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Tackle Storage Review

Protect your smallest flies with the "waterproof" Akiokun Fly Box from Meiho

Date: 12/09/02
Tackle type: Tackle Storage
Manufacturer: Meiho
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 7.75

Introduction: Sometimes the right storage can make real difference in your fishing experience. This is especially true in fly fishing when it helps to be able to identify the right fly for the right application quickly. Meiho introduces the Akiokun Fly box which aims to deliver good organization and protection for all your smaller flies.

Meiho Akiokun FB-470 Specifications

Size 3"x4"
Materials Impact-resistant Plastic
Colors Available 1 (Blue)
Storage Compartments 20 (Flexible configuration)
Water Resistant Yes
Price as tested $14.95

Impressions: Many anglers here in the U.S. may never have heard of Meiho, as the company is based in Japan. Meiho has been manufacturing high quality plastic enclosures and storage solutions for years, and now brings their expertise to the design and manufacture of fly boxes under the "Akiokun" brand name. The Akiokun FB-470 is their largest fly box, and by US standards would still be considered small at only 3 x 4" inches in size. When we first examined the Akiokun FB-470 we noticed that the plastic seemed very high quality and the case seemed much more solid then traditional plastic boxes, this is due to the fact that the walls and hinges on this box are indeed thicker then those found on most boxes available on the market today. In the lab we struck the case with a hammer, dropped it over 6ft on concrete (ten times), and submerged it in our test pool....never once did the case burst open and expose the stored flies!


The Real World Test: To test this box in the field we went on two separate trips and filled it with two distinct sets of flies. Tests included a Steelhead fishing trip on the upper Sacramento River, as well as a backcountry trip to the Yosemite High Country.


The Akiokun FB-470 has a rounded design with solid pin hinges and clever locking latch design


Opening and Closing: The area that the Akiokun FB-470 is most impressive in is the solid hinge design. The box opens and closes with a fluid motion not found in other cases with traditional plastic hinges. The reason for the fluid hinges are that they make use of steel pins rather then plastic. This also increases the durability of both hinge and locking latch. Both hinges are reinforced by multiple connections. If you drop this box on hard rocks it will not open as long as the locking latch is engaged. The box can be easily opened with only one hand if you hold onto the latch.


The box is full of bins and two large customizable compartments


Waterproofing: When we examined the locking mechanism it almost seemed like overkill, until we conducted our next round of tests. The reason that Meiho integrated such a secure locking system is to put constant pressure on a integrated o-ring that serves as a waterproofing gasket. We tested the box in the water, and sure enough the box floated every time. Even when submerged in a bucket of water the o-ring did it's job and kept almost all the water out of the box. The water that did get into the box still didn't reach the flies as they are all organized into separate and fully enclosed bins.


The Akiokun FB-470 is made waterproof by applying pressure via the locking latch to the yellow o-ring


Durability: We mentioned earlier how durable this box was in lab tests, and our findings were further compounded by our tests in the field. In comparison to standard abs plastic cases the Akiokun FB-470 was twice as durable and 3 times as unlikely to come open unintentionally. Where the Akiokun FB-470 fell short was in the interior design of the individual doors of each fly compartment. After extended use the doors did begin to show signs of wear, and eventually the plastic hinges can break off if anglers tug too hard on the compartment doors.


The Akiokun FB-470 is best used for storing small flies


Capacity: Another problem with the Akiokun FB-470 is the total capacity. With other fly-boxes there are more separate compartments or foam in which to hook individual flies on. While the Akiokun FB-470 does offer some flexibility by customizing the dividers in its two largest compartments the box is still best suited for smaller flies up to size 12. If you want to put more flies into the box you will have to double up. For some anglers this is not favorable because delicate flies can be damaged and when you pull flies out of the box they sometimes get tangled up. One thing we were fond of was the integration of a small hole under the large compartment which turned out to be the perfect place to store a fly-threader.


The integrated hole under the large compartment is perfect for a handy fly-threader


Applications: The Akiokun has a number of small details that add value to the box. These include labels for the bins, a holed tab on the outside of the box designed to attach the box to a lanyard, and rounded edge design. The form factor of this small box makes it perfect to slide into those mid sized pockets on your vest, and the rounded edges actually make it more comfortable to put this box in a standard shirt or pant pocket. One gripe was the use of translucent plastic on the inside of the box rather then completely transparent plastic, this made it harder to identify flies while wearing a headlamp in low light applications. While some people will like the labels my preference is still to choose flies by sight. Because of the limitations to capacity the Akiokun FB-470 is a good choice for anglers that don't have a very extensive collection of flies, or for trips where you can accurately predict exactly what you need.


Meiho Akiokun FB-470 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good use of high quality shatterproof plastic and metal pins for truly solid latch design 9
Performance Good performance in waterproof tests, and excellent performance in durability tests 8
Price A decent price for a box this detailed in design 8
Features Quite a few features for such a small tackle solution. the interior bins in the large compartments can be customized. 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) A good design that needs a few minor tweaks like better bin doors, and use of clearer plastic for better visual fly identification. 7
Application A bit too limiting for larger flies, and can easily fill up with larger egg patterns. Good for short trips or where conditions are already well known...not as good for anglers that want more organization and capacity for extensive fly collections. 6

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Durable design L Limited Capacity
J Great hinge design L Interior bin doors prone to wear
J Waterproof L Interior doors not completely transparent
J Decent price  

Conclusion: Meiho should be applauded for the durable and attractive Akiokun FB-470 design, and use of high quality materials in its construction. While not perfect the Akiokun FB-470 will serve most fly anglers well, but some veteran fly anglers may find the Akiokun FB-470 a bit too limiting in terms of organization and capacity, and should look elsewhere for a solution that is capable of accommodating more considerable fly collections. On the other hand, if you are on a short trip and are able to pick a top 20 set of flies the Akiokun FB-470 will do its duty and protect your flies from the elements, ensuring that when you arrive at your final destination all your flies will still be in great shape.


Until Next Time....Tight Lines!









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