So I’ve been using the Lakewood Mini Sidekick Tackle Box as my main tackle box for the past 6 months. I’ve known of Lakewood Products tackle boxes for a long time, first seeing them online when I was a kid scouring surf fishing forums online for info on catching striper. I saw these surf anglers liking the larger muskie tackle boxes to protect their handmade surf plugs, the vertical storage system letting them easily access pick-out lures without having to deal with all the treble hooks snagging each other. But the name slipped my mind after I stopped looking into surf fishing as much and started bass fishing more. I grabbed a big hard plastic tackle box thinking that was the move, but stopped using it after a few months because of how bulky it was while being space inefficient.
So I replaced that with some cheap flat-pack 3700 trays that stuffed into my backpack along with a Walmart bag full of packs of soft plastics. Sure the trays kinda sucked, all my lures just kinda stuffed every which way. Every time I needed a specific lure there was always that shake trying to unsnag the other three lures that came up with it. The 3700 trays and tacklebox worked, but there was plenty of room for improvement. So let’s see if the Lakewood Mini Sidekick Tackle Box has the improvements I want in a tackle box.
The Mini Sidekick Tackle Box is, as the name implies a smaller version of Lakewood’s Sidekick Tackle, a hard ABS frame covered in a durable soft fabric exterior. The tackle box consists of a main compartment, two padded side pouches, and a front tool pocket. The main compartment is divided into two parts, the left side can fit two 3600 tackle trays, great for putting trays of terminal tackle and jigs, and the right side where you can hang all your lures and spinnerbaits. The dividers in this part can be removed if you got some bulkier lures. The hook slots on the dividers are Lakewood’s Lure Saver design that helps keeps your lures in place. Even when I knocked the box over the cut of the slots kept the hooks in place.
Lakewood Mini Sidekick Tackle Box Key Features
- Lure Saver™ hook slots (Patent Pending) to protect lures from loss or damage
- Removable/adjustable dividers for hanging lures/baits
- Additional hanging storage for spinnerbaits, etc…
- Additional storage for two 3600 type containers (not included)
- Perfect all-around tackle storage solution for boat, shore, kayak, and more!
- Zippered side pockets
- Front tool pockets
- Heavy duty webbing handles
- Floats when loaded! (when fully zipped)
- Outside Case Dimensions: 11.5” L x 11.5” W X 7” H (not including pockets)
- Two Colors – Gray, Black
- MSRP – $149.99
Moving all my lures over to the Mini Sidekick was a bit surprising, I thought I had plenty of hard baits in the two trays I carried around regularly. But when I moved all of them all over it made me realize how much storage was available in this box. By the time I was done loading up the tackle box, I think I had moved at least 4 trays worth of hard baits into the Mini Sidekick. The best part was everything was neat and tidy, no snagging, no overlapping. All of them easily visible.
I was able to even fit a good portion of my larger glide baits and swimbaits into the box without issue. The side pouches are tall enough to fit clamshell-packaged soft plastic baits like keitechs, even large soft plastic swimbaits such as 7″ Scottsboro Tackle Co. Swimbaits. The front tool pouch obviously is good to stuff a pair of pliers or cutters. I set up my Mini Sidekick with a tray of terminal tackle, a tray of jigs, and spoons in the tray section. All my hard baits and then in one of the side pouches packs of soft plastics and the other pouch got spools of leader material, paracord, and a stringer.
Now past actually just filling up the Mini Sidekick with tons of fishing gear, time for use. I ran this thing through the largemouth bass prespawn, spawn, and post-spawn at the local lake near my old house, both from shore and from a boat. And now I’m using it as a rigging station for chasing striper from the Coosa River near the new house. The Mini Sidekick has been super solid so far, even taking a few tumbles off the tailgate. The fabric outer shell and ABS inner shell keep all your gear protected. The lid of the Mini Sidekick has an ABS panel core enshrouded in padding and fabric. There is enough cushion to press into the top of the lure compartment to keep everything where you left it. Even when it landed upside down after falling out of the truck all the lures stayed in place.
I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a traditional-style tackle box after using these vertical hangers this year. It is just so much faster and neater to use than traditional trays. The sides of the Mini Sidekick’s main lure compartment have single lure spots that I use in two ways. The first way is to protect some of my more expensive lures like Megabass lures or custom lures. The second way is a streamlined way to get at lures I know I will regularly switch to that way there is an absolute 0% of snagging them on other lures. The tackleboxes also float for a bit as long as they’re zipped up. While not waterproof the fabric and stitching do keep water out alright for at least a short amount of time.
Though there are a couple of things I’m not a fan of on the Mini Sidekick, honestly though one is a non-issue. My biggest grip is the pleather handle wrap on the two webbing handles. I understand it’s just to close up the webbing handles but because the material is too soft it just gets in the way when moving the box around. If it was a bit more rigid of a material it would be fine, but I would rather just not have it all together. The second issue with the Mini Sidekick I have is the open-cell foam used for the padding of the side pouches. The foam is open to whatever is in the pouches and the elements.
The Lakewood guys at ICAST told me not to worry about that though, if it was to ever occur it would be covered by the lifetime warranty. Like all their products the Mini Sidekick has a lifetime warranty so if something breaks down over time they’ll fix it for you no matter how many years down the line it happens. Which makes the price tag of $149.99 a lot more palatable for me. Which honestly if you think about it the contents of your tackle box cost a lot more than that. So a good tackle box that protects all its contents well is worth it to me. This might just be the last general-purpose tackle box I ever own for freshwater use.