Can you have too much tackle?

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Steve Bowman

Yes, I think you can have too much tackle. I’ve often said that one of the most common mistakes recreational anglers make is that they overthink things. A part of overthinking is having too many choices when it comes to lure and tackle selection.

The thing you hardly ever hear about, though, is that the same problem afflicts professional anglers. We all carry enough tackle to sink a battleship, but we don’t use most of it or even think about most of it. At least a few of us are working to solve that problem by reminding ourselves that sometimes less is more.

I’m going to tell you how I approach the issue. Maybe that’ll give you some ideas. But remember, this is a very personal part of our sport. You have to do what works best for you. 

I start to do that by sorting out everything I already have that’s not properly stored. There’s no time to do anything when you’re fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series so I just toss everything into a cardboard box when a tournament’s over and don’t look at it again until the season ends. My job for the past couple of weeks was to take all that stuff out of the boxes and put it back where it belongs. Once that’s done I at least know what I have.

At that point I take a critical look at the next year’s schedule and decide what I’m going to need for each event. My goal is to reduce my tackle by about 10 percent. There’s no point in my carrying a half-dozen crankbaits in each of 12 colors. I know, based on past experience, that I’m only going to fish with three or four of those colors. 

There’s no reason to carry more than I know I’m going to use. It’s a waste of space and, even worse, it clutters my mind when I’m looking for something — too many choices. 

The process I’ve just described is easy to write about but really, really hard to do when it comes down to crunch time. Nevertheless, it has to be done. Hoarders don’t make good anglers. They make hoarders. 

Once I’ve culled through my tackle I sort everything by function or destination and then put it into boxes. It seems like every year I use a different system and different boxes.

It’s a funny thing. Most of us pay close attention to new things that come on the market, but for some reason we’re still using the same lure and terminal tackle boxes we were using 20 years ago. We replace them when they break. That’s saves a little money, but it doesn’t help us advance as an angler. 

Sort and cull your tackle anyway you want, but when you’re done check out some of the new systems. You’ll be impressed with what’s out there, and once you start using them you’ll realize how much they improve your fishing. I put my tackle in Flambeau boxes. 

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website, mikeiaconelli.com.