Tackle Management...

Keeping It Simple

By Rob Meusec 2016

All these lures! Bucktails, jerk baits, crank baits, surface baits, spinnerbaits, jigs, soft plastics, sucker rigs, leaders, rain gear, tools...How do I organize all this stuff ?

If you are like me, I’ve asked myself that same question about a thousand times. Quite frankly, it’s a very difficult situation.

If you have your own boat with an unlimited amount of cubbies to stow away your stuff, this might not seem to be a problem. I have had the opportunity to fish with a lot of folks that have big rigs with storage cavities just about everywhere in their boat. They carry every lure they own. They have big boxes, small boxes, buckets, bags, lure tubes, hanging racks and just about every possible combination imaginable. If you own a boat and have the convenience of space, consider yourself lucky. You can go out on the water with everything you own and be prepared for any situation that may come up, assuming you can remember where everything is.

Not all of us fall into that category. What about the guy who rents a boat for a week from a resort and wants to fish seriously for his beloved Musky ? How does he go about storing what he needs to get the job done ? A 14 foot resort boat doesn’t have cubbies, hanging racks or any built-ins at all ! We definitely have a problem here. I would like to make an assumption here. We can’t use all our baits at the same time. You know what I mean. You’re a Musky fisherman. You’re intelligent. You know that certain baits are used at certain times. You have a plan for the day. You know that fishing weedbeds in the early morning is a good call on the particular lake you are on. As the day progresses if the sun is high you move to the weedline. My point is, you only need the baits that fit your plan on a given part of the day.

Since you can’t take it all with you, what do you do ? The best method of organizing is breaking your gear down to manageable numbers with a specific goal in mind. Let me illustrate this point. About six years ago I fished with a guy named Ben. We rented a 12 foot resort boat and went Musky fishing for about 4 hours. I lugged my big bait box into the boat along with a couple of small duffels just loaded with all my baits. I was ready for anything. Ben got into the boat with a small mini-box and two rods. I thought to my self that this guy isn’t prepared.

Getting to our first spot, he opened his mini-box and this is what I saw. 2-bucktails, 2-surface baits, 2-crank baits and 2-jerk baits. He had a light and dark color of each. I want you to know that he outfished me that day and the reason was his system was simple. He took what he needed for the amount of time and conditions he was fishing. His baits were in the water. When we got back to the landing, he opened the back of his pickup and there I saw two huge boxes crammed with Musky baits of every size, color and style. This little adventure taught me a valuable lesson.

Master Lure Stash For those of us that don’t have the luxury of having a boat that will hold everything we own, we need to keep it simple. Take what you need to fish the conditions you are faced with. We can’t use all our baits at the same time ! I have experimented this year with a new tackle management system that was quite effective for the type of fishing I do. The sytem begins with every bait you own. That’s right-everything. Keep these baits in any type of container you care to. I call this my Master Stash. For this I have been using 4 double sided old Plano boxes. I keep these in my trunk whenever I head out to my lake of choice.
Now to simplify the system. I picked up a Plano upright and took out all the vertical dividers. Then I add 4-Plano 3700 boxes or a similar box and a small leader box all in the upright postion and label each box. I now have 5 boxes with adequate storage for the lures I am going to use for a certain day or part of day plus enough space for the mandatory tool kit, raingear, leaders and other essentials. If conditions change, I go back to my master stash and exchange baits as needed. Everything I need for a given situation in one box that also doubles as a seat or footrest or whatever. It’s clean, neat and only one piece to carry. By the way, I’m not endorsing any particular product. Any good commercial product will serve the same purpose. System Overview
System Close Up If you are the type of fisherman that travels a lot and doesn’t have the luxury of your own fancy rig, this system can help you be more effective in your pursuits. So far this year it has worked well for me. I demand a clean boat and this management system allows me to keep things that way. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know. I’m always searching for a better system.

The picture below shows the tackle and boat bag boxes for two anglers in an 18 foot Tuffy.