How-to: Organize Your Tackle
By Joe Balog courtesy of Plano Fishing
During the winter months, it may seem easy to pile all of your open-water fishing gear into a corner of the garage until it’s needed again. But organized tackle storage is one of the most critical aspects of successful fishing. The off-season presents the perfect time to go through gear, take inventory, and replace stock before spring.
My tackle storage system is modeled after what I’ve seen professional bass anglers do for decades. Here are the secrets.
The Foundation of Smart Tackle Storage
- “House” boxes are labeled on each end and stacked in a sizeable cabinet.
- Plano 3700 Stowaways function as the primary building block. Much like a mechanic packing a kit full of items from his cabinet, bulk lures are kept in a home base and then individually chosen based on the job at hand.
- Most items are housed in a standard 3700, including hard baits – cranks, jerkbaits, and topwaters.
- Big, lipped baits and magnum swimmers occupy the Prolatch Deep version, where dozens of baits to be stored together.
- Jigheads and sinkers go in the Prolatch thin.
- All of these boxes are labeled on each end and stacked in a large shelved cabinet. With each category of lures divided into a unique box, it’s easy to grab just those plugs necessary for each trip, toss them in a “day box,” and head out.
Don’t forget. It’s equally important to return the lures to the master collection. Go through each bait, snip off excess line, and sharpen or change hooks where needed. The “house” boxes should always have lures in top condition and ready to go.
Storing Soft Baits
Hard baits and plugs are just the tip of the iceberg in an avid angler’s arsenal. Often, soft plastics take up the bulk of the storage concerns – and present unique issues.
I’ve never been a fan of removing soft baits from their original manufacturer’s bags, as they occupy too much space in a tacklebox. Instead, it’s best to keep plastics in the package and store those packages in bulk. I group similar baits – for example, Zoom Finesse Worms; Dark Colors – and place a bunch of bags in a big Ziploc; then a bunch of Ziplocs in a tub. Tubs are then labeled – Flippin’ Baits, Craws, Buzz Frogs, making it easy to find a particular bag of any soft plastic bait. Grab what’s needed for the day, and pack up a zippered Speedbag to toss in the boat. At the end of a fishing trip or season, unpack in reverse, and order additional packs of baits once a Ziploc is nearly empty.
Other Tackle Storage Tips
There are a few other must-haves as you organize your tackle:
- Hanging boxes for spinnerbaits – the very best way to keep skirts fluffy
- Sportsman’s trunks for lifejackets and boat gear
- Waterproof case for scissors, pliers, and scale
The next time out, it’s quick and easy to repack the boat, complete with a well-stocked tackle compartment.
Fishing is complicated. Help yourself out with a formulated plan for success. Staying organized in the boat starts with a disciplined approach at home, one that requires a little attention during the off-season. Take the time and reap the benefits – before the rest of the world catches up with you.