Tested: TFC Dropper Rig Box

Philip tries a clever fly box from the Tandem Fly Company.

I’m constantly amazed how flyfishing companies create useful stuff which I didn’t actually realise I needed… until I did. Nets with built-in scales, proper fly patches for vests, clippers with a little point to clear hook eyes, and so on. They’re all things I managed to fish without once-upon-a-time, but now I’d be lost without them.

Which brings me to a dilemma with two fly rigs. Whether guiding or fishing myself, these are never far from the agenda. A Claret Carrot with a Milly Midge off the back for the evening chironomid hatch, a Shaving Brush with a nice dark brown nymph beneath for tricky fish in a dun hatch, the good old Royal Wulff/Stimulator with your favourite bead-head dangling off the back for the mountain streams, or the double dry – like two Possum Emergers for Little Pine. While tandem flies aren’t always the answer, there wouldn’t be many days on the water when I don’t use them at least some of the time.

Which then begs the question, what do you do when you make a change to a single fly, or a totally different rig/combination? Keep the tandem flies together? Or cut them off from each other – effectively wasting the section of joining tippet, and giving yourself two knots to tie if you decide, half an hour later, that in fact the tandem rig you just trashed was the best option after all.

Alternatively, do you try to somehow keep the two flies together, either scrunching the tippet into your fly box (coiling is kidding yourself – the result is soon the same) so that bits get caught in the hinges, or become hopelessly tangled anyway, meaning you need a re-tie regardless. Or, you might try the vest patch option – two flies separately embedded in the foam or wool, but with a big loop of loose tippet between. Best case, the tippet gets in the way as you try to access other things you need. Worst case, it catches on something, and two flies become one or none.

“First world problems!” I hear you say, and fair point. However, collectively, all the little nuisances in flyfishing become a real hindrance. For example, try fishing without clippers, or a decent head torch, or a retractor zip, or a good landing net carry/release system. You can do it, though with each absent item, it gets progressively more awkward and clumsy, to the point that fish-catching genuinely begins to suffer.

The box works neatly as a regular fly box, with the dropper ‘page’ surprisingly unobstrusive and effective.

So, with the Dropper Rig Box, another little problem is solved. The inner ‘page’ allows you to store several two fly rigs intact: neatly and easily. This page simply and cleverly clips in and out, so you can remove it to ‘roll’ your flies on, then pop it back securely. If you’re really organised, you can buy separately an extra dropper page to prepare ahead of time, and have it ready to clip into the box as needed.

The way the dropper page clips out, makes it very easy to attach a tandem fly rig…

Meanwhile, the Dropper Rig Box is a practical everyday fly box anyway. It can accommodate upwards of 200 single flies in theory, and several dozen easily. There are handy exterior loopholes to secure the box to your vest or lanyard. It’s made in Colorado in the USA with what certainly seems to be a decent level of precision and strength: from the powerful magnets which keep the box securely shut, through to the firm and well-wearing fly storage foam. And I happen to like blue as a background when trying to locate different patterns. Some big or heavily-hackled flies might struggle to fit comfortably, but for my purposes, that hasn’t been an issue given how I use this box with regular dries, nymphs, stick caddis, buzzers etc.

…and clip the page back in again.

Do you need this fly box? You can certainly survive without it (and most of us have of course). But now I’ve used it, it will be staying in my vest most of the time and making my flyfishing life just that bit easier.

Available now at The Flyfisher in South Melbourne and online www.theflyfisher.com.au  $59.95.