Protect your smallest flies with the "waterproof" Akiokun
Fly Box from Meiho
Total Score: 7.75
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
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
The Akiokun FB-470 is best
used for storing small flies
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.
Akiokun FB-470 Ratings
Good use of high quality shatterproof plastic and metal pins for truly solid
Good performance in waterproof tests, and excellent performance in
decent price for a box this detailed in design
Quite a few features for such a small tackle solution. the interior bins in
the large compartments can be customized.
good design that needs a few minor tweaks like better bin doors, and use of
clearer plastic for better visual fly identification.
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.
Pluses and Minuses:
Great hinge design
Interior bin doors prone to wear|
Interior doors not completely transparent|
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!