All anglers know that we can get by storing and carrying our flies in all manner of decidedly un-fancy receptacles. The various plastic containers that come free with your selection of flies from the bins at the shop, old film canisters, an Altoids tin (with a stick-on magnet if you really want to get serious), Plano boxes and so on are all perfectly viable and decidedly inexpensive ways to tote flies to and from the stream. But we almost all opt for something more.
For the most part, this is because better fly boxes make our days on the stream more efficient, more pleasant. We can organize better, protect our flies from the elements, more easily access and find the flies we want. And so we're happy to pay a premium for a better box. It's probably safe to say that most anglers have paid upwards of $25 for a fly box at some point in their angling careers and many more have likely spent upwards of $40 or even $50. But what about $125? What do you get for that?
A hundred and a quarter dollars lands you one of A.L. Swanson's fine, handcrafted fly boxes from his studio in Helena, Montana. Swanson, a furniture maker by trade, treats the task of building fly boxes like he does the task of building furniture, choosing fine hardwoods, solid brass hardware, finishing touches like abalone and mother of pearl and hand making each box with exacting craftsmanship.
While Swanson's boxes won't serve to store your flies any more efficiently than a $10 plastic box from China, they are built to be used, to be functional, toting along features such as magnetic closures, a water resistant finish and a lanyard post for attaching the box to your lanyard, vest or pack.
If you balk at the idea of spending $125 (or $145 for some of Swanson's current offerings) for a fly box, you won't be alone. However, it's likely safe to say that Swanson isn't targeting the everyday angler. These boxes are without question luxury items intended for the angler that values fine handmade craftsmanship, the fly tyer looking to showcase his work, the family member looking for an extravagant gift and so on.
See and learn more about A.L. Swanson's fly boxes here.