How to Tackle Your Fishing Tackle

Fishing Vest with Tackle

Over the past couple of years, between moves, storage and use, my fishing tackle has become disorganized.  So I decided that while I am getting it back in order, I’d write a brief post about it.  Through years of trial and error, I’ve found a method of keeping my fishing tackle organized in a convenient and efficient manner.  I’m certainly not stating that this is the only method or the right way to do it.  As a matter of fact, I’d love to hear how you keep your tackle organized.  I’ve just found that this works well for me and may for you as well.

Carrying Tackle Box and Fishing PoleAs a younger man, I most often carried a tackle box.  I saw quite a few older anglers doing so and assumed that it was the best possible way to keep your gear organized when on fishing trips.  For years, my “go-to” was a bright orange “Flambeau” box.  Gradually, my fishing tackle grew to the point that I needed a new and bigger box.  The new one accompanied me through many years of fishing adventure.  My only real complaint was that I was forced to dedicate a hand to carrying it and that I couldn’t pack it in a backpack (I tried several methods of doing so – only to end up with a big mess of fishing hooks tangled together with all of my lures and line.)  Most of the time, this wasn’t a huge concern, but as I found myself deeper and deeper in the wild and with more and more children, I realized that I couldn’t afford to have one of my hands completely dedicated to a single tackle box and pole.

Over the years, my tackle and associated paraphernalia has grown to more than what I need.  I’ve found some items always useful while some of it does little more than occupy a space in my tackle box.  I’ve replaced an assortment of screwdrivers and pliers with a multi-tool.  And I’ve developed a system of how to keep organized for each individual fishing trip.

Tackle Boxes

Open Tackle BoxFirst off, I still keep my tackle boxes.  The largest is full of my lures, jigs, rubber critters, bobbers, sinkers, poppers and such.  The other tackle box holds my extra string, line and equipment.  It also holds an old container of bug juice.  I can’t read a brand or who manufactured it.  But it was always in my grandfather’s tackle box and he wore it nearly every night that we spent on the banks of the New River.  Every time I open the box, it still smells of him and those past trips.

In addition to the tackle boxes, I keep a couple of small plastic boxes (about the size of an ammo can) at the ready.  I typically use these for catfishing adventures where I need the extra room for carrying cord for throw lines, bigger hooks, bigger sinkers, and larger gear for handling the weight of deep river currents and big channel and mud cats.

Fishing LuresFor smaller gamefish, bass and trout, I keep a few small fishing tackle containers ready to go.  If I am going bass fishing, I take the lures and tackle that I need from my tackle box and put it in a smaller container.  This makes for convenient carrying options.  I typically fill one with all of my lures and hooks and a smaller one for my sinkers and other necessities.

Hooks, Sinkers and SwivelsMore often than not, I tend to wear a fishing vest for fishing (and camping.)  Maybe I look silly since these are most associated with fly-fishing.  But I’ve never worried too much about how fish think I look.  Vests are the most convenient method I’ve found for carrying my fishing tackle as well as an assortment of necessary items (550 cord, lighter and matches, pipe and tobacco, first aid kit, multitool, pain killer, fixed-blade knife, etc.)  My vest was purchased at Cabela’s years ago and it seems to suit me fine.  I can’t compare it to any other vests as it’s the only one I’ve owned.  Other than the holes in the back where the mice have chewed through it and the assortment of flies that are stuck in its nylon, it functions well, is comfortable and convenient.

Fishing Vest with Tackle

If I don’t feel like using a vest, I’ll either opt for a small backpack or Camelbak or a small pack that goes on my belt or over my shoulder.

With the system that I’ve developed, I’ve found that I always have enough and the appropriate gear available.  I can’t see why I’d need to carry a tackle box full of pounds of catfishing equipment when I’m on a backwoods adventure along a trout stream.    And since I don’t carry a tackle box, my hands are free to carry my walking stick, smoke a pipe, climb over rocks, or hold my wife’s hand – all of which I enjoy better than lugging around pounds of unnecessary tackle.

If you’ve either purchased or developed a system of your own that works well, I’d love to hear about it.  I have no difficulties stating that I’m no expert and am always experimenting with new and better ways to do things.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like A Headlamp for the Outdoorsman and Is a Multi-Tool a Useful Addition to the Outdoorsman’s Gear?


13 thoughts on “How to Tackle Your Fishing Tackle

  1. I too use a vest while fishing. I actually found small 2-sided tackle boxes that are the same size as my fly boxes, so I can tailor the vests contents with whatever I’m targeting. Exception to this being while I’m in the canoe. I use a soft sided tackle bag with a strap.

    Great post! Love the multi tool mention. They should be called the anytime-tool.

    • Thanks. Definitely a good idea for canoeing. Ive found that i can put my small boxes in a backpack in the canoe. But even then, I’m still prone to just lay my vest over the thwart.

  2. When I’m fishing in the coastal marshes here I love vests so i can get out of my yak and wade and have my lures handy. Still half to have a landing net wrapped around my hip/neck. Old friend had a Styrofoam hat he’d hook lures to.

    • Wading is always a fun way to go! I wish I had to have a landing net but they’re not necessary for the minnows I tend to catch. Lol. I’ve never seen anyone using a styrofoam hat. I could see how it would work well for the lures but seems uncomfortable. Thanks for the input Andy!

  3. I don’t use a vest, but I have also “downsized” my tackle box from a full-sized box like the green/gray one you showed to one that can fit into a large pocket (I keep it in a pocket in my pack). Despite its small size, I can fit an assortment of jigs, spinners, plugs, hooks, sinkers, swivels, leaders, a bobber etc. in it. I find that this small box, my travel rod/reel and hobo handline are all I need most of the time. I still keep the bulk of my stuff in my full-sized box, but to be honest it usually stays home.

    • Nice! Seems like that would be a pretty good way to go. Have you come up with a way to deal with your gear while wearing a PFD? I talked about it a bit with city strokes and was hoping you’d chime in with some input!

  4. Pingback: The Lure of Fishing Lures |

  5. You know, I,ve spent the last 3 or4 years trying to re-organize my tackle. I have 2tackle boxes, 2 tackle bags and a vest- yet still can’t decide what to put where and what I really need to take on that next fishing trip?
    I remember when I was a kid, all I needed was a small round tin can of hooks, a Prince Albert can with about a dozen Crawlers 20 foot mono,a good pocket knife to cut a fishing pole on stream. Loved fishing Pinicle Creek, Wva for Chubs, Suckers, and an ocassional Rainbow.

    • Thanks for the comment! I totally understand. When I was a young man, all I needed for camping was a Army surplus sleeping bag, and even it was optional.

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