My friend Carl Grassi is not only a good angler but also meticulous when it comes to storing his tackle. In fact, I recently learned something from him. Rather than keep his accessories, such as knives, leaders and boat parts, on his vessel, he puts them in plastic carry boxes. This way, if he needs fillet knives back at the dock, there’s no rummaging through his boat to find them. He merely goes into his console and retrieves his knife box, where you’ll find several knives, a sharpening stone and even freezer bags for his fillets. What’s neat is that he can wash, dry and oil down these knives before they’re packed away, keeping them clean and rust-free.
I’ve gone this route with my knives, spools of leader material and spare parts (fuel filters and hoses for those Bahamas crossings). It takes just a tad longer to add and remove these containers from the boat, but the advantages include easy access (on the boat and in your garage), less exposure to a saltwater environment and the elements, and a smaller chance of theft if kept permanently on board.
If you’re already taking care of your tackle in this fashion, go to the head of the class; you’re able to concentrate more on catching fish when you’re on the water. If your tackle organization program is running a little behind, remember this article during the next rainy weekend; it will give you plenty to do and something even to curse over if your tackle is really disorganized. But once you’ve arranged everything, there will be a big difference in your efficiency the next time you set forth. And efficiency and preparedness are two classic traits of successful anglers worldwide.
Keep ’em Clean
There are few things I despise more than seeing a used saltwater hook, lure or jig returned to its tray without a freshwater rinse. If you return something without rinsing it, expect rust and corrosion to spread throughout that tray like wildfire, ruining your investment.
On my boat, 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. I hang the gear on a shelf in my garage for several days, and then — and only then — put them back into their respective tackle trays.
Keep ’em Ready to Go
In addition to keeping your terminal tackle organized and readily accessible, it’s 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 method of fishing that day, you’ll be covered. For example, when trolling offshore, we’ll have several spinners rigged with bucktails and plain hooks. Should we troll up a school of dolphin, we’re set to take advantage of them. Or if we see a large solitary fish, we 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 lurk.
Organize Your Tackle