Gear sorting tips to satisfy your inner tackle rat…
I tend to fall into one of two extremes when it comes to sorting out my fishing gear for a trip.
If I’m tagging along with a couple of casual fisho mates on a beach or jetty fishing session, I’ll be the guy who takes along the closest rod at hand, a packet of servo pillies for bait and is generally more concerned with manning the icebox to ensure everyone stays thoroughly hydrated than any low key fishing action that might be going down.
On the other hand, if I’m packing my gear for a dedicated fishing mission, or I happen to know that the fish are on and conditions are right, then I’ll get downright obsessive with how I maintain, prepare, store and pack my fishing tackle.
There’s no point pouring time, money and energy into chasing fish up and down the coast if you’re going to be let down by your gear, and when your gear fails you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.
I’ve lost more than a few quality fish to tackle failure in the past and it hurts, especially when you know that the loss was preventable.
Here are a few tips to streamline the gear selection and packing process, and hopefully maximise your catch rate.
KNOW YOUR TARGET
Knowing your target species and packing your gear accordingly is perhaps the single biggest thing you can do to perfect your packing approach.
There’s no point loading all the fishing tackle you own into the back of the fourby every time you go to wet a line, when all you’re really doing is creating unnecessary mess and hassle and most of the gear is simply taking up space.
I keep the gear I use for specific species stored in specific tackle boxes, so when I’m whether I’m targeting drummer, snapper, flathead, kingfish, tuna, whiting or mackerel, I can simply grab the appropriate tackle box, load that into my pack with the other accessories I’ll actually need, and leave the other gear on the shelf where it belongs.
Obviously this approach involves plenty of sorting and tinkering on non-fishing days, but you’ve got to keep occupied somehow on rainy days!
PACK LIGHT, PACK PLENTY
Carrying only species-specific tackle allows you to drastically cut down on the weight and bulk of your gear, which makes room to carry extras of the stuff you actually do use.
There’s nothing worse than having to cut a fishing session short due to losing your last lure, or running out of the right size hooks – especially in the middle of a hot bite.
Load up and carry a couple of spares of everything, and you’re still ahead due to all the space you freed up by leaving the fly-tying kit and marlin lures at home!
CLEAN YOUR GEAR
Looking after your gear is the first step towards keeping everything well sorted and eliminating unnecessary expenditure. Salt water will rust out terminal tackle is no time flat and is the main factor keeping Australian tackle companies in business.
Most fishos know to take 30 seconds to hose off their rods and reels post fishing session in order to prolong their lifespans. The same applies to lures, hooks and other terminal tackle.
Spend the extra minute or so to rinse off your gear with fresh water and pat dry with a towel before reloading it in your tackle box. You’ll get a lot more use out of each individual item and save plenty of money in the long run.
PROPER STORAGE SYSTEMS
Plastic tackle storage trays are surprisingly cheap and the most efficient way of keeping your gear sorted.
The amount of fishing you do and the amount of different species you target throughout the year will dictate how many you need. Some guys only need two or three while others will need a shedful.
A couple of different sized Tupperware containers are handy for storing bulky or oddly shaped items and reducing clutter, and I’ve found that if you can get your hands on a couple of old nail boxes they’re the perfect storage system for those annoyingly oversized poppers and stickbaits that won’t fit inside normal tackle trays.
Once you take an interest in keeping your gear sorted and packing properly, it will change the way you fish. Cutting back on clutter and knowing where everything is when you need it will keep your enthusiasm levels up and in no time at all you’ll be watching your catch rate soar.