How to Organize Your Tackle Box – Fishing Gear Management

Picture the following scenario; You’re out fishing in your kayak and you want a specific lure for the target species and prevailing water conditions. You pull out one lure after another from your cluttered tackle box, but you can’t seem to find the one your need. This forces you to empty the box—taking more of your valuable time.

As you can tell from the hypothetical scenario above, a tidy tackle box is important! It may be the difference between a fruitful day on the water and an exasperating time. Tackle organization is about having the right tackle and in safe, designated places for instant retrieval when needed. 

Need buzzbaits for night fishing? An organized tackle box means that you know where it is, even in the darkness. Plus, proper storage translates to less damage on gear and better longevity. 

Read on to learn more on how to organize your tackle box—whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned angler.

STEP 1:  Get the Right Tackle Containers and Bags

Tackle containers come in many shapes and sizes—from durable hard-plastic boxes to highly-portable soft-sided bags. It’s advisable to pick whatever works best for your fishing style, kayak, and gear, among other unique considerations. Ideally, go for something that is secure, compact, and offers practical compartments/trays.

If you already own a tackle box, empty everything and wash down the container – i.e., start on a clean slate. With a box/bag ready, it’s to dig into the messy gear.

STEP 2: Separate and Group Tackle into Categories

For this step, you need a certain level of discipline and focus. Spread everything out on a surface and assess what you’re working with. Identify your needs for future tackle equipment based on your kayak fishing schedule.

With everything in front of you, separate and group tackle into broad categories. For example, place all crankbait in one pile and lines in another. If you want to take your tackle management up a notch, you can organize the items by fish species targeted, colour, or even the fishing depth of lures.

The goal in this step is to give you a clear mental and visual picture of what is what and the size of your stock. You can even use this opportunity to pin-point the gear that needs an upgrade.

With everything organized neatly in piles, clean and dry the items—leaving them ready for storage.

STEP 3: Organize Everything

Here’s where focus comes in. You need to find a way to store the gear in a safe and accessible way that maximizes the storage space. 

For small easy-to-lose items such as hooks, sinkers, swivels, and leaders, toss them in small plastic lock containers, trays, or utility boxes. Similarly, place soft plastics in categorized bags. Avoid putting different-coloured soft plastics in the same bag due to the risk of colour bleeding.

Next, organize the bags, trays, boxes, and containers in a manner that maximizes the space available. And consider using clear plastic covers—allowing you to take a quick peek into the content of the container without opening it.

Bonus Tip: Label your tackle box drawers, boxes, and bags. This is a seminal yet overlooked hack to an optimal organization and clutter management process. 

Labelling helps you or your fishing buddy find what you want in an instant—especially when you have not completely familiarized yourself with the tackle box format.

STEP 4: Narrow Down to the Essentials

Now that you have a full inventory of your fishing gear, differentiate the essentials from the ‘baggage’. You don’t need 20 spinnerbaits for a fishing trip. The tackle box should only contain items that you’re logically likely to use. Take what you need and leave the rest at home for future use.

With this in mind, you also need to organize your home for fishing gear storage. Consider installing shelving, storing the extra tackle in label containers, and investing in hooks/racks for better tackle management.


STEP 5: Make Tackle Organization a Habit

Organizing tackle is not a one-time activity. Don’t fall into the trap of organizing once, forgetting it, and gradually reverting to the decluttered mess you sought to solve in the first place. Follow through in line with your fishing habits and make it second nature. 

To make this easier, organize gear immediately after use. For example, always clean and store your lures in the right spot after a day of fishing. Same with your fishing rods, lines, floats, and other items.

Winding Up

With these tips, expect to spend most of your time dangling your fishing bait and reeling ‘em in—rather than frantically digging through heaps of gear. An organized tackle box also protects delicate items from damage and makes your next tackle-shopping spree a breeze.

Now; hit the waters with new-found confidence and peace of mind!

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