Organize Your Tackle Box

Most of us have more tackle than we will ever use. Regardless, most days we have trouble finding what we want, when we want it. We're disorganized.

 Professional anglers can't afford that affliction. In this two-part series we'll see how two top professional anglers store their tackle. In Part 1, we'll look at boat organization. In Part 2, we'll see how things are handled at home.

 Part 1: Organizing Your Boat

 "Organization in your boat is common sense," says Elite Series pro Zell Rowland. "You can't fish efficiently if you have to spend 5 minutes looking for a lure. I don't have that much time to waste, and I doubt any other angler does either."

 Here are a few of his suggestions for making your day on the water more efficient and more enjoyable.

 1. Buy Plano utility boxes. "I store everything in Plano plastic boxes with labels on them. I can tell what's in them in a second."

 Rowland organizes by function. His topwater stickbaits are in one box — all sizes — his poppers in another — again all sizes. Every lure in his boat is organized this way. "Lures are tools. They do a specific job and should be sorted that way," he explains.

< 2. Remove the skirts and blades from your spinnerbaits and jigs. "I never understood why anglers put a bunch of spinnerbaits or jigs in a plastic bag and then let them get all tangled up in a big wad. Then they have to hold them up and shake and pull them to get them apart when they want to fish with one. Why?

 Rowland stores skirts and blades in a separate box or compartment within a box.

 3. Store rigging materials together. "I put everything I need for a Carolina rig or a drop shot rig (except the lure) in one box. That way, when I want to make a rig, my hook, swivel and weight are all in one place."

 Rowland suggests sorting hooks, sinkers and swivels by size within the box, each in a separate compartment.

 4. Don't buy the same size utility box for all your lures. "Hey man, those guys (Plano) make all kinds of storage boxes. Take advantage of that and buy the ones that fit your lures and that fit into your boat."

 Again, it's a matter of efficiency. One size doesn't fit all.

 5. Carry a day box. "I have a day box in my boat. It holds everything I think I'm going to need for that day. I pull whichever lures I'm going to need, including a handful of spinnerbaits and jigs with blades and skirts on them, the night before. I keep that stuff in my box so it's ready and available when I need it."

 Rowland's day box is a Plano tackle bag that holds several utility boxes. Look around until you find the right one for you.

 6. Make a rod rack. "I've custom made a rod rack for every boat I've ever owned. It's the only way I know to keep them sorted and avoid tangles. I'm not going to pull a twisted mess of rods and reels out every time I need one."

 Racks can be made from marine plywood, plastic pipe or light tubing. Look at your boat and go with what works.

Fishing time is precious. Don't waste it rummaging through your boat

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