January 18, 2022
When you examine people who are really good at what they do, they always seem to be extremely organized. I realize we can all reference that “one guy” we all know who is a hot mess but still amazing at what he does, but don’t let that guy mislead you—there’s organization to his mess.
Being organized saves a lot of time, which translates to more time fishing and less time searching or untangling. Another added benefit of today’s countless storage solutions is that they protect our expensive gear much better than options from yesteryear. Here are some effective examples of how to best store your extensive tackle collection.
Glide Baits—Glide baits or horizontal jigging lures such as Rapala Jigging Raps, Clam Tikka Minnows, Northland Puppet or Moonshine Shiver Minnows have been hot lately. I say lately, but those in the know have been using them for years. The problem is that lures in this category are difficult to store and prone to damage with their plastic tail fins. We can all relate to excessive wear on the finishes from lures that are just left to roll around in a bulk compartment. The Lakewood Products Lure Vault was designed specifically to hang glide baits in place without bumping against each other and create excessive wear and tear. A patent-pending hanging hook design keeps the baits in place during long boat or snowmobile rides. The boxes are designed to fit into boat compartments or soft-side bags that are designed for the 3700 size utility boxes.
1. Bulk Utility Box Storage—if I’m being honest, I’m not a big fan of plastic utility boxes, they break easily in the cold and the price has been steadily increasing over the years. In reality, they are a solid storage option for many different types of lures, and most of us own enough of them that they aren’t going away anytime soon. In my Ranger boat compartments are designed to perfectly hold 3700-size boxes, but this requires you to have the compartment full of the boxes to prevent them from crashing around.
Additionally, I seem to always break a few each year trying to move them in and out of the boat or falling off of a shelf. Lakewood Products has designed the Money Bag which will perfectly hold eight 3700-size utility boxes. Another added benefit from the aforementioned is that you can turn it on it’s side, on a garage shelf allowing you to get one box out easier that having to lift a bunch of boxes that would be traditionally stacked on top of each other. The heavy-duty mesh bags don’t hold water and can also be used for a multitude of other boat items.
2. Leaders/Crawler Harness—Fishing line tangles, period! While there are many different commercially made options to store leaders or rigs, I’ve found none better than a $1 swimming noodle with some added yet slight modifications. Cut a swim noodle to the length you are looking for and make a mark every half inch. Then simply use a box cutter to cut a shallow groove all the way around the noodle, creating a groove each half inch. This creates a channel for the line to sit in. When wound up, simply place the hooks or terminal into the foam to secure it. Sometimes the simplest solutions are also the easiest and most economical.
3. Crankbait Storage— If you cast or troll crankbaits, chances are you own way more than what your wife thinks you do, (don’t worry, I’ll keep your secret). I store a lot of the cranks I don’t use a lot in utility boxes inside my boat compartments by brand. The ones that I do use a lot I want accessible and not all tangled together. The Lakewood Lure Locker is a large hanging bait box that holds well over one hundred crankbaits with a relatively small footprint.
The Lure Caddy is a smaller version of the Lure Locker and I find it very effective as a “working box.” Having this low-profile box out on my deck allows me to have all of the lures I’m using out and ready, but not caught in the carpet, or worse yet, someone’s rear. This style of box allows the lures to dry and not get rusty after putting them in airtight boxes.
4. Spinner Blades—Anyone that has used spinner blades can tell you that they aren’t getting any cheaper and locating the right size and color in a big box can be a drawn-out affair. I like to use the combination of a Northland Tackle Yellow Tackle Box and some small plastic bags. This 3600-size utility box has fixed compartments and is thinner than most utility boxes. This help to keep from jamming too many items into an individual compartment—and then losing track of everything. In order to keep the finishes on the blades in showroom-like condition and better organized by size and color, I like to keep the blades in small craft bags. This simple but effective storage solution can be accomplished in a small platform at a budget price.
5. Catch All—The Lakewood Lure wallet was originally designed for ice fishing but works great all year long. The foam binder resembles a wallet, hence its name. Available in three sizes, the medium has the footprint of a 3600-utility box and the large of a 3700. The small size was designed to fit into a jacket pocket making it super convenient. Much like the Lure Caddy, the Lure Wallet makes a great working box to keep miscellaneous items organized and not laying all over your boat or ice shack. Simply press the hooks into the foam to secure each bait and a clear plastic sheet separates the pages to keep tackle from tangling. The foam can be written on to help identify lure weight and hook size. This is also a great option for stinger hooks or pre-rigged baits like a swimbait.
6. Terminal Tackle—Much like a screw that always manages to find its way into a tire, small terminal tackle items such as swivels, hooks and snaps always seem to disappear into the carpet or bilge of a boat never be seen again. Walleye pro Joe Okada demonstrated to me that two magnets can nearly eliminate this problem. Around your console or anywhere you have access to behind a panel, place a magnet on each side of the panel. The magnets will hold themselves in place and provide a small area to hold loose terminal tackle for quick access.
Some storage solutions are simpler than others, but the need to organize and protect your expensive gear is a must.