainly on metal boxes from Hardy and Perrine. Back then the only plastic fly box worth a hoot, in my opinion, was the Bonnand. Made from in France, they were transparent green, tough, “stackable” and had a brass hinge. Good stuff, and I still have one or two, but they are out of production. Today the tables are reversed, however. I relied mainly on plastic boxes. And why not? They are cheap, for the most part, sturdy, and work well.
Here are 3 inexpensive, clear plastic boxes that I like. First, in the photo above is a Flambeau “Slim Jim”. At 5/8″deep, this is narrow profile box, perfect for nymphs and small wets. It is clear plastic, measuring roughly 7″x 3 3/4″” The foam is flat, and holds quite a load of flies. What I like a lot about this box is that I can easily get 2 of them in one vest pocket! Love it. Shortcomings you ask? The plastic lid scratches over time and the box can be hard to open with wet hands. (Note, I’m not sure Flambeau markets this box directly anymore, but instead it is sold as the Wapsi Slim Jim, the Airflo Slim Jim, and as part of Cabela’s Slim Line. )
The Swedish built Myran fly boxes are top notch. Made from clear MBS plastic, they are extremely tough, “snapped” together, and come in a number of sizes. Above you see two 8 compartment boxes connected to make a double-sided box. Very convenient! (And once together they stay put.) I have large dries on one side and smaller dries on the other. This double-sided affair fits inside a fishing shirt pocket. In the other pocket you could have nymphs and wets, and off you go! High marks for Myran boxes, a long time favorite. Shortcomings? None I’m aware of.
This clear, ripple foam Plano box is a decent choice for dries, nymphs, wets, small streamers, or flats flies. The latch works reasonable well and the foam is decent. Size-wise it measures roughly 7 5/8″ x 4 1/2″ x 1 1/8″ deep. It fits inside the larger pockets on my vest, but it also fits neatly inside my Fishpond lumbar pack. And that is where I use it. Shortcomings? Yes with use the plastic lid will scratch. And the hinge pins show a little rust. Still I think you will find this box a useful item. ( update )