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How to Store Your Tackle More Effectively

We featured a video with Aaron Martens earlier this year where he laid out how he stored a lot of his fishing tackle. Since then, we’ve had a lot of questions about how to store crankbaits, worms, and the various assundries an angler needs on hand that don’t all fit in the same size boxes.

That’s sort of the beauty of Martens’ system, in which he has now converted me to as well. He actually prefers small boxes as to large boxes for a lot of his tackle.

“I don’t need to carry 100 Megabass crankbaits in my boat,” Martens said. “I can carry a handful of my favorite proven colors for various water conditions in practice. Then as I dial in on a specific pattern or color, I can go to my truck and reload the box with just the color I want. Most of the time I won’t lose a crankbait or sometimes as many as two in competition any way.”

When I asked Martens why boxes and not bags for plastics, I got a similar story about just being more efficient with his time on the water.

“Six years ago, I would have these huge bags and inside those bags would be hundreds of smaller bags of plastics in tons of different colors and shapes. What I finally realized was I’d get down in the boat digging through bags and bags for 5 or 10 minutes at a time and get totally off track from what I was doing. Now I store my plastics by type and shape and then I just grab that one box, open it, get what I want and I’m back fishing in seconds instead of minutes. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but you do that 10-20 times a day and now you’re talking about hours lost of fishing time.”

It’s really a solution to several problems on the water — lack of organization and lack of time. By being more modular, you can put the right stuff in the boat for each trip depending on season and body of water you’re fishing. If you’re like us, you fish in several states, on several different types of fisheries, several times a season. So being modular has really helped us with always being prepared.

And since everything is organized and labeled we spend more time fishing and less time digging to see what else we have to trick the fish. We’re big proponents of keeping lures wet, and you’re not doing that when you’re sitting down in the boat hunting tackle or retying new lures.

We’ve found that we generally throw just a handful of plastics in a handful of shapes. You can store those easily and neatly in larger 3600 and 3700 size boxes. That way you’re assured to have plenty of whatever plastic is working at the time but still have a few options.

With hardbaits we also store some in the bigger boxes but we’re becoming more fond of the shallower 1-inch boxes and the smaller length and width boxes as well. I don’t need 100 chatterbaits. I need like 5 or 6. I don’t need 100 swim jigs. I need 10 or 20. I don’t need 20 Storm Wiggle Warts. I only need a handful because that is a very regional, situational type crankbait.


For terminal tackle, storing small pieces in small boxes and then keeping those small boxes in bigger boxes seems to really do the trick. We can store all our bullet weights in a box 1 1/2 inches by 3 inches. Then put those boxes inside a water proof tub. Martens showed us how he used a small box that he remove the handles, hot glued the holes and made it water proof and he can carry all the small items he needs like hooks, drop shot weights, bullet weights, rattles, clips, swivels, split rings, treble hooks, pegs and more.

In a lot of cases, smaller is better for tackle boxes. I’ve found that I’m often hopping in the boat with friends, pros, guides and other folks on various bodies of water. Storing a lot of tackle in smaller boxes makes it easy to grab a handful of baits I know or have been told will work on a certain fishery and go. I don’t have to try to cram 8 big boxes in a bag. I can bring 20 little boxes and they still take less room.

I’ve found several boxes particularly useful thanks to Martens’ advice.

Plano 3449 – This box handles small crankbaits, poppers, chatterbaits, jigs, lipless baits, etc.

Plano 3450 – A box great for a bit larger baits up to about 4 inches and has six slots

Plano 1050 or Flambeau Tuff Tainer 1002 – This one is perfect for holding small hooks, bullet weights, drop shot weights, treble hooks, rattles, pegs, snaps, swivels, split rings.

Plano 2-3500 – Great for all sizes of baits. It’s nice if you have a few key jerkbaits, crankbaits or topwaters you want to keep handy at all times.

Plano 3601 and 3701 – These boxes are barely an inch thick but hold a lot of tackle without a lot of extra space. Great for bulk plastics.