We've all been there...
It's ok - no one's judging you here... ;)
But now what?!
There's only *so much* room on your kayak [without making it impossibly heavy] so how do you decide what to bring??
Or better yet - how do you organize it???
Grab your tackle, and lay it out in front of you.
Now, think about things like, what season is it?
How are the water conditions?
Is it extremely hot or extremely cold?
In other words - what do you actually need???
Now that you've thought about it...
Time to get honest with yourself...What will you actually throw???
Hopefully, you've cut that big, honkin' pile in half!
Choose your storage unit...
My storage methods have varied widely since I began kayak fishing a few years ago, but for the last 6 months, I've been using the Flambeau Tuff Krate Premium
It's not a *perfect* storage crate right out of the box, but with a little bit of tweaking, it's pretty awesome!
When I got mine, I added 65 lb. braid wraps around where the latches attach to the box, because they had a very bad tendency to pop off if they weren't aligned perfectly.
I also added paracord hinging to the bottom compartment to keep it upright when opened, so the top compartment doesn't flop over backwards - putting it at risk for breaking open, and dumping my gear into the water.
Here's what my setup looks like:
I keep very important stuff in a dry box - things like a spare truck key, my Leatherman