March 31, 2021
By Todd Ceisner
Brent Chapman walked into his home office and shuddered at the sight of the piles of items on the desk. He said that it could be more organized.
“Quit saying it’s a mess,” Chapman’s wife, Bobbi, said in response. “I know where everything is.”
To which Brent responded, “Hey, whatever works.”
The same can be said for anglers and their tackle organization. What qualifies as organized for one may not pass muster for another. In Chapman’s case, his livelihood depends, to some degree, on his organization skills. The veteran pro bass angler, who currently competes on the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour, can’t afford to waste time shuffling through compartments in his boat during a competition day. Time spent searching for a bait or a certain size hook or weight is time not spent casting.
“When it comes to time on the water, the more organized I am the more casts I’m making,” Chapman said. “If a guy is digging for a bait he’s losing time on the water.”
Tackle organization is much like a person’s signature or fingerprint – every angler’s is different. In his case, possessing mounds of tackle in all colors, sizes and shapes is part of the gig in his profession. Keeping everything sorted and straight takes thought, time and effort, especially during the season when he spends weeks at a time on the road.
Early in his career, Chapman said he used to overpack for tournaments – by a lot.
“When I first started, I took so much it wasn’t even funny. If we were going to Lake St. Clair and the tube bite was on, I’d bring 100-count bags of 10 to 15 colors of tubes,” he said. “Then I found that I liked this color or that color and I eventually learned I didn’t have to bring it all. The longer I’ve been doing this, the less stuff I’m taking.”
Now, he approaches tackle management from a couple different angles. There’s the time before he departs for a lengthy trip. That involves packing his truck and boat with what he feels will be the essentials. That typically means a broader variety of baits depending on seasonal patterns or past experience.
Once he arrives at a tournament venue and the practice session gets going, he begins to narrow his options down. The goal is to build what he calls a “day box” that will house the bulk of his go-to hooks, weights, hard baits and other necessities. It’s a routine he’s gotten into over the past 10 years and it’s increased his efficiency tenfold. By the time competition gets under way, he can rely on one box to house the majority of his needs.
Chapman’s go-to solution for this process is a Plano Edge Flex size 3700 box. The box is essentially a blank slate to begin with, but it offers endless layout possibilities with each box coming with an assortment of 38 dividers to create sections of all sizes to accommodate just about any scenario. The crystal-clear polycarbonate lid makes it easy to identify contents as does the EZ Label system Plano incorporated into the latch.
“I can fit just about everything for a day in there,” he said. “I’ll have a row with packs of hooks and weights I’ll be using. Then there’s enough room that if I’m throwing jerkbaits or crankbaits, I can have a couple extras with new hooks or a different color. If I break something off, I have something ready to go and I don’t have to go digging in different compartments.
“Before, I might not have had room for a big swimbait or a clamshell pack (of plastics). With this box, it allows you to arrange things however you like and lets you be more efficient.”
In addition, Edge Retainers can be added to corral and organize hard-to-manage items like hooks, weights and other terminal tackle. The Retainers, roughly the size of a business card, can be locked into slots within the Edge box depending on how the dividers are arranged or loosely added to a day box layout like Chapman’s.
In addition to its layout being totally customizable, the Edge Flex box helps anglers fend off moisture intrusion with three distinct features. A Water Wick divider houses a reusable insert that absorbs moisture and keeps it away from your lures. The underside of the lid is equipped with a Dri-Loc o-ring seal to keep water out and the Edge series also features Plano’s Rustrictor treatment, which fends off the long-term effects of moisture.
While he makes his living casting for cash, he says his day box concept is easy for casual anglers or even kids who stash tackle in a backpack before hopping on their bike to head to the local creek or pond.
“As you get more and more advances in the sport, you’re always looking for things that give you an advantage,” he added. “You watch your competitors and see who’s being more efficient. Any one of those guys can win, so I have to look for every little edge I can get.
“We always tell people to be open minded,” he continued. “but at the end of the day you have to go with what works for you.”