Gear Up

I've been busy the last couple of weeks. It's boat show season so I've been flying around the country making appearances and giving seminars. In between shows I've been trying to get my tackle organized for the Classic and this year's Elite Series.

Getting my tackle organized is the easier of the two. At least I have some control over that. In my case, I don't use a written or computerized system, although I know some of the guys do. I just eyeball everything and see what I need and what I don't. After so many years of fishing with BASS, I have a pretty good handle on what's needed and what's not for most of the places we fish.

My first task was to organize my oil, tools and spare parts. You can't be too careful. If I have a flat on the way to a tournament, I want to be able to fix it quickly and get back on my way. If I need a fuse or circuit breaker replaced, I need to do it now, not after I've spent a half-hour looking for one. Preparation and organization matter.

After that I inventory everything to make sure I have the terminal tackle, line and baits that I'll need over the next few tournaments. I order everything I think I'll need. I don't want to be running around at a tournament or when I'm on the road looking for a spool of 10-pound-test line or a bag of watermelon worms. I want them with me and ready to go.

As for my tackle storage, I keep a good supply of anything I might possibly need for any given day or tournament in my boat. I use my truck as a storage locker, somewhere I can keep enough stuff to replenish the supplies in my boat as I use them.

Plano Model 3700 StowAway Boxes are the foundation of my storage system. They suit my style and habits perfectly. I can swap them from my truck to my boat — or the other way around — easily and efficiently. All I have to do is pull one out and put it somewhere else. That keeps everything simple, the way I like it.

And, if I need to work on tackle or restock boxes, I can do it in either my boat or my truck or my motel room. It doesn't make any difference to me because everything's the same.

That's my plan. It works for me, but that doesn't mean it'll work for you. Find the system that suits your fishing style and go with it. The specific system you use isn't nearly as important as having one.

Here's the deal: Fishing time is precious. For a professional angler, it's a matter of money. For a recreational angler, it's a matter of fun. Either way it doesn't make any sense to waste it looking for your stuff.