Organized anglers are more efficient

We’ve been hit with an ice storm overnight here in Michigan, so I can’t get outside. But that’s OK; it’s a perfect day to work on tackle while I deal with other business matters in my office.

Tackle organization is a never ending process, but the winter makes for a great time to inventory tackle and get it stored properly.

It’s even more critical for me this year as I will have to load my truck and boat for the Elite Series that will take us to a variety of different waters where a number of techniques could come into play. My truck and boat will be gone for 1 1/2 months so I have to plan carefully.

We’ll start off on the Sabine River where the water is generally shallow and stained, so spinnerbaits, flipping gear, swim jigs and other shallow largemouth gear will be needed.

From there we head to Guntersville and then off to California and Nevada where everything from swimbaits and heavy flipping gear for big largemouth and smaller tackle for clear lakes and smallmouth will be factors.

Therefore, I’m spending my time loading large Plano StowAway 7080 XXL ProLatch utility boxes with lure specific bait packages. Those containers will be stacked and labeled in the back of my truck.

I used to put my soft baits in large bins, but it made it difficult to find what I needed. This is much more efficient.

With these large Plano containers, I can stack soft baits in the original packaging and see exactly what I have. The boxes are for bulk storage and will fit into the storage compartment of my boat if necessary.

It’s important to note here that soft baits should be retained in their original packaging until ready to use, especially if the baits are individually clam packed like Strike King baits. I used to remove baits from packages and lay them in utility boxes, but they are easily jostled causing the legs and tails to get bent. Bent legs or kinked bodies simply don’t perform as well as those that retain their intended shapes.

I realize I carry and need more baits than most recreational anglers, but this system on a smaller scale would work for anyone who uses an abundance of soft plastics and needs to get organized.

Another option is the Plano 3701 which is a smaller, deep bulk box in which I can put 24 soft bait packages. These boxes fit well in the boat or can be stacked on shelves in your home or garage.

There’s no way avid anglers can store everything in a boat, so we have to be selective. The Plano Speed Bags are perfect for selecting a day’s worth of packaged soft baits and putting them in the boat. You can fill each Speed Bag with a specific type of lure or stuff a variety in there for a day of fishing. These bags are space-savers, too, because you can stuff them into tight places easier than you can a utility box.

Anglers who fish out of their buddy’s boat have similar options with the new KVD Plano Elite System, a bag storage that includes four 3750 utility boxes; two smaller, 3587 boxes; pockets for specific tackle and accessories; a mesh rear pouch; tool holders; and elastic tie-down holders on top. These bag systems allow you to pack only the tackle you’ll need during the day without having to haul everything you own.

Regardless of what tackle system you have used in the past, it pays to review your tackle organization, restock needs and think about ways that you can improve your efficiency on the water before the season begins. Efficient angers spend more time casting and catching bass!

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

Kevin VanDam's column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.