The cost of fishing tackle is on the rise like everything else. This isn’t a slam on any one company or even the industry as a whole, it’s just another unfortunate byproduct of the times we’re living in. Simply put, a lot of fishing tackle costs a pretty penny these days, so we need to do our best to protect and maintain it. Here are six tips to help your tackle last longer.
It really doesn’t matter what you’re trying to store, water is the main enemy of all fishing tackle. So it’s a good idea to use waterproof tackle boxes to store your hard baits, skirted baits, fishing line and tools. These storage options keep water out and many are also infused with some sort of rust inhibitor to prevent rust and corrosion, in the event that any water does get in.
There’s also a variety of oversized, heavy-duty waterproof zipper bags on the market now that make it easy to keep almost anything dry. These are great for storing soft plastics and spools of line, as well as tucking away a dry set of clothes or anything else you want to keep clear of the elements.
Stay out of the sun
The second-worst thing to expose tackle to is sunlight. If you leave a box of soft plastics out in the sun a few days and come back, you’re liable to find a melted mess of baits stuck together. Sunlight is also damaging to fishing line, hard baits, rods, reels and basically anything you use to catch a fish.
So keeping your gear out of the sun as much as possible is paramount. You can do this easily if you have a shop or a boat, by simply keeping your tackle put away. But there are also several tackle box options now that have dark or even solid-colored tops to prevent sunlight from reaching what’s inside.
There are several tackle-storage options on the market now that have high density EVA foam incorporated into them. These are great options for storing hooks so the hook points don’t get damaged. But even more importantly, these can be used to keep painted weights and jigheads from crashing into each other, which damages and chips the paint.
Though these boxes are worthwhile if you have a lot of terminal tackle, they are a bit of an investment for an angler just getting started. Using a little packing foam or a pool noodle, you can make a DIY terminal tackle box like we did here to get you by in the meantime.
Wrap large weights
You can also wrap your tungsten weights to prevent damage. This is really unnecessary and a little cumbersome with smaller weights, since you have to unwrap each weight to use it. But this is a great practice with larger bass fishing punching weights, as many terminal tackle boxes don’t have cavities in the foam large enough to store weights that weigh an ounce or more.
Simply take something as basic as a ziplock bag, drop the weight into one corner, then give that corner of the bag a few twists and tie it off. This allows you to get rid of the bulky packaging that these larger weights come in, while still preventing your weights from damaging one another.
I love to stock up on tackle, especially the things I like to use the most. So a spinnerbait, jig, buzzbait or ChatterBait may sit on a shelf in the shop for a year or two before I use it. It’s a real bummer when I open the package to find the rubber collar has deteriorated and the skirt has fallen apart.
To prevent this, I’ll take a small zip-tie and cinch it down over the rubber collar to secure the skirt and ensure the bait will be ready to use, even years down the road. The key is not waiting until the band and skirt fall off, but instead go ahead and add the zip-tie to any skirted bait that you don’t plan to use soon.
*This is only necessary for skirted baits that use a rubber band-style collar. Skirts that are hand tied using thread or wire will not fall off over time.
Spray your baits
Dad started painting an extra protective coat onto some of his baits a few years ago. The paint jobs on several of his old favorite lures had started to flake and chip from old age. So he bought a small aerosol spray can of polyurethane and carefully began to spray thin layers overtop of the paint of his older lures.
This worked so well that he’s started doing the same thing with a lot of his newer lures, some that had recently been discontinued. By doing this, he can ensure those perfect color baits lasts as long as possible.
Hardly any of us have enough money to let tackle go to waste and it’s not a wise thing to do even if we did have the money. Instead, this is a good time to live out Luke 16:10, which comes to mind as I’m writing this. It essentially states, “whoever is faithful with little will be trusted with much.”
I’ve had to grow in this area myself over the years, and still have room to grow. But I’ve seen this principle play out time and time again in my life.
Try it yourself by taking care of your tackle. Keep your gear out of the rain and sun. Use zip-ties to help you skirts last longer. Try foam or plastic barriers to keep painted terminal tackle from beating and banging into each other. Maybe even add an extra layer of protection to the paint job.
And as we take better care of what we have, don’t be surprised if we start finding we have more coming our way.