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Storage Review

Columbia Customs, a better way to store line-through swimbaits (continued)

Operation cont'd: So what if you don’t have enough line through swimbaits to fill the box? We also tested the box with standard soft bodied swimbaits with traditional line tie on top of the head. We found it easy enough to thread the wire through the hook eye and after some experimentation we found a short s-bend in the wire was a quick and easy way to secure these six inch baits alongside the line through swimbaits. When it comes to ease of operation the line through box makes it extremely quick to stow and draw soft bodied swimbaits.

The manufacturer wasn't kidding, with a lot of baits armed with treble hooks we have a tangling problem when the box is tilted on the side, these boxes really are best for top hook baits

We wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we didn’t test the Columbia box’s water tight capabilities. We tossed both versions fully loaded with swimbaits over the edge of the boat and both floated. Unless we deliberately pressed the boxes downwards into the water they remained completely watertight. If you hold the boxes underwater it is possible to get some water past the seal but this really is an unnatural test and not something that will occur naturally in the field. 

Though a hard swimbait the CL8 is an example of a swimbait that will work just fine in the 10" version

In terms of durability we didn’t have any problems whatsoever with either box. We initially had concerns with the wires breaking but after we repeatedly flexed the wires in the same section they remained fully intact and malleable. The Plano box shells also held up well to both impact tests and everyday wear and tear.

The line through swimbait box is three dollars more than the standard box but we can justify the cost with the unique implementation

Price & Applications: Both boxes offer quality swimbait storage but I found the line through model more innovative as well as easier to use on a surprising range of baits. When it comes to price the 6” version of both boxes retails for $34.99 while the 10” versions cost three dollars less. The reason the 10” boxes are cheaper is likely due to the use of fewer stainless steel components as they have a few less clips or wires. The Columbia Custom boxes make use of a more expensive and waterproof base Plano shell then the Markey’s branded boxes but the Markey’s Single Swimbait Box (which holds seven 10” swimbaits) retails for only $19.99. Markey’s has a new Super Double Swimbait box which is slightly larger and can hold treble hooked baits and retails for $24.99. This puts the standard Columbia clip based box on the high side, the line through version is more exclusive but can it garner the 35 dollar price point? It is funny how paying 35 dollars for a storage box seems like a lot but we are willing to shell out up to two thirds of that for a single bait.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Columbia Custom Tackle 6" Swimbait Box Specifications
Standard Version

Construction/Quality Overall a quality modification of a quality Plano box. These design just plain works 8
Performance The box is able to hold 16 baits but doesn't work well with hard baits with hanging treble hooks, it does work well with baits with a single top hook or treble hook stuck to the body. The clips are a little tricky to manage when the box is fully loaded 7
Price Retailing for 31.99 the standard Columbia box is on the expensive side when you compare it with the competition, unless you really put a premium on waterproofing 6
Features The clip version of this box is simple and straightforward to use. This box is best for soft swimbaits. 7
Design (Ergonomics) Clips are little difficult to fiddle with when the box is fully loaded, on the six inch version the lid opens downwards towards you versus to the side which gets in the way at times 7
Application Great for soft swimbaits, good for hard swimbaits without hanging treble hooks, not so good for hard multi jointed swimbaits with multiple treble hooks 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


The line through version is the more innovative box


Columbia Custom Tackle 6" Swimbait Box Specifications
Line-Through Version

Construction/Quality Overall a quality modification of a quality Plano box. This box makes use of a clever line through system that is both easy to use and versatile 8
Performance The box is able to hold 12 baits and is specifically designed for line through baits but we found it was also able to handle standard top tie soft bodied swimbaits as well 9
Price Retailing for 34.99 the line through Columbia box is on the expensive side but we can justify the cost more on this box as it is the best solution we have seen thus far for line through type swimbaits 7
Features This box has a great implementation for line through swimbaits, the system is clever, reliable, and easy to use 8
Design (Ergonomics) It is actually very easy to stow and draw line through swimbaits and we found that the box could also hold standard top hook soft bodied swimbaits surprisingly well 8
Application This box is pretty application specific but if you enjoy fishing line through swimbaits this is a great box for you 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Durable construction, quality stainless steel components L On the expensive side (both versions though we can justify the line through cost a bit more)
J Finally a box designed for line through swimbaits L Doesn't handle the full range of swimbaits, best for soft bodied big baits
J Waterproof  
J Able to hold soft bodied swimbaits safely and keeps them from bending or kinking  
J Standard size, fits in many bags and tackle systems  


Conclusion: Columbia Custom tackle saw a niche that needed to be filled with the introduction of their line through swimbait box. Both models function well and are able to both organize and protect all but hard swimbaits with hanging trebles which can tangle. The Columbia line-through model doesn’t have as much competition as the clip version and while there is a smaller market for this product just based on the ratio of available standard swimbaits versus the line-through variety we feel this is the more exciting option between the two. While both boxes get the job done it is the line-through version that is the more original offering and wins our Innovation Award.  


Dec 2nd, 2009 Update: Columbia Custom Tackle has informed us that they are working on a hybrid version of there boxes which combines the best features of both of their boxes with half of the bar holding clips and the other half loaded with the line-through wires. This combo box should be a great solution for anglers looking to hold both types of swimbaits in one box.


Looking for Columbia Custom Boxes? Try Tackle Warehouse










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