As bass fishing anglers, we're notorious for having too much fishing gear. To make the issue even worse, we also bring too much of this fishing gear whenever we hit the water. This often limits our mobility, which in turn, can severely hurt our adaptability on the water. The quicker you're able to make small adjustments, the more fish I believe you'll catch.
I've been using a lot of the following household hacks for quite a while. Without spending any money, I'm willing to bet you can find some of these items right inside of your house and make your fishing much more efficient and convenient.
Pill bottle for terminal tackle
This is the one that first sparked the idea for this piece; taking medicine bottles and using them to store terminal fishing tackle. While this could certainly come in handy on a boat as well, I think this little hack really lends itself well to kayak and bank fishermen. If I'm walking the bank of a creek, I pretty much know what I'm going to be using for the day and only really need a couple handfuls of tackle in case I break off. This little hack allows me to throw a few weights in one of these pill bottles and a few hooks in another, tuck them away in my pocket and I have all the terminal tackle I need for the day in a fairly water-resistant container.
These are also handy to keep in the big boat for discarding used treble hooks. I have a bad habit of replacing treble hooks on a bait and then just tossing the old ones on the step of the boat or in a tackle box, which is obviously a recipe for disaster. Keep one of these little pill bottles in the boat and you have a designated place to store your spent hooks.
Kind of in the same vein, using a weekly pill dispenser to store terminal tackle gives you a great storage option for small-water fishing. You can put a little bit of everything you might need terminal tackle-wise for the day into a compact carrying case that can be slipped into your pocket or stowed handy in the kayak. Having just a small sampling of what you might need in a kayak is a game changer. You can still have a bunch of terminal tackle in your crate behind the seat if you want, but having what you're most likely to need right there at your finger tips eliminates a lot of turning and digging when you break off that first drop shot.
This one was low-hanging fruit, I'll admit that, but they do really come in handy. For some of the old timers, stealing the fingernail clippers from the house was the ticket back in the day. Just a short while ago, there weren't hundreds of options when it came to line cutters for the boat. There was one rusty old set of needle nose pliers that had about as good a chance cutting through line as the boat paddle did. So keeping fingernail clippers in the boat was, and still is, a good idea.
Toothpicks for pegging weights
Here's another one that won't come as a shocker to any of the older guys reading this but some of the young guns might need be let in on this one. There are lots of great options out there now for holding your weight in place. Yes, rubber pegs and bobber stoppers are ideal in my opinion. But if you get in a pinch and either run out of the modern-day versions or just can't find any in stock, pegging weights with a toothpick and cutting them off is just as affective as it ever was in the old days.
Cotton swabs for cleaning
If you've ever tried to clean a fishing reel, you've found out quickly that grime can build up in some very hard-to-reach places. Using cotton swabs when cleaning your reels is a good way to get down in there about as good as you can. These cotton swabs also make great paint brushes when touching up baits and, if you get a little paint where you don't want it, you can typically use a cotton swab with a nail polish remover or paint thinner to remove the unwanted paint as well.
Foam for pre-rigged leaders
If you're going to be fishing a presentation that requires a leader, like a drop shot, Carolina rig or double Fluke rig, breaking off and re-rigging on the spot can get really old, really fast. Time is a valuable asset when you're on the water, so you want to make the most of it. Pre-rigging leaders while you're at home can really save you time on the water. The question then is how do you keep them nice and neat until you need them? I like to wrap mine around a piece of dense foam... something like a chunk off of a pool noodle will do nicely. This way the leaders don't get damaged and they're sitting there ready to tie on my main line at a moment's notice.
Marker cap whacky tool
If you're on the water and find yourself with O-rings but no tool to put them on with, the cap off a marker will suffice. You'll have to roll the O-ring a little farther up the bait since the cap is shallower than a wacky tool would be, but it works better than having to roll the O-ring up the whole bait. You could do that with some worms as long as they have a tail that comes to a pretty sharp point. The salt content in many baits like this will cause the bait to have tiny little tears as you roll the o-ring up the bait and leave it looking white when it hits the water. At least with a marker cap like this, you can avoid a good bit of that.
Double up dip dye container
It's a great idea to have your dip dye jar in a secondary container. Inevitably, if you dip enough baits in dye, you're going to either drip or spill some on your carpet or some other surface where you do not want it. Storing your dye in a slightly larger container will allow you to pull the bait out of the dye and let it drip dry for a few seconds without having to worry about each drop falling into a hole the size of a quarter. Trust me, you'll sleep a little easier if you add another layer of protection between your dye and the rest of your world, even if it's not an old melatonin jar. Sorry, couldn't resist.
Eyedropper for scent
Another great way to get your scent only where you want it is to repurpose old eyedroppers. You can typically pop the rubber nipple out of an eyedropper and wash them out. Then simply fill it up with your favorite scent. It's a great little hack again when fishing small waters with limited storage space. There's no need to have a full jar of scent in your pocket when a little eyedropper full could get you through 10 day-long trips. It's also a great way to get scent a little more than surface deep. For instance, you can use an eyedropper to squirt a little scent up into a hollow body frog to see if that's enough to get them to stop blowing up on a bait and actually start eating it.
Pen and pencil holder for soft plastics
There are only a few soft plastics that I use enough of for something like this to come in handy. But for baits like the Missile Baits D Bomb and Strike King Ocho, I can pack a whole bunch into one of the little pencil holders that you'd find on the kids' school supplies aisle for a dollar. These will hold a few packs of baits as well in their original packaging if you'd just like to have a cheap storage option for the kayak. But I definitely wouldn't recommend storing terminal tackle in one, as they're a far cry from waterproof.
So there you have it; 10 household items you can use to get yourself out of a jam or simply fish on a tighter budget if you need to. I encourage you to look around the house as well and see what else you can come up with and then let us know if you figure out a good hack.