Mon 05 April 10

 

Matchbox Tackle has been at the helm of seat box development and innovation for the best part of 2 decades. From classics like the original front drawer style Team England Boxes, which were the must have seat boxes of the late 90’s. They then released the Pyramid systems which offering storage options and configurations that had never been available in a seat box before and this soon became the seat box chosen by thousands of club and match anglers nationwide.

Over the past decade an influx of European based tackle companies have seen the benefits of selling there brand to the British angler who were looking for something just that little bit different in the seat box department. Add to this the now numerous British companies who were saturating the market with seat boxes and accessories that were being imported from China, and you have a flooded market that would see Matchbox Tackle lose favour with the British match angler.

Not being a man to settle for second best, Matchbox Tackle MD Jim Burton realised that the Matchbox seat box needed a major facelift. So in 2008 they released the very impressive S Class Range of seat boxes, which although very similar to the Pyramid system, the S Class seat boxes had more storage space and greater stability which many anglers favoured. With the introduction of the all new folding footplate system and new extra’s, Matchbox was right back on track.

Over the past couple of years Jim realised there was a huge market for a range of seat boxes that were good quality and available at an affordable price. They also realised that many anglers were going back to round legged boxes but now preferring a larger 25mm diameter. To take the leg development a stage further, Matchbox looked at the flaws in many other round legged seat boxes that were already available and found out how to and corrected these errors, the SX Range was born.

With retail sales rising and the product demand being at an all-time high, Matchbox Tackle have now decided to fight dirty and release a range of superb seat boxes that compare to the very best available – yet amazingly sell for under half the price of there biggest competitors, introducing the E class range of seat box’s. Matchbox Tackle now have a product that will simply out class and out perform many products of a far greater retail value that are currently available.

UKMA have been given the task of writing the first on the bank review on the all new for 2010 E Class EC3 Seatbox System. Read on as we review what turned out to be the best sub £500 seat box I have seen in years.

Main image

Vital Statistics
The E Class Seatbox EC3…………RRP £365.00
Footplate……………………………..RRP £ 45.00
Wheel kit System…………………… RRP £ 80.00
Package Price……………………… RRP £495.00

Box Stats
Height……………………………………590mm
Width……………………………………. 630mm
Depth…………………………………….430mm
Depth with footplate extended…………850mm
Weight un-loaded inc Footplate……….33lb (15.0kg)
Weight fully loaded inc Footplate………47lb (21.3kg)

The E Class EC3 is built around a frame structure that is manufactured from solid 16 Gauge, 38mm x 32mm aluminium box section. The main carcass of the box and all drawers are crafted from 9mm Marine Ply and are assembled using very strong and reliable Box Joints. Once assembled these components are spray coated 4 times to produce a perfect mottled effect semi-matt finish which is 100% waterproof and is proven to last for years.

The carcass is attached to the frame work by using two stainless steel variable length sliding pin hinges and two Stainless Toggle & Clip catches. Attached to the under side of the main frame you have the 300mm (6inch) Fibreglass Base Unit that is attached using the same stainless hinges and catches that are used on the carcass. With all the hinges and the catches fastened securely, there is no movement what so ever between the main carcass, base unit and the frame system, which is exceptional.

The seat unit is made from high pressured foam that is covered in a black vinyl and finished off with a hard wearing machined vinyl edging trim. One major features of the E Class 3’s is the ample 440mm x 440mm seat. We found that no matter what angle I sat on this huge well padded seat, there will be more than ample support for your lower back. I’m far from being slimmer of the year, yet I found that my five hours on the EC3 seat box was incredibly comfortable.

This spacious tackle storage system also comes supplied with a machined waterproof seat and box cover and a well padded fully adjustable shoulder strap. The strap is connected to the box by two straps that are attached to inside of the main frame either side of the carcass. Each of the straps house a stainless steel ring which enables the carabiner on either end of the shoulder strap to attach to the box securely, making the movement of this hefty piece of kit that little bit easier.

Storage options

Storage Dimensions
Under-seat Large x 2……………………. H 30mm x L 270mm x W 200mm
Under-seat Small x 2……………………. H 30mm x L 130mm x W 200mm
Front Drawer………………………………..H 30mm x L 380mm x W 230mm
Cross Drawers x 2………………………………..H 35mm x L 420mm x W 130mm
Cross Drawers Sliding Tray………………….H 20mm x L 210mm x W 130mm
Base Unit External…………………………………H 150mm x L 430mm x D 300mm

Rig Winders Supplied
Rig Winders (Orange)………………………QTY 18 size 270mm x 20mm
Rig Winders (Sky Blue)…………………….QTY 13 size 180mm x 18mm
Rig Winders (Lavender)……………………QTY 18 size 180mm x 10mm

The storage options offered by the Matchbox Tackle EC3 are more than adequate even for the tartiest of anglers out there. Under the seat you have two large partitioned areas which house the 49 assorted side attachment rig winders that are supplied with the box as standard. There are two further compartments that even though much smaller they are ideally suited for the storage of small to medium feeders, small tackle boxes and numerous configurations of small tackle items.

The front drawer is ideal for all your hooks, hook length materials, rig line and various other useful items that should be at hand all of the time. This very generous storage space is located dead centre of the front face of the EC3’s carcass and is retained by a 4 inch long stainless steel pin at the rear right of the under seat small storage area. This pin and all others must be in place before moving the box about or you risk potential tackle spillage or even worse, lost tackle.
The two side cross drawers come supplied with removable sliding accessory trays which hold bait punches, disgorgers, scissors and small terminal tackle items like shot and swivels all nice and tidy. These trays sit on the internal ledges of the drawer and leaves ample space for floats and anything low profile enough to allow the insert tray to be moved back and forth without any restriction or damage to tackle items that are being stored inside the drawer.

