Power tools, jumper cables, cleaning supplies, planer boards, crankbaits–thousands of crankbaits. If you’ve got ‘em going on a road show, a far greater lode than would ever fit or belong on a walleye boat, what are you going to do with ‘em?
Say hello to Keith Kavajecz’s little friend. In the bed of the venerable In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) pro’s pickup truck is an inexpensive, handy, homemade storage system that costs far less than a Ben Franklin; segregates cranks from crawler rigs, spare oil jugs from safety flares; and can be constructed in a day’s work.
For Kavajecz, the inspiration was a similar creation that erstwhile PWT pro Will Lage had built for the back of his own truck. Kavajecz also thought the design, one that could be modified according to his storage needs, preferable to an expensive metal divider system available in the marketplace. “The main thing was that it didn’t cost a lot, and could be built to the size you want,” Kavajecz says.
Building it the size he wanted, former PWT pro Eric Naig, now a manager at Pure Fishing, borrowed designs from Kavajecz and adjusted them for a 4 x 4-foot storage compartment, with drawers, to fit the back of a Suburban, which, to Naig, is much more convenient than an unruly pile file.
“It’s handy, especially for keeping my tools, because otherwise I always had something I wanted to get at, and it would be buried,” Naig says.
MAKING THE BED
In Kavajecz’s scheme of things, devised for a 6-foot truck bed standard with an extended cab pickup, twin drawers slide on skis for easy access to their farthest reaches. The base, side supports and top of the cabinet, as noted in the accompanying diagram, are of 3/4-inch plywood for durability and the ability to support weight–say, a spare trolling motor or duffels with a week’s worth of clothing. The entirety of the system is, of course, enclosed in a lockable topper.
To organize thousands of crankbaits, Kavajecz depends on a system for both bed and boat. Inside the compartment’s drawers, 1/4-inch hard board dividers make for adjustable storage cubbies that, with Kavajecz’s overall dimensions, allow for stacking Plano 3600 boxes on their sides or to place slightly larger Plano 3700 boxes flat on top of each other. And while the clear tackle trays can be inscribed with permanent marker–say, #5 Shad Raps–Kavajecz prefers to save a crankbait’s original packaging and store three or four lures in each, then toss the boxes in the drawers by category: shadbaits, minnowbaits. On the boat, Kavajecz carries boxes with a representative mix of what’s in the back of his truck.
“Obviously, you can’t carry all your crankbaits on the boat, and I try to put together a variety of crankbaits with three or four key colors,” Kavajecz says. “I want to carry as many as I can, and I try to be as efficient as possible.”
When a certain bait produces in practice, Kavajecz will retire it until the tournament–sometimes a particular lure has a magic action. By retiring it, Kavajecz keeps from losing it before game day and is forced to experiment with different colors or crankbaits with varying actions. Bonus: With a huge supply in the back of the truck, Kavajecz doesn’t have to fret about finding lures locally or having them shipped by overnight courier.
Additionally, the versatility of the system delivers with every season. For instance, Kavajecz says he has fashioned drawers devoted to cold-water crankbaits, and can slide them in and out depending on time of year. Fishing drawers, meanwhile, slide out in favor of separate drawers that accommodate firearms and ammunition for hunting.
Goodbye, anarchy. Hello, storage solutions. What better way to keep tackle and tools organized for bed, boat, and beyond?