Mystery Tackle Box (MTB for short) is the most popular Fishing Subscription Box in the tackle industry. The company really seems to have a passionate following online, especially on YouTube. I’m sure you have seen some of the gazillion MTB Unboxing, or MTB Slam videos, they are hard to miss!
Doubters and haters might dismiss the popularity as marketing hype, but MTB has been steadily growing its business since it started in 2012. Which brings us to this review. Our goal is to answer the number one question anglers have when considering buying into the monthly subscription box:
Yeah it looks cool, but is Mystery Tackle Box worth it?
To answer that question, we purchased the Pro monthly box for bass fishing. As we get each MTB box, we’ll add it to this review so you can get the picture of its value over time. We also subscribed to the equivalent box from Lucky Tackle Box, MTB’s main competitor. It’s only fair that we do a largemouth to largemouth comparison of the top two tackle boxes.
How Does MTB Work? What Does it Cost?
MTB is very simple. You choose a plan, your preferred species, payment frequency, and then you checkout. All that’s left is to wait for your first box to arrive (they’ll send you a tracking number).
- MTB Regular ($14.99/mo) – Choose from Bass, Inshore, Ice Fishing, Walleye, Panfish, Catfish, and Trout.
- MTB Pro ($24.99/mo) – Choose from Bass, Walleye, or Inshore Saltwater. Each box has an approximate retail value of $40.
- MTB Elite ($???/mo) – This new level is rumored to be $50/month premium box.
- MTB Gift ($43 to $276) – Get the same selection of species and box level, in a convenient gift card form. They can be had in 3, 6, and 12-month packages.
The signup process was as easy as 1-2-3. But what if you don’t like it, or don’t want a box every month? MTB makes it easy to cancel, pause, upgrade or downgrade at any time. You can even change target species, which I imagine would be nice for multi-species anglers and ice fishermen.
Mystery Tackle Box Review – Box #1 (February)
- Lucky Craft Pointer 95 ($15.99) – The Pointer 95 is a 1/2 ounce, 3-3/4″ long silent jerkbait. It runs 4-5 feet deep. The Ghost Threadfin Shad color looks great and should work well on most lakes with shad.
- Bill Lewis Floating Rat-L-Trap ($5.49) – This rattle bait is intriguing, in that it floats. Instead of aggressively working the bait as you would on a heavy lipless bait, it’s going to be worked much closer to the surface. I can’t wait to try this one out.
- Castaic Boyd Duckett BD Squarebill ($6.99) – This is a nice looking squarebill crankbait. The hooks look quality, and the shallow 3-4 foot running depth should work great in the spring.
- Carolina Rig Kit ($3.00) – Beads, swivels, and brass weights for assembling two Carolina Rigs.
- Catch Co. Gator Hawg ($2.99) – 6 pack of baby Brush Hawg style soft plastics.
- Catch Co. Stickies Hooks ($2.10) – 3 pack of 3/0 offset worm hooks.
- Blakemore Randy’s Swim’n Runner ($6.49) – A nice little underspin bait that should work great for spotted bass. The 1/4 ounce size should catch a lot of fish.
Thoughts on Box #1: This box was received in February, and it’s a nice selection of lures for early spring bass fishing. The hard baits are spot on for things I would use around the old grass beds and shallow hard cover. The other pieces are basically everything you would need to fish a Carolina Rig, which is a nice touch. Overall this was an excellent box of tackle.
Mystery Tackle Box Review – Box #2 (March)
- Smartbaits Brute ($7.99) – A pack of creature bait style soft plastics. Smartbaits has a color change technology, where the colors adapt to the water temperature for a more realistic presentation.
- Saw Craw ($4.99) – This is a pack of Rage Craw knockoffs, with similar claw shape, so I expect them to have great action for pitching and flipping.
- Westin Hypoteez ST ($5.99) – This is a 6″ swimbait with a pre-molded jig and hook, with a treble hook trailer. It is an interesting swimbait, and one I’ve never fished before. With the exposed hooks, I’ll probably only throw this around grass and points with no brush to hang up in.
- Catch Co Flippin Jig ($2.19) – A standard 3/8 oz flipping jig, similar to a Strike King Bitsy Flip. The head has a nice flat shape to it, I’m betting I can skip this under boat docks and wood quite easily.
- Strike King Rage Tail Lizards ($5.39) – Rage Tail baits are awesome, and the lizard is going to get used this spring on a light Texas Rig, and a Mojo Rig on spinning gear to catch some fish as they move in and out of spawning pockets.
