Get Organized....Save Money; Catch More Fish

Its wintertime and although I should be wading the flats of Baffin Bay, I find myself sticking to the mantra "Wishin' I was Fishin'". See, I have about 5 more weeks of this hell, I mean finishing my master's thesis, but until the day I can firmly say I'll never take a minute of school again. I'll continue to look at my neglected "tackle store" in the corner of my shed. Until one day I got the urge, between weekly assignments, to finally do something about my tackle "situation" and take an active approach at getting my gear organized. In doing so, I reached out to a good friend of mine, who shares my pain, mostly because he lives in the D.C. area, who through discussion turns out took that step weeks earlier. As he was sharing his success, I felt they might be good tips for him to pass along in order to help you get organized. I know I've heeded his advice and whenever the teacher clears me hot from my academic achievements, I'll be ready to sling some baits at some unsuspecting trout.

Take it away Kyle....

Any fisherman who has accumulated even the smallest amount of tackle can agree that organized tackle is easier to keep track of then an unorganized mess. Of course, the very nature of being an avid fisherman can get in the way of getting organized. We would rather be fishing, so we typically do!

For most of my fishing life, over twenty years, my tackle could usually be found in a pile in the corner of the garage or closet. It wasn’t until I moved to a more northern state, where we have a real winter and at least a few weeks of very little fishing, that I finally began to seriously organize my tackle. This is truly the biggest obstacle. The “decision” to get organized. Otherwise, there is plenty of information on the internet with all kinds of ideas on how best to organize your tackle.

First and foremost, I needed to take a step back and look at how I fish (boat, shore, kayak, or canoe), what species I fish for, and where I would be storing my tackle. This is important to deciding what kind of storage containers to purchase.

First and foremost, I needed to take a step back and look at how I fish (boat, shore, kayak, or canoe), what species I fish for, and where I would be storing my tackle. This is important to deciding what kind of storage containers to purchase.

I fish for everything, and I fish for everything 99% of the time with lures. So, I have a ton of tackle. Considering any of my fishing trips could be targeting a different species, or even several in one trip, I needed to maximize efficiency in the process of pulling specific tackle together for a specific trip. It would take an excessive amount of time to put together a hundred bags of soft plastics or hard baits one by one for a crappie and bass fishing trip.

These days, the majority of my fishing trips are out of a 16 ft JVX, Carolina Skiff. I have a decent amount of storage under the deck of my boat, and a small amount of room under my side console. I came up with a basic plan that would keep trip preparation simple from the garage to my boat and back.

I chose to organize my lures by design and purpose, and also considered the purpose of the storage bins. I kept it simple for shelf storage, choosing to go with cheap 1.5 liter storage bins with basic snap on lids. They are just sitting on a shelf in a garage, so there was no need to have a locking lid or anything heavy duty. Each lid has a description written with sharpie for easy identification. As you can see, all lures are kept in their original packaging inside these containers.

On the other hand, the storage containers underneath my deck would need to be heavier duty to handle rough water and conditions. I went with a locking lid design and heavier plastic. In these containers I keep tackle that needs to stay on the boat at all times, i.e., terminal tackle, tools, and fishing line. The terminal tackle consists of bass hooks of all kinds, weighted hooks, jigheads, shakyheads, swingheads, bullet weights, pegs, drop shot tackle, etc. I can adjust this as necessary based off seasonal type of fishing. I also have a larger locking bin that fits 3-4 tackle trays. I switch these out as needed from a pool of 10 tackle trays consisting of everything from hard baits to soft plastics not in their original bags. I also stow under the deck a few canvas lure binders with the zip lock type bags inside. These are easy to switch in an out to the boat.

Last but not least, I have a more mobile storage system consisting of a large waterproof/dry bag from Mustad. This is stored underneath my side console for easy access. Half of it holds up to 6 tackle trays, and the other half typically consists of mix and match various bags of soft plastics or any other lures I want to bring on that specific trip. It also has room for my Lowrance HD7 Chartplotter/Fish finder combo and Go Pro during transit. Additionally, this would be my tackle bag to bring if fishing on someone else’s boat.

As you can see, getting organized is a conscience decision, and it takes some planning and forethought. That said, it can also be incredibly useful. From pre trip planning to on the water supplies, simply getting organized can make sure your ready for the next trip or day on the water.

Thanks everyone...tight lines!

Kyle