Fishing Tackle

3 Tips For Tackle Organization

I had the opportunity to go back down to Colonet this weekend.  I decided not to go.

sandbass fishingI had already committed (in my mind) to working on my storage facility.  I did manage to get in another structure bass session on Thursday aboard the New Del Mar, but I’m still compiling information for that article.  Here’s a quick pic from that session to tide you over.

Choose storage chores over fishing? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.  It’s not the kind of project you want to take on during the height of the season.  Personal circumstances forced me in this direction too.  It was just time.

The good thing about taking on this project at this particular time is that I have a pretty set process in how I prepare for a trip.  When you have a clear idea of your process, it’s easy to set things up to support that process.  That’s a great starting point.  Take a moment to think that part of it through before you get started and it will save you time later re-arranging things.

tackle tips for storage

1# Prep Area

I have a tackle backpack that I take on every boat trip.  Before this weekend, I would just put it on the floor next to the shelves that hold all the tackle trays where a majority of my fishing tackle is organized.  When I needed to prep for a trip, it involved a lot of bending and stooping to remove and replace the trays of tackle I’d use for my upcoming trip.  One of the first things I knew I wanted to do was get my bag at a better height that would be easier to see, while at the same time remove all the bending and stooping.

You can see from this picture that I put my bag on a rack at about shoulder height.  If I’m facing my bag, an easy turn to the right and I can see all the tackle trays.

The key takeaway here is put the stuff you need/use the most, in a place easy to see and access.

2#Tackle Bag Organization

I know some people use different bags for different kinds of trips.  I do that to a small extent.  I have a surf/jetty backpack that contains everything I need when I’m poking around from shore.

tackle storage

My main bag though is the tackle backpack that I previously mentioned.  In this bag, there’s room in the main compartment for 4 Plano 3500 size trays (right).  I’ve organized the trays into various types of jigs or applications.  Two of the trays that always go in the bag are one for lead weights, and one with some of my go-to jigs…a few large surface iron, some small surface iron, some large size yo-yo’s, and some smaller size yo-yos.  On any given trip, I might add or subtract a jig or two.

For the other 2 trays, those are the ones I trade out depending on the trip.  Structure bass fishing?  Put in the leadhead tray.  White seabass?  Make sure I add the one that says “Glow/White”

tackle storage bag

There’s a large zipper pocket on either side of the bag.  One side I keep a variety of fluorocarbon.  The other side has some sabikis (and can koozies).  The top storage area has a spool each of 20#, 30# and 40# mono…the most common weights of fishing line I’ll use on any given trip.  On top of the spools, I keep a zippered tackle binder that has my hooks organized by size and type of hook (left).  I should probably replace that binder soon, but it still gets the job done.

I’ve used this organization system for my trip tackle bag for years now.

Once I went to this system, the times I was on a boat and didn’t have what I needed dropped dramatically.

3# Final Notes

Make sure and leave some open workspace.  I spent a lot of time sorting this weekend.  Sorting is an ongoing task.  It’s good to have some larger storage boxes and some smaller trays to sort and organize stuff.  It’s OK to have a box labeled “ (blank) to sort”.  When you have a little time, do some sorting.  I like to wash off jigs I’ve used after a trip, so it’s good to have some space for them to dry.

If you have everything tightly packed away with no room to work on it, it’s almost as bad as not being organized at all.

It will be too hard to access stuff and it will stay in the garage…either because you forgot about it, or it was too hard to get to.  Labeling is key.  I just use blue painters tape and a sharpie.  You can be fancier, but this cheap and easy solution gets the job done.  Use see-through containers for everything!

This article wasn’t meant to be a definitive piece on tackle organization.  The more kinds of fishing you do, the more complex the task can be.  Hopefully, I gave you some helpful ideas.  Please comment and share your favorite tackle organization tips.

Good luck if you get out there!

Joe Sarmiento
Joe Sarmiento is the founder and primary writer of the So Cal Salty blog. The blog covers saltwater fishing, primarily aboard the many sportfishing b...