Even if you've got nimble salad fingers like I do, picking midges, small nymphs and tiny dries out of slit foam fly boxes or the like is an exercise in mounting frustration. Putting them back is worse and you know you're not taking the time, when streamside, to do it gracefully. A messy, disorganized fly box is the result. And, if you're like me, you live with that mess for most of the season instead of tidying it up when you get home.
Over the last couple of years, I've moved away from larger fly boxes and towards smaller boxes in an effort to increase my on-the-stream minimalism as well as the potential for horrific fly box messes. I almost always carry my camera and lenses, in my beloved Patagonia Stormfront Backpack, when I'm on the water. This means a no go for most vests and packs (although some hip packs will work). That said, I'm working only with wader pockets and -- when warm weather hits -- only with shirt pockets. Cutting down on big bulky items is a must. Enter small fly boxes.
Being that I need more of these little boxes to fit what my 2-3 big ones used to hold, I've been buying a bunch of cheap, no-frills boxes. Still, cheap means $10-15 and, honestly, they're all just plastic garbage. So it was much to my delight today, when I stumbled on a post by Louis Cahill of Gink & Gasoline which details making a slick, practically free magnetic fly box that suits my need of multiple, smaller fly boxes perfectly. All that's required is an Altoids tin (or similar), some cheap magnets and a few other inexpensive odds and ends.
Head over to G+G for the details on making one of these nifty little boxes.