By John Neporadny Jr.
Organizing tackle in my boat has always been a challenge, but some manufacturers are making it an easier task.
A variety of organizing systems are available from boat manufacturers or tackle companies that make it easier to store and quickly find a particular lure, rig or tool when you need it. I have always relied on a series of Plano utility boxes for carrying my ton of jigheads, weights and hooks and some cloth bags (which I always seem to get at fishing shows or outdoor writers’ meetings) for storing my bags of soft plastics.
Boat companies also offer tackle organization systems in various storage compartments. Ranger Boats offers an integrated tackle management system for storing Plano utility boxes in the Z Commanche series. G-3 Boats also offers tackle utility box storage trays in three of the company’s models: Eagle 160 PFX, Eagle Talon 17 PFX and Eagle Talon 19 DLX. Stephen Matt, G-3 public relations specialist, notes most of the Eagle series of boats come with four utility boxes that fit in the rear storage compartments. Matt has used the front deck storage compartments of his Eagle 176 for his tackle management system consisting of Tupperware containers and Plano utility boxes.
Crappie pro Dan Dannenmueller combines Rigraps and Sterilite plastic boxes to create a nifty tackle management system in his Ranger bass boat. Dannenmueller uses the Rigrap containers for storing all of his pre-tied rigs for spider rigging. He suggests the Orange 8524 models are best for crappie rigs since the container can handle two- or three-way rigs with weights ranging from 1/2- ounce to 3 ounces.
“The boxes allow you to wrap anything in it and it has bent-over plastic lips in the top that allow you to put your jig or hook through it and wrap the line,” Dannenmueller says. “You can also cross over the line and do whatever you have to do to put your weight or whatever in the center of it and then it has the cavity to store all of the rig’s components.”
Dannenmueller labels his containers by jig types and colors with initials such as “BG” for a rig with Bobby Garland baits on it. The Rigraps are sold separately or in a combo with a Rigtrac, a plastic tray capable of holding several Rigraps. The Rigtracs can also lock into each other to form a larger rig storage system to carry in the boat storage compartment. Dannenmueller also takes some of the individual containers out of the rack to keep with him in the front of the boat so he and his partner can keep a close vigil on their lines instead of looking in the storage compartment when they have to retie a line.
“We don’t want to get up from our seats very often, so if we can get everything up there close to us we are good to go,” Dannenmueller says.
Sterilite plastic storage containers in various sizes hold the rest of Dannenmueller’s tackle. He carries all of his bulk soft plastics in some containers and uses others for storing bulky items such as crankbait weights and a variety of tools. The Alabama pro also keeps larger Sterilite containers in his truck so he can change out soft plastics, weights and lures from truck to boat when he travels to fisheries that require different tackle.
Missouri pro Kevin Jones keeps his pre-tied rigs for spider rigging on Tackle Buddy Spinner Holders by Carlson Machine and Tool Company. The holders accommodate eight rigs at a time and Jones usually carries 10 holders in his boat when he’s fishing a tournament. He prefers using the largest model available (8 1/2 inches with a 2 1/2-inch diameter). “The bigger diameter gives the rigs less line memory compared to the smaller ones,” Jones says. “The end also comes off and I can store all of my hooks and weights and stuff inside of them so everything is right there with me.”
Lindy also makes a holder for rigs called the Lindy Rigger. Made of high-density foam, the Rigger features 12 slits for keeping pre-tied rigs in place.
Another tackle management system crappie anglers need to check out is Tackle Webs, a series of mesh storage bags that can be placed in various locations on your boat. “Some guys put them anywhere such as underneath the cockpit or the hatches, by their Hot Foot (Throttle) or the side of the hatches inside the wells,” says Mike Ortego, Tackle Webs CEO and president.
Tackle Webs are available in in four sizes (16 inches x 12 inches, 12 inches x 16 inches, 32 inches x 15 inches and 24 inches x 15 inches) and two mounting styles. Some models are mounted with stainless steel grommets and bungee cords for hanging inside the panels of boats. The V-series models with heavy-duty Velcro strips are for mounting in various locations throughout the boat. Both systems are ideal for keeping tackle organized and out of the way until you need it.
Installation of the V-Series models is basically a peel-and-stick process. “Wipe the surface down with a hot towel or glass cleaner to make sure there is no residue and then let it dry,” says Ortego. “Then peel off the strip (to the sticky tape) and once it is stuck you can peel the bag off the Velcro part and smooth the sticky part down with a plier handle or something like that and give it a good press. It then has a full cure in 24 to 30 hours.”
Tackle Webs also sells suction cup mounting packs to use in place of bungee cords for different mounting options. Other Tackle Webs accessories include replacement hook Velcro strips, and 8-inch bungee six packs.
For more information on tackle management systems, visit the following web sites: www.rigraponline.com, www.carlsonmachineandtool.com , www.lindyfishingtackle.com, and www.tacklewebs.com.