Inventory and organize baits now

It’s that time of year when I get my tackle organized for the upcoming season.

I’ve been examining each tournament, thinking about what patterns and lures might come into play and stocking up on the ones I expect to need.

In fact, I spent time this week inventorying what I have and placing my Strike King order for baits I know I’ll need for the 2014 Elite Series season.

I recommend weekend anglers take time now to assess their tackle needs and know what they have or need to restock. By doing it early, you can create a list of needs and shop for bargains at your local tackle shops, at sport shows and spring fishing shows. You can save a lot of money that way and know you are fulfilling definite needs.

Now, admittedly, I have more tackle than the average angler, but this is my job. And when you have this much stuff, you have to be organized to be an efficient angler.

Instead of leaving baits in boxes where I can’t see them, I hang my packaged hard baits and spinnerbaits on peg board so that I can see what sizes and colors are getting low.

Managing soft plastics is far more difficult because there are so many sizes, shapes, and colors that come into play throughout the year.

To handle that, I utilize Plano’s XXL ProLatch Stowaway utility boxes that can hold dozens of packaged baits. I mark each clear-sided box, noting the specific type of lures it contains.

I also keep my baits in their original packages and stack them side by side, by color and size, like you place files in a cabinet. That way, I can thumb through them to find what I need in an instant.

In my mind, it’s vital to keep soft baits in their packaging to maintain the shape, color and integrity. If you throw them loosely in a tackle tray, they will get jumbled up, bent or damaged. A kinked worm or bent jig trailer leg will cause the lure to roll or swim out of balance; that’s why Strike King packages many of its baits in protective clam packs.

I also label my XXL StowAways for special techniques, like sight fishing, and stock that box with a variety of pertinent baits. When I know I’m going to a site fishing tournament, I can reach for that box.

During the tournament season, I stack those large StowAways in my truck which serves as my tackle “warehouse.”

Now, for my boat supply, I keep hard baits in utility boxes by size and type of lure, like most anglers do. But for soft plastics, I stack the lure packages in Plano Speed Bags, designate and mark the bags according to type of lure, and keep them in storage compartments. Each Speed Bag holds 15 to 20 packages of baits, and I can move the Speed Bags from my boat to the truck as the need changes.

Managing your tackle at home and in the boat is critical. It not only makes you a more efficient angler on the water, but ensures that you have what you need – when you need it!

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!