To complete the storage system you have the huge fibreglass base unit which is ideal for storing items like reels, spools, catapults, float tubes, rod rest heads and towels. Basically any tackle items that will fit inside that needs solid encapsulation, then store it in here. The base can be removed and extra storage trays can be added from the S Class add on range of accessories to make even more storage space possible, not that I think you’ll need it.

image with side-tray attached

Leg & Footplate Dimensions Round Leg diameter……………………..25mm x 20mm Length (Standard)……………………….. 510mm Length (Fully Extended)………………… 850mm Footplate Dimensions………………….. W 730mm x D 420mm

As with many features on this state of the art seat box, the footplate system has also gone through a thorough over haul as well. Firstly it is now made from 16 gauge box section which makes it much more stable. Instead of being fully adjustable like previous footplate it is now riveted in position to make it even stronger. The icing on the cake is the addition of two 20mm punched holes that have 6mm hand wheels fitted to secure bank sticks for keep nets etc, to the front of the footplate.

The footplate is fitted into place by what I personally call “The lift and slide system”; Simply fully undo the two retaining hand wheels, take hold of the footplate legs, lift and rotate away from the box. Once the footplate is level with the side brackets, push towards the box until it is in place. Now simply rotate the hand wheels until the 6mm bolts are secured in the locking holes situated on the side of the footplate, this may take a little bit of adjustment but you will find it easier the more you do it.

Because the Matchbox Tackle E Class EC3 has such a large foot print it make the overall stability of this top quality seat box system second to none. Each of the four legs attached to the main frame and the two additional legs attached to the footplate are manufactured from 14 gauge aluminium tubing that forms the cylindrical external walls. A 10 gauge square Aluminium box section is used to produce the internal extensions. To finish off the legs, moulded plastic mud feet are fitted via a pivoting ball joint at the end of the square internal extension, which allows the mud feet to rotate freely.

To make the structure even more stable, Matchbox now supply a pair of side brackets that give extra stability by eliminating any movement from the front to the rear of the box above and below the main frame. By using 30mm x 30mm box section, not only are the legs held in place perfectly but these brackets also enable the angler to attach a side Footplate or the wheels for the brand new wheel kit which makes the new side brackets – a multi functional accessory that greatly improves the optional performance of the EC3.

When preparing to level your seat box always set the footplate and seat to the required high that you find most comfortable. Once you have set it up to your personal requirements all adjustments should be made by adjusting the internal leg extensions and never by adjusting the external. Simply place your seat box on the platform or bank you are going to fish, then from the rear of the box loosen of the hand wheels and then tighten once you are satisfied that the rear of the box is level, repeat this process until the box and footplate are totally level.

Detailed strip

TOP FEATURE
All hand Wheels that come into contact with the legs have now been fitted with a non-marking tensioning system which is manufactured from aluminium rather than plastic. This enables you to tighten the leg adjustments securely without any fear of the legs slipping, which is common fault on many plastic non-marking systems found on other box leg systems. I know this new Matchbox Tackle system works perfectly because I weigh 18 stone and I couldn’t make them slip out of position.

The Mega Side Tray If you buy the EC3 as the full system you get the Mega Side Tray as standard. The Mega Side Tray has the new non-marking plastic grip lock attachments to securely fix this 660mm x 430mm monster of a side tray to your boxes side legs, giving you enough room for all the bait and bits and pieces you’ll need for a match or full days bagging. The Mega Side Tray folds in half and will comfortably fit in the outer pocket of most manufacturers large carryalls without any problems.

The Wheel Kit
A lot of thought has gone into the design of this very simple to fit wheel kit. The kit consists of 2 × 16 inch pneumatic wheels with fitted box section brackets, 2 x stabilising brackets and 2 x handles. To install you simply attach the 2 stabilising bars to the front leg of the box and the leg of the footplate, making sure that the stabiliser touches the frame of the box. Then undo the top fly wheel on the side bracket and fit the wheel, making sure the hand wheel is tightened securely. Repeat this again to attach the second wheel.

Now extend one of the legs on the footplate to balance out the box whilst you attach each handle to on of the front legs on the footplate. Once this is repeated and both handles are fitted, making sure everything has been totally tightened. You now have a trolley system that can comfortably carry a large carryall and your stink bag on the footplate and still have room for a rod holdall to be strapped on over the top. Even when fully loaded, because the wheels are located in the perfect point of balance, it feels like your pushing a pram rather than 55 kg of fishing tackle and bait.

Wheel kit fitted

Final Thoughts

I have used and seen numerous different seat boxes over the years and to be totally honest nothing has ever really blown me away before now. The Matchbox Tackle E Class EC3 is without question the best all round seat box I have personally seen in the UK. Compared to many boxes of the same size, it is much lighter and far more stable. The EC3 has endless extra storage options that are much more versatile and far cheaper than its other leading competitor’s options.

Was the E Class EC3 the perfect seat box, I’d be lying if I said yes. I did find a one real annoying things, there is no strap to prevent the carcass from flipping right over when you lift it to gain access to your base unit, so after a phone call to Jim B, he informed me that my box was a first edition and all other boxes now available do have a retaining strap fitted from the frame to the carcass. So with that problem now well and truly sorted I can now say “for less than £500, this has got to be the best all round seat box system available in the UK”.

 

Visit the Website: http://www.matchboxtackle.eu/

 

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