- Big O’s Brush Bands ($0.99) – A pack of o-ring bands to spread apart your brush guards. I have no idea why this is necessary; I think I’ll use them for wacky rigs instead.
- Sinker Pegs ($1.99) – This is a pack of rubber bobber stop style sinker pegs. I use these all the time and will definitely get used up this year.
- Catch Co Runt Crankbait ($4.99) – The Runt is a strange looking little crankbait. The short body and lip remind me of those little Rebel crawfish crankbaits. I don’t think I will end up using this bait, but it should work really well for bank and pond fishing.
Thoughts on Box #2: This was a March box, and it’s a decent lure pack for pre-spawn and spawn time bass fishing. I would pitch the plastics on a light Texas Rig to any shallow cover I can find. The jig could be fished around wood and docks this time of year. I’m interested in trying the Westin swimbait, as I’ve never tried fishing a swimbait of that style. I would grade this an average box.
Mystery Tackle Box Review – Box #3 (April)
- BioSpawn ExoSwim ($5.99) – A soft plastic, ribbed swimbait that has become so popular in bass fishing. I’ll fish this bait for Spotted Bass on a small jighead or underspin, as well as on a swimjig for largemouth.
- Bagley Pro Sunny B Twin Prop ($8.79) – This is a sweet looking prop topwater plug. The bluegill color is perfect for fishing postspawn around bluegill beds along grass lines and the bank.
- Yo-Zuri Pencil (F) ($7.99) – Another nice topwater bait! This frog colored pencil walker is also great for postspawn fishing around the bream beds.
- CatchCo Spinnerbait ($2.99) – An average willow blade spinnerbait. Nothing special about this bait.
- Stickies Trailer Hooks ($1.99) – Trailer hooks to go along with the spinnerbait.
- Big Bite Drop Shad ($1.99) – This is a sample pack of drop shot baits, modeled after the popular Strike King worms.
- Lucky John Chunk Tail ($1.99) – A small pack of grub trailers that can be paired with a jig or swimjig.
Thoughts on Box #3: This box had 3 excellent baits and some pretty average to below average lures. The topwater baits are great, and I can’t wait to fish them. In my opinion, this is still a good selection of bass lures that are well matched for the springtime of the year, whether pre or post spawn.
Mystery Tackle Box Review – Box #4 (May)
- Perfection Lures Football Jig ($5.99) – Solid looking football jig designed by FLW Pro David Dudley. It features two wires trailing the head to make it stand up and present the trailer in a natural way.
- Z-Man Chatterbait ($4.99) – The chatterbait is a killer spring, summer, and fall bait. The purple skirt would look great with a green pumpkin trailer to mimic bluegill.
- Catch Co. Flickity Split ($1.49) – Small jigs heads designed for the Flick Shake technique.
- Strike Pro Inquisitor ($9.49) – Nice looking jerkbait. The blue and pink color patterns are perfect shad and blueback herring imitations.
- IMA Little Stick ($10.99) – The Little Stick is known as a top pencil popper style bait, and my favorite lure in the box.
- Creme Reel Scremer ($3.60) – A pack of 3.5″ paddletail baits. I would probably rig these on jig heads and fish for spotted bass.
- Catch Co. Waggle Worm ($4.29) – This is your basic Trick Worm style soft plastic that catches fish anywhere you go.
Thoughts on Box #4: This is a fantastic box. With a good football jig, a chatterbait, jerkbait, and high-end topwater bait, I am definitely getting my money worth this month.
Mystery Tackle Box Review – Box #5 (June)
- Lucky Craft Gunfish ($15.99) – I’ve only ever had a few Lucky Craft baits due to the price, but they sure are nice to fish with. The Gunfish is a popper style bait with a great reputation for drawing bites.
- Liquid Mayhem Fish Attractant ($4.99) – Shad flavor attractant paste. Gross.
- Optimum 3.5″ Swimbait ($8.99) – This is the tiny version of the big swimbait that Elite Series pros have had great success with on places like Alabama’s Lake Guntersville and Clear Lake in California.
- Lucky John Pilot X ($8.99) – A stubby crankbait that looks like a squarebill but has a round bill to provide a tighter wobble yet still deflect off shallow cover.
- BioSpawn Vile Craw ($3.59) – This has become a popular jig trailer and flipping bait around the Midwest.
- Lunker City Slug-Go ($2.60) – The Slug-go was at one time known as a “big fish bait”, and this pack of baits is the smaller version. These are great for fishing docks and shoreline cover like you would a Senko.
Thoughts on Box #5: At first glance, this seemed like a light box, but the first impression was deceiving. There may have been fewer baits, but they were of a high quality that I appreciate. The only thing I wouldn’t use is the attractant so I’ll probably give it away. The Gunfish and Optimum swimbait are excellent, and the soft plastics are good too.
Mystery Tackle Box Review – Box #6 (July)
- Mustad Bucktail Jig ($3.49) – A white hair jig is a killer bait in the summertime when bass are chasing shad. They can be fished on ledges and points anytime you see baitfish on the fish finder.
- Lunkerhunt Prop Frog ($8.99) – A hollow body frog take of the prop style frogs that went viral recently. Lunkerhunt’s version has two prop legs and a realistic frog shape.
- Lucky John Hama Stick ($2.99) – A good looking pack of drop shot baits.
- Booyah Prank Popper ($9.99) – This popper is interesting in that it has a very small lip at the mouth, which will make the lure dive and spit at the same time. I expect this could quite effective in aggravating bass in the summer season.
- Dobyn’s D-Blade Spinnerbait ($5.99) – A 1/2 oz white spinnerbait should be a staple in any bass fisherman’s tackle box, and the Dobyn’s spinnerbait is a good one. Gold and silver willow blades are perfect for bait imitations.
- Charlie’s Incredible Craw ($3.19) – Smallsoft plastic craw baits, which should work well on small Carolina Rigs or shakey head jigs.
- Big O’s Eeliminator ($5.49) – A topwater buzz plastic bait designed by the “Rage Tail” legend Steve “Big O” Parks. Apparently, Steve is now designing baits for Gamechanger Lures, and perhaps no longer for Strike King?
Thoughts on Box #6: This is a solid summertime box, with a good selection of topwater baits, and a few shad imitators. I would use everything in this box!
Mystery Tackle Box – Box #7 (August)
- Westin Danny the Duck ($9.99) – Duck topwaters have been kind had an underground following, so it’s nice to see one in person. It’s smaller than I thought it would be, but it looks made like a hollow body frog is, with a dual hook at the back of the bait.
- Whopper Plopper 110 ($12.99) – This is the newest, smaller size of the super popular topwater plopper. Party Crasher is a great color, and I will take this bait all day long.
- Maxx Lure Crank X ($4.19) – A nice looking shad colored squarebill that should work great later this fall when the shad go shallow into the coves.
- Baker Lures BBT Popper ($5.99) – This is another bait I will use this fall when I see shad busting up against shorelines and seawalls to catch ambushing bass.
- Hard Hat Jigs Rear Loader Jig ($2.25) – I love a good swing jig for fishing almost any kind of cover, rocks, brush, ledges, and points.
- Strike King Rage Twin Tail Menace Grub ($5.99) – This will be a good trailer to pair with the swing jig.
- Big Bite Baits Swimming Jerk Minnow ($1.75) – A tiny little paddletail that I would probably fish on a small ball head jig for spotted bass.
Thoughts on Box #7: This is a solid summertime box, filled with baits i love to use around the grass and rocks where bass hang out during the dog days of summer. The Whopper Plopper is a great bait, I’ll always take one to add to my arsenal. I also like the shad colored squarebill, and the swing jig and Menace Grubs for fishing rocks.
Mystery Tackle Box – Box #8 (September)
- Dobyn’s Spinnerbait ($5.99) – This is the second Dobyn’s spinnerbait I’ve received, but they are well made so I’m cool with it.
- Seaspin Geko Jig ($6.99) – This is skirted version of a swinging jig head, and it also has a built-in swivel between the hook and head. Kind of a gimmick bait.
- Karl’s Shimmy Shake Crankbait ($5.99) – A pretty basic red craw crankbait.
- Duel Hardcore 90SP Longbill Jerkbait ($11.99) – This is an awesome looking deep jerkbait. It’s got a long bill and stubbier body than normal jerkbaits. I would definitely throw this in the fall.
- X Zone Lures Muscle Back Craw ($3.99) – A pack of solid looking craw baits for jigs.
- Bass Dynasty Dynapaddle Worm ($3.50) – A pack of worms with paddles on each end, presumably for using on a wacky rig or drop shot.
Thoughts on Box #8: This is a very mediocre box compared to the rest. I like the spinnerbait and deep jerkbait for fall bass fishing, and the X Zone craws will be great for flipping grass. Other than that not too exciting.
Mystery Tackle Box – Box #9 (October)
- Lucky John Shad Crankbait ($6.99) – A very cool looking crankbait, even though I’m unfamiliar with the brand. The color is great and the hooks look quality.
- Z-Man Original Chatterbait ($4.99) – I love me some chatterbait fishing, and you can’t go wrong with the proven original.
- Lucky Craft LC RTO ($6.99) – Lucky Craft are usually out of my price range, so it is pleasing when I find one in my box. This one is no exception, as I love fishing squarebills.
- BioSpawn VileBug ($5.99) – This is the second pack of VileCraws I’ve received, but it’s cool because they are full packs and great for jigs and texas rigs.
- Fish Hog Tackle Brush Jig ($2.99) – An average looking skipping jig.
- Stickies Offset Worm Hook ($1.99) – 3 packs of worm hooks you can use with the VileBugs.
- Samantis SamatishoT ($3.49) – Just a pack of very tiny drop shot baits.
Thoughts on Box #9: This is one of the lowest retail value boxes I’ve received so far, but it’s actually a very good box. A quality Lucky Craft crankbait, Chatterbait, and good flipping soft plastics all make me happy and eager to go fishing.
Mystery Tackle Box – Box #10 (November)
- Kitana Neko Hooks ($1.75) – The Neko Rig is one of the hottest finesse techniques of late, these hooks get you started. They can also double as a drop shot hook.
- Karl’s Stash Nail Weights ($1.29) – Nail weights are needed to complete the Neko rig.
- Coolbaits Kicker ($2.99) – A pack of small paddle tail swimbaits to pair with the underspin jig below.
- Coolbaits Down Under ($3.99) – A small, basic looking underpsin jig.
- Lunkerhunt Kraken ($3.99) – A flashy blue chrome shad lipless crankbait. This bait looks great!
- Catch Co The Hunch ($7.99) – A pretty basic looking craw imitating crankbait. At $8 it looks very overpriced.
- Xcite Baits XB-5 ($3.49) – This bait looks alright as an in-between from a Shad Rap and jerkbait. The hooks are pretty good as well.
- Karl’s Baits Hoss Craw ($5.49) – A copy of the YUM and Strike King flipping craws. Green Pumpkin Blue Swirl is a great color though.
- Strike King Rodent ($5.99) – A pack of beaver style flipping and pitching baits. Hard to go wrong with these soft plastics.
Thoughts on Box #10: This box was pretty good for an early winter box. The bait selections are on point, with some small shad style hard baits and some flipping craws.
Mystery Tackle Box – Box #11 (December)
- A ($6.99) – .
- B ($4.99) – .
- C ($6.99) – .
- D ($5.99) – .
- E ($2.99) – .
- F ($1.99) – .
- G ($3.49) – .
Thoughts on Box #11: This box…
Mystery Tackle Box – Box #12 (January)
- Bagley Flat Balsa B2 ($9.99) – This is a small balsa squarebill in an awesome chartreuse black back color scheme. I would never pay $10 for this bait but it is a good bait nonetheless.
- Westin Swim ($13.99) – This hard bait is a Tennessee Shad colored swim bait. It has great swimming action and stout hooks.
- Jenko Fishing Perseus ($9.99) – This jerkbait is a Pointer lookalike, and that’s not a bad thing. I would fish this bone colored jerkbait all winter long.
- Big Bite Baits Battle Bug ($4.99) – A pack of big, bulky creature baits. These would work great to flip along the rocky and woody cover that big bass like to hang tight to over the winter.
- Z-Man Jerk Shadz ($4.49) – The Jerk Shadz are a durable fluke style soft bait made from the proprietary “Elaztech” material. This is a very popular soft bait.
- Penetration Hooks “F” Hook ($1.99) – These hooks pair perfectly with the Jerk Shadz. The bait keeper keeps the bait pinned in place while you jerk it over cover.
Thoughts on Box #12: This box had some decent (if overpriced) hard baits and some good soft baits. MTB always seems to do a good job pairing at least one of the soft baits with a companion hook or jig so that you can fish it right out of the box.
Mystery Tackle Box Review
After a full year subscribing to MTB, I can easily say it is worth it, and it’s fun.
My boxes consistently have had a good variety of baits, selected to work best for the time of year. MTB is a good value over time, which makes it worth the price. They also make it easy to pause or change box styles whenever you need to.
I would recommend MTB Regular and MTB Pro to anglers who like to try new baits on a regular basis. It also makes a great gift for your favorite fisherman.