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The Most Efficient Way to Organize Your Tackle Box


If you are packing your tackle box in a wrong manner, that doesn’t mean that you’re a lousy fisherman or suggesting you’re unable to catch a fish. But if you get your act together and efficiently packing each piece of fishing gear with a purpose, it can quickly become the smartest angling decision you’ve ever made. And you were the one who went fishing on your wedding day.

Get Your Own

We’ll spare you the obvious and assume you’re smart enough to know that all this organization begins with a tackle box of good quality. Plenty of soft-sided bags options and compartmentalized cases that provide easy access are available on a wide-ranging scale.

Find something you’re comfortable with, and go from there. Here we will go through some of the most efficient way in order to organize your tackle box.

Points To Be Taken Care Of

Here are some of the strategies you can go along with:

Designate some categories

Choose some exact spots for each type of lure, terminal tackle, and other item categories you have more than a few. There’s no reason to go searching and opening several lids or drawers when all you want is a different color swim jig. Combine the similar pieces in the same compartments, and if you’ve got a hefty load, divide them up by profile and depth to make it even easier.

A label like you mean it

Many tackle boxes will have scrawled out numerals and letters, but they are rarely entirely decipherable or strictly followed. Don’t let this be your tackle box. Label (with stickers instead of writing on the plastic with a Sharpie,) the compartments that hold things that need labeling, and you won’t ever waste time trying on something that you think is one thing, but is another.

That is if you stick to it. Follow your imposed guidelines, and don’t get lazy, tossing things in.
You might want to consider using scissors to clip the description of the cardboard packaging’s items, just in case you get to where you’ll be fishing and space on their directions. Cut them small enough to fit inside the compartment that houses the item it describes, and you’ll always have that info should you need it.

Everything in its place

Beyond those steps, you’ll want to keep accessories and other items handy but should live in their designated area. Things like snips, forceps, and multi-tools should ideally be stored in an exterior pocket or loop, so they’re readily available. Line, scales, and knives can be kept a bit more tucked away.

Above all else, you’re looking for a system that makes sense to you and provides the chance to cut down on a little stress and worry during an activity that by nature shouldn’t involve any. No two tackle boxes will ever be organized the same way, so you’ve got to find what works and stick with it, only making adjustments to justify the advantage.

Because he really wants to be the guy who misses that giant school because he was fumbling with his mess of a tackle box?

Divide and Conquer

To promote efficiency, divide your tackle bags and trays according to the type of fishing you are planning on. Carry along a few offshore bags, a few reef bags, and a few inshore bags. Within each tackle, the bag should be plastic tackle trays, with items organized by size, action, and even intended species. Take jigging trays, for example. Make separate shelves devoted to bucktails, conventional deep jigs, and flutter-style jigs.

Organizing the jigs, isolate the casting sizes of both bucktails and flutter-style jigs into separate boxes. Again, no rummaging through an assortment of sizes and styles to find the right one.

Inshore, In-line

Categorizing carries to inshore lures. For example, maintain individual trays for topwater, sinking and swimming baits, and soft baits. If you want a topwater trick to pitch at seatrout, snook or tarpon, retrieve your topwater tray, which contains a few sizes and colors of Rapala Skitter Walks and Skitter Pops and similar-style lures.

Sinking-lure shelves provide weighted hard baits, like X-Rap SubWalks, Glidin’ Raps, and Rattlin’ Rapalas, whereas the swimming tray contains lipped shallow- and deep-diving lures.

The soft-plastics shelves reveal various sizes and hues of shrimp, crabs, and minnow-style bodies. Again, the goal is quick and easy access to the right lures for any situation.

The organization is the same with small terminal items, such as swivels categorized by barrel swivels, three-way swivels, and trolling snap swivels in various sizes and strengths. There are also trays specifically for kite-fishing terminal items, such as rubber bands, floats, ceramic rings, release clips, rubber-core sinkers, and balloons. The offshore-rigging plate has needles, floss, assorted sleeves, thimbles, crimpers, and small sinkers.

Where’s the Hook?

Aboard my boat, the hook trays get the most use. Imagine the range of hook variations needed to cover live- and dead-baiting, from seatrout to swordfish. For rigging trolling baits such as ballyhoo, mullet, mackerel, and squid, carry along trays with nothing but O’Shaughnessy-style hooks in various strengths and sizes, along with several specialty trolling-style hooks.

The live-bait-style hooks, in-line circle hooks in various strengths from 1/0 through 16/0, are categorized in circle-hook trays. What’s more, the smaller and lighter-wire hooks are confined to one shelf, which you can use for seatrout on up to sailfish, whereas the heavier-wire and larger circle hooks are in a separate tray, for big grouper on up to yellowfin tuna and sharks. There are also individual trays for J hooks.

When you anchor on the reefs and chum, remove the trays with the small circle hooks (for yellowtail, muttons, mackerel, and kingfish) and also the small bucktails and flutter-style jigs, since this is what we use for the mackerel, amber-jacks and horse-eye jacks. Keep the trays either on or near the console, where we all can work out of them. Before we leave, we return the shelves to their respective tackle bags.

Bag It: Mesh tackle bags help keep more substantial items like rigged lures or teasers organized and ready for fast deployment.

The Offshore Fellas

While not kept in plastic tackle trays, offshore trolling lures are organized by size and species sought. They are assigned to lure bags. For example, if you desire to mix some tricks into your spread for dolphin, then fetch a lure bag containing small flat-, blunt- and concave-head baits rigged on leaders ranging from 50- to 130-pound-test.

Conversely, if you see blackfins or yellowfins, make another soft-lure bag with small bullet-and jet-head-style lures rigged on 30- to 80-pound-test fluorocarbon. And of course, you need to have individual bags with larger marlin lures and wahoo lures.

Keep them Clean

Certain people despise a few things than seeing a used saltwater hook, lure or jig returned to its tray without rinsing it with freshwater. If you return something without rinsing it, expect rust and corrosion to spread throughout that tray like wildfire, ruining your investment.

You should keep all used lures, hooks, jigs, and such are kept in a bucket or sink until it’s time to wash down the boat. During this process, they’ll get a freshwater rinsing, a soaping, and another freshwater rinsing. Then hang the gear on a shelf in at clean place for several days, and only then put them back into their respective tackle trays.

Keep them Ready to Go

In addition to keeping your terminal tackle organized and readily accessible, it’s a smart practice to rig a few extra rods with the lures, jigs, and hooks that might come into play during your fishing day. This way, should any opportunities arise beyond your chosen fishing method that day, you’ll be covered. For example, when trolling offshore, you’ll have several spinners rigged with bucktails and plain hooks.

If you troll up a school of dolphins, you’re set to take advantage of them. Or if you see a sizeable solitary fish, you have the option of pitch-baiting a dead or live bait.

There’s also a small conventional outfit rigged with a flutter-style jig, for dropping deep under boards, debris, large weed patches, and school dolphin, where wahoo often lurks.