Maybe everyone is tired of hearing me preach about tackle organization in fishing, but I’m going to keep on because the simple truth is that it works to help you maximize opportunities. (Translated – Catch More Fish!)
I’m not selling it, it’s just something I believe in and practice myself.
I will admit that I’ve come to realize it’s harder to keep all tackle organized when it is not your full-time job. The many years I spent as a charter and private boat captain, I was able to focus on tackle and getting it as dialed in as I could make it. Now that I’m trying to steal the time for tackle organization away from life’s crazy schedule, I understand why many angler’s tackle is “less than neat”.
However, I do steal away that time to get tackle set up in a way to increase my efficiency when I finally make it to the water because I know it makes a big difference.
The first step in setting up a tackle system for any type of fishing is to keep the tackle that your organizing in peak condition. This means all hooks are sharpened before you take them fishing. Now a days, hook companies have greatly improved hook sharpness out of the package and there are plenty that I agree, do not need touching up before fishing. But still many hooks on lures and otherwise could use a quick touch up with a file or stone. I then like to coat the raw metal with a permanent marker to slow down rust and color code for sharpness.
Now setting up your tackle is a very personal undertaking with many variations. You can group it by types of lures, like topwater, divers, soft plastics and so on, or you might put together a box for a certain species. Say for example you have a saltwater bass box, with a variety of lures or tackle that you might use during a day focused on that species.
There is no end to how one might set up your own tackle system.
With an endless number of fisheries available, we are lucky to have companies whose sole purpose is to help us get organized and maintain our tackle investments. Take Plano for example, I’ve been using Plano storage boxes in a variety of styles for as long as I can remember. Though my wife would say “that’s only a week”, it’s been a long time. They build quite the array of storage trays that can be customized to fit your tackle and style of fishing. Plano has waterproof boxes, deep and shallow ones, big and little ones, and now boxes filled with holes so you can flush water right through the entire contents.
Once you’ve decided how you want to divide up your tackle in the boxes, labeling them is the next step in getting organized. You can use a label maker or just write on them with a permanent marker. Label them on the part of the box that will be exposed know matter how you store the boxes. This way you will know which box to grab quickly when you need a certain piece of tackle for a situation. Another tip that pays off is to “tack” down the dividers once you like your set up so that they don’t let your tackle “leak” into other compartments.
This of course leads to the next step, having an organized way to store, stack or rack the Plano boxes in a tackle bag, backpack or storage compartment on your boat. Plano has been working for years to design user-friendly tackle systems and boxes for just this purpose. Whether you’re a hardcore offshore fisherman, bass fisherman or weekend angler, they have designed a tackle set up that works well for any situation. Even kayak anglers are enjoying tackle systems like the V-Crate, designed with them in mind. Plano has several new tackle storage set ups just for the tight, wet quarters of kayaks.
One other tactic I use in saltwater is to utilize what I call the “quickie” box for my most frequently used tackle. This box houses the items I might need throughout a normal day of fishing and has one or two of the most commonly needed items for a sudden fishing encounter. That means it has the most commonly used hooks in a variety of “normal sizes”, assorted swivels, a topwater plug or two, and jigs for sudden fish encounters.
The logic behind the “quickie” box is two-fold. First is the obvious fact that it puts tackle you might need quickly or repeatedly in a spot where you can get to it easily; like under the leaning post seat, or even on the dash. If I find myself surrounded by dolphin suddenly, I have plenty of spare hooks to get me through a bailing session.
Salt is the enemy and all of our efforts only slow the clock of decay!
The second and less apparent reason for a separate box of tackle is the salt factor. Salt is the enemy of all tackle and each time a box is opened in the spray or the heat of battle, it is exposed to this corrosive element. Salty, wet fingers reaching in for another hook are just as bad and can rust the other hooks that get touched. By the virtue of having a limited version of your tackle stockpile, you only expose a small portion of your tackle to the salt versus having your entire stockpile of tackle begin to rust before you can use it up. When the “quickie” box is low on an item, you can more carefully refill it from your main storage supply that is tucked away nice and dry.
I also like to have a selection of leader material handy, labeled and organized. Plano has you covered there too. They have such a wide array of products to make it easy to be organized and efficient.
As we have all experienced, a fish encounter only lasts a short time. You are either ready to cash in on it or your left telling a story about the one who swam away while you were getting ready. This is just one of the many ways that staying organized with your tackle system will make you a better angler and more consistent in your success( Translated- Catch More Fish).
Check out many more fishing tips from Capt. Scott’s Offshore Academy.