Tips for winning the fight to organize tackle
Anglers have an amazing array of lures, terminal tackle and other accessories at their disposal to help them catch more fish. In fact, it’s safe to say that today’s presentational options dwarf those available just a decade or two ago. Of course, all the great tackle in the world won’t help you catch a single fish if you can’t manage your gear in a manner that engenders efficient fishing.
"Organizing your tackle is one of the biggest factors in fishing success," says veteran guide, tournament champion and freshwater expert Scott Glorvigen. "Fortunately, today’s tackle storage systems make it easier than ever to keep everything in order at every step in the process, from long-term storage in your shop or garage all the way onto the water."
The benefits of being organized begin long before your first cast. "The more organized you are, the easier it is to get ready to go fishing," says Glorvigen. "For example, if you only have a couple of hours after work to get out on the lake, you don’t want to spend all your time tracking down tackle. And if your gear is in total disarray, the task of pulling your act together can become so overwhelming, it’s easier not to go fishing at all."
Mastering the art of organization starts with the right storage systems. Not so long ago, anglers were limited to metal or hard-plastic tackle boxes, which offered trays for cradling lures. Trouble was, small boxes never held enough baits, while the large ones were heavy enough to tip a canoe. Then modular storage systems arrived, anchored by an assortment of interchangeable plastic trays called utility boxes. After more than 15 years of refinements, they’ve become remarkable allies in the fight to tame tackle.
"Utility boxes are the building blocks of organization," says Glorvigen, who favors Plano’s 3700 series StowAway boxes for much of his tackle. With a 14 x 9.13-inch footprint, the boxes are available in a variety of heights to accommodate different lures and storage needs.
By stocking utilities with specific styles of lures or other tackle, such as shallow-running minnowbaits or bottom-bouncing rigs and sinkers, it’s possible to grab only the gear you reasonably expect to use for each fishing trip. "You’re also less likely to forget something that could cost you fish," he adds.
Utility boxes have their place for protecting personal items, too," he notes. "Plano’s small, waterproof polycarbonate boxes with soft-rubber linings are perfect for protecting your cell phone, truck keys, wallet, and other valuables."
Glorvigen also tailors the size of utility boxes to where they’ll be stored in the boat. "I like to put tackle in the area where I’ll be using it," he says. "That way, I’m not running all over the boat to change lures or re-rig." For example, boxes
containing backtrolling components always find a home in the back of the boat, while bass plastics, bottom-bouncers and spinnerbait boxes go up front, since these tactics are fished from the bow. "Some compartments won’t handle a full-size utility box, so you may need to downsize," he notes.
"Also make sure the bottom two rows of boxes are water proof, to prevent water from getting in and causing rust," he says. "Typically compartments fill from the bottom up. If water’s coming in from the top, you have bigger problems than wet tackle."
IN THE BAG
Soft-sided tackle bags are another player on the storage scene. "These are great for keeping everything you need for a certain species or technique," says Glorvigen."You can keep bass tackle such as plastics, weights, jigs, spinnerbaits and hooks in a large bag, and use smaller bags for specific tactics, like dropshotting."
Soft-sides also shine when you’re going fishing in a buddy’s boat, or perhaps are headed for a club tournament as a co-angler. "You can easily pack everything you need for a day trip or tournament, such as lures, extra line and tools, into a soft-sided bag or two."
Plano’s 3700 Guide Series Bag adds another benefit to the mix. "It holds five StowAways inside, and another one on top," says Glorvigen. "Having the tray you’re working out of on top of the bag gives you quick access to the baits you need, while keeping the utility box that’s holding them from getting lost in the shuffle. It’s a convenient concept anytime, and an absolute godsend for night-fishing."
When stowing utilities and other fishing gear in a garage, shop or other tackle repository between trips, another handy organizational device comes into play, the storage trunk.
"Typically I put utility boxes in small trunks, which are easier to move around, and store bulkier gear in medium-size trunks," says Glorvigen. Plano’s 1619 Small Storage Trunk, for example, spans 24 x 15 x 13 inches, and swallows a stack of utilities. The midsize 1719, meanwhile, stretches 30 x 14.25 x 12.75 inches. It’s ideal for everything from raingear and spare lifejackets to electronics.
Besides keeping tackle in cold storage, trunks are also handy in transit. "You can pack one with bulky gear for the trip and throw it in the back of the truck, or in the boat, and it won’t blow out," he says, noting that Plano’s trunks feature tie-down points for easy fastening, and are lockable for added security.
Added together, Glorvigen’s tackle storage tips offer a solid plan for managing gear, no matter the size of your arsenal. "More organization means more opportunities to catch fish, and better experiences on the water," he adds. Which is all the more reason to marshal your tackle and make this your best season ever.