Another look at tackle

Last week I said I’d be packing my boat. As you might think, it’s a job. Here’s how I go about things. Maybe something I do will help you.

The very first thing I do is look over my schedule to see where I’m going to be fishing. This year we have a shallow type of schedule. Last year it was just the opposite. That requires changes. I replaced four big boxes of deep crankbaits with one small box. I know I won’t need as many as I did last year.

You can do the same thing with your schedule regardless of whether you fish tournaments or just for fun. Think about where you’ll be fishing and what you’ll need. Don’t try to fit everything you own into the boat. Pack what you need – no more, no less.

One of the biggest problems with packing too much is that you’ll forget what you packed. Early in my career I had that problem. I’d pack too much and then didn’t know I had it. That’s the same thing as not having it at all.

When I inventory my tackle, I think about whether I want to take it in the boat, put it in the truck or leave it at home. It’s not easy to leave things at home, but it is efficient and it’ll make you a better angler over time.

That doesn’t mean I don’t carry lots of tackle, however. I make sure I have plenty of what I think I’ll need. Two or three crankbaits in the same size and color might seem like a lot when you’re in the garage, but it’s not if you start catching bass and losing one every so often. It’s the same, or maybe more so, with plastics.

In the end it’s a balancing act. At first you’ll probably pack too much or too little. But over time you’ll get the hang of it and realize that making hard choices is the only way to be truly efficient on the water.

If necessary, make a written list. I fish enough that I don’t need to do that, but I did do that back in the day when I was first starting out.

I also ordered new boxes from Bass Mafia. That might be extreme for some of you but make sure the ones you’re using now are in good shape. Quality storage containers are important. They not only keep your baits organized, but they also keep them in good working order. Buying new lures or replacing rusted hooks and split rings isn’t any cheaper than buying new boxes.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned specific baits or pieces of tackle that are “must-have.” That’s because there really isn’t any such thing. Every angler fishes differently. Every body of water is different. What you need for largemouth in Florida isn’t the same as what you need for smallmouth in Michigan.

The idea is to stay organized, know what you own, take care of what you own and carry what you need. If you can do that, you’ll catch more bass and have more fun.

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