October 01, 2022
By Capt. Ross Robertson
The more we fish, the more stuff we tend to accumulate. Most of us don’t need to be reminded that gear is expensive and can be easily ruined when not stored properly. But not being able to find what you know you have somewhere comes in a close second. The best professional anglers and guides typically have there gear more organized than most for these reasons. Here are five ways to store popular gear so its easily found and in tip-top shape when you need it.
1. Rods—I don’t think I know an angler who hasn’t broken a rod. It’s also safe to say most rods aren’t even broken in the boat or during the act of fishing. Having a good way to store them when not in use will help protect your investment. Dubro Fishing Trac-A Rod system is amazing because it is so versatile. The Trac-A-Rod system can be mounted under a boat’s hard top, on your garage ceiling or wall and I’ve even mounted them in my enclosed trailer for ice fishing. The system allows you to add or remove rod holders in the track system to fit different sized reels or add-on as new gear is purchased. In the case of my enclosed trailer, it’s nice to be able to remove the mounts allowing the track to be flush when using the trailer for moving, working or hunting where it could be broken or in the way.
2. Leaders—If you have ever purchased a leader or rig you know that before you even have a chance to use them they often become completely tangled to the point of needing to be cut. Unlike most of the other systems anglers use the solution is surprisingly simple. The use of a swim noodle is an ideal tool for leader storage for anglers, but most don’t use it to the fullest potential. Cut the noodle to the desired length and then make a mark every half inch. Then use an adjustable razor knife with the blade extended approximately a quarter inch to cut groves completely around the noodle on each half inch mark. These grooves not only help provide a specific area for each leader but they act as a grip to secure the line in it without using anything else such as pins or tape to secure the rigs.
3. Soft Plastics—Regardless of what species you fish for, soft plastics can play a role at some point. Storage has always been a problem for plastics because they either take up a lot of room or they can be hard to locate. For years anglers have put handfuls of the manufacture’s bags of soft plastics into a freezer bag, which works to a point, but is hardly organized and difficult to find once not in the boat.
The Lakewood Billfold was designed to hold soft plastics in a file type system to be able to better organize them while in the boat or when sitting on a shelf in your garage. The mesh bag material won’t hold water, it’s light and the has a divider to keep bags organized and upright. Bass anglers or anyone that fishes swimbaits know that the plastic blister packs are difficult to keep organized and the Billfold will hold pretty much every walleye or bass size bait on the market. A clear plastic sleeve is sewed onto it in order to label the bags contents for quick reference in or out of the boat.
4. Jigging Raps & Spoons—Glide baits, Jigging Raps or whatever you call them, flat-out catch fish, but they can be a flat-out pain to store as well. If the fins aren’t breaking off the paint tends to end up as a pile of dust. The Lakewood Vault was designed specifically to eliminate these problems. The Vault has the same footprint of a standard 3700 utility box so it will fit into boat compartments or soft-sided bags you already own, yet store more than 80 lures without tangling in this small platform. The innovative hanging dividers keep lures organized and in place. A unique mesh bottom helps drain any moisture and keep lures from rusting, while the ABS frame is strong enough to be stepped on.
The popularity of the original vault created demand for two new sizes. The smaller version is great for smaller-sized Jigging Raps or small ice spoons, whereas the larger size holds bigger baits and also works very well for storing expensive jerkbaits, spy baits or larger spoons.
5. Small Gear and Short Leaders—Small gear seems to easily get mixed up and can be as easy as finding that one color you want in a candy jar. Small flies, ice jigs or even hooks are a good example. The same could be said for short leaders, stinger hooks or dropper chain rigs. The Lakewood Lure Wallet is designed almost like a book to hold these types of items in a soft but durable self-repairing foam pages. The pages are separated by a thick clear plastic sheet to keep lures from being tangled together. The book Velcro’s together for easy opening and closure and features a label holder to easily identify its contents at a glance. Available in three sizes, the smallest easily fits in a jacket pocket while the larger two sizes have the same footprint as a 3600 and 3700 utility box to better integrate in your boat or soft-sided bags.
Storage isn’t cool, sexy or maybe something you even think about until you can’t find gear you need, or realize what you have has been ruined. Like the old saying goes: “take care of your gear and it will take care of you.”
Let us know how you store your gear and some DIY hacks to more easily handle your fishing equipment.
Capt. Ross Robertson