The Magnum Tacklebox

Plano Magnum tackle box ad featuring Bill Dance

Plano Magnum tackle box ad featuring Bill Dance

There is an interesting progression of development and popularity between bass anglers and their tackle management systems. Nowadays, soft packs and individual accessory boxes seem to dominate the boats of anglers everywhere. If you go way back in time, toward our early tournament beginnings, we were still using the old drawer boxes, or “suitcases” as some of them were affectionately known as. In between these two eras though saw the development of a hybrid system, known most frequently by the name that Plano assigned to the box, the Magnum. Fenwick also manufactured a similar box around that time.

The hybrid 767 box next to some original drawer style boxes, once the official Classic boxes.

The hybrid 767 box next to some original drawer style boxes, once the official Classic boxes.

It started off as a single-sided box with an acrylic amber lid that was hinge-locked. The amber color was enough to let you see through the cover into the box, and at the lures stored therein. It didn’t take long for them to figure out that you could rivet two of these individual boxes back-to-back and get a “double” Magnum. From there they made smaller versions of both boxes, appropriately called the Magnum Pocket Pack and Magnum Side-Kick. After a while though, things got fancy.

Some hybrid boxes were developed that featured harder outer shells with the clear plastic flip lids internally, such as the 1234 Super Magnum in the ad above. There was also my personal favorite, the 767 which featured a hard plastic center section, with double flaps on either side that opened from the center, each hinged to the other.

A later blue magnum, also known as a "satchel."

A later blue magnum, also known as a “satchel.”

Eventually, they shifted to a blue lid design with gray plastic and began yet another evolution of this style box, most notably represented by the “Over and Under” design, as well as the “44 Magnum.” Here the see-through lids worked their way back to the outside of the boxes, and multiple variations of hinged compartments and lids ensued depending upon the specific model. Some had spinnerbait racks built-in, while others had round slots for jars of Uncle Josh pork rinds. Still others had large open areas without dividers that could house extra reels or packages of line.

A Plano 44 Magnum

A Plano 44 Magnum

I will readily admit to owning nearly every single one of these boxes. My first serious box beyond the traditional metal vertical drawer “starter” box that most began with was the 777RN drawer box (the “suitcase”). From there I owned several double-sided Magnums, then my favorite 767, and finally an “Over and Under.” Of course, then came individual “StowAways” and the resulting soft packs and bags. However, even to this day, my favorites have always been the later models of Magnums, no matter how impractical they now might seem.

As a side note, I should also add that my personal affinity for Plano boxes goes way back. Turns out they were the first company to reply back when I was young (and naïve) and just starting out. I wrote several companies asking about sponsorships and they were the first, and one of the few, to respond, sending back a packet with a nice letter, and filled with Plano patches and decals (LOL).  Who knew that a little goodwill toward a teenager would result in a lifetime of preferential purchasing?

  • Ralph Manns

    I too started with a simple box, moved on to a “possum-belly” types, and eventually had about 25 Plano plastic boxes after rejecting the cloth “boxes” as too easily made unusable by dirt.. When I had a full size bass boat I likely lost 10 mph top end simply due to the weight of the tackle I always had with me. I was ready for any tackle eventuality in those days, though I had my favorites. When I got too old for such high-jinx and was reduced to a 3-4 hour day in a mini boat, I had to rethink tackle. Now I only carry a few key lures, favorites for the presentations I’m most apt to use, terminal gear, and a plastic worm container. The result is one small Plano box with a three hard-lure tray and single-tier plastic container hold all..

    And still I only use a few of the lures on any given outing. Yet I catch about as many bass as I ever did. This is perhaps a testimony to “Kiss” (keep it simple stupid) in angling as in most other activities.