Grant Dixon has more fishing tackle than he knows what to do with, and over lockdown, he took the time to organise it all. He kindly shares a few tips he learnt during this process about storing tackle.
Last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns saw me, like many readers, taking stock of my tackle and the way it was stored. Over the nearly 30 years in this job, I have collected hundreds of tackle items, from game lures to jigs and soft-baits, not to mention the accessories.
In the main, they have been ‘stored’, and I use that term lightly, in various boxes and containers scattered around my double garage at home, as well as in various nooks and crannies in both the boat and caravan. The situation I found myself in is a symptom of an incurable affliction know as TAS, or ‘Tackle Acquisition Syndrome’. Unlike COVID-19, isolation is not the answer and in fact, it only makes it worse!
With time on my hands, I could not justify putting off a huge sort out any longer. I thought I could get it done in a weekend so set up a couple of trestle tables and the work began.
I started with the boating bits and slowly worked my way up to the fishing gear. The first weekend passed, and I was lucky if I had covered off 20 percent of the storage space. As we hit COVID-19’s Alert Level 2, the job was finally complete after nearly six weeks of plugging away at it. Some semblance of order has been returned to my storage system, and there is going to be one hell of a garage sale!
What I have done, as well as creating a mini-warehouse type system where all the similar tackle is stored together, is put together various trays or tackle boxes that I can interchange depending on what type of trip I am anticipating.
Consequently, I now have one Shimano Banar tackle bag dedicated to inshore lure fishing, mainly for targeting snapper, that contains a selection of soft-bait tails and jigheads, along with a box of lures including slow-pitch jigs, conventional jigs, micro jigs, sliders and inchikus. Also in the bag are a pair of pliers, several reels of trace in various line-weights, a filleting knife, braid scissors and bait additives. One failing of many tackle bags is the zips which suffer from corrosion. Regardless of the make you favour, make sure the zips are heavy duty and preferably do not use metal in their construction.
Another bag is dedicated to bait fishing with a selection of hooks, swivels and lumo beads, toothpicks, various weight sinkers, pre-tied traces, bait sabikis and flasher rigs. A third bag has a selection of game lures, rigging equipment and heavier leader, tracing gloves and the like.
When a bag needs replenishing, I simply go to the ‘warehouse’ to restock or put an order in with my local tackle store.
The Black Magic tackle packs and tackle bags are great for making similar arrangements, but instead of separate bags, all the essential tools can be carried with just the trays being interchanged depending on the type of trip planned.
The Black Magic Tackle pack and tackle box use the tray system to good effect.
I like to be well-prepared for any serious trip, and one of the ways is to pre-tie all manner of hook and leader combinations.
I use a Berkley Bait Wallet, which has individual zip-lock style envelopes inside, to store various pre-tied traces, making it a simple task to change out my rig. Imagine being in the middle of a hot snapper bite and getting busted off. Instead of taking minutes to construct another rig, it takes only seconds to pull out another trace and tie it on, bait it up and be back in business.
An alternative is to put the pre-tied traces into zip-lock plastic bags and place these in a pocket in your tackle bag.
A second Berkley Bait Wallet stores a selection of soft-baits, each sleeve holding one or two packets depending on the tail size and bulk. At the end of each trip, I restock the wallet in preparation for the next outing. I use the same wallets to store my soft-baits – one for seven inch tails, another for five inch and smaller.
All packed and ready to go chasing snapper on soft-baits and jigs.
One of the most frustrating tackle items to store are sabiki bait flies and ‘flasher’ rigs. Black Magic were among the first to bring quality flasher rigs onto the market, and along with them a nifty closed-cell foam rig holder and plastic packaging, both of which were reusable. When the original rig is lost or damaged, these holders can be used to store your home-made traces.
Being a TAS sufferer, I find it hard to drive past tackle stores on an overseas trip. The glittering offerings and the thought of discovering something unavailable back home lures me through the doors.
On one trip I picked up a couple of useful bait sabiki rig holders. The first are branded Inova and are circular in shape with a 60mm diameter. There is a hole in the reel’s arbor you stick the swivel in and you then wind the sabiki around the spool, attaching the hooks in the edge and then use a stainless-steel pin to secure the tag end. I have since found them online in NZ.
Another device I came across was a Lindy cylindrical holder around 200mm long and with a 40mm diameter. The same principle applies – you wrap the rig around the holder, which is made from closed cell plastic, sticking the hooks into it to keep them safely out of the way.
One thing to remember is to wash the sabiki rigs at the end of the day. This means removing the hook points from the holder, otherwise they end up rusting.
The Inova holder offer a practical way to store bait fly rigs.
Reader Lynley Gardner shared with the magazine a product she came across called HookSafe.
It was developed across the Tasman by registered nurse and avid angler Clive Dorien, who saw the need for a safe way to store hooks while attached to rods.
The triangular boxes, manufactured from durable plastic, measure 60mm long, 55mm wide and 15mm deep. They can hold two hooks and a small sinker and enable gear to be rigged before leaving home, safe in the knowledge you are not going to have a hook-up before you want to.
If storing your rods this way, you need to remember to wash the hooks before putting them away to prevent rust.
HookSafe is an Australian hood storage system which enables the safe transport of pre-rigged rods and reels.
One of the worst surprises an angler can have is to open their tacklebox and see a rusting tangle of hooks and lures. Despite having put their gear away at the end of last season, spray and salt in the atmosphere have done their worst and those nice, shiny, sharp hooks you took out of their packet last time are now oxidised to the point of uselessness.
There are a couple of ways to prevent this. The first is to keep your tacklebox shut unless retrieving tackle to reduce the opportunity of salt contamination from splashes and spray. Another way is to wash any tackle in freshwater before putting it back in the box, preventing salt-laden tackle ‘infecting’ your clean tackle. On my boat I have a RailBlazer caddy attached to the side of the baitboard in which all used tackle is placed during the trip – lures, hooks, bait sabikis, braid scissors and the like – and when the boat is washed down, so is the tackle in the caddy. If you’re landbased, a small plastic container will do the trick just as well.
Another option is to give the tackle trays a light spraying with an anti-rust product such as TackleGuard, Inox, CRC and the like. The only downside to this is the product, especially when used on already heavily rusted items, transfers to your hands and can make a real mess.
I was recently introduced to ‘Tuff Tainers’ – a Flambeau product which has been impregnated with Zerust Max. This anti-corrosion protection uses vapour technology to protect metal from rusting via the atmosphere.
I love my soft-baiting and through the course of a session I will change jigheads several times. When I first tested this product, distributed in New Zealand by Composite Sports, in one section of the container I placed new hooks; in another, hooks that had been used and washed; and a third spot for jigheads that were used and placed back unwashed. After six months or so I would have expected the used, unwashed jigheads to have shown some indication of rusting, but there was none, just a slight dulling of the hook’s coating. Three or so years on, the Zerust Max system continues to work. Originally developed for the US military, it is also used in gun cases to protect firearms from corrosion.
Flambeau Tuff Tainers contain a product called Zerust Max which is impregnated into the plastic and using vapour technology, releases an anti-corrosion element to the atmosphere to protect the tackle.
The above are just a few helpful pointers around tackle storage. Not everyone will suffer from the severity of TAS that I do, but even scaled-down, the principles of a well-ordered tackle storage system are the same.
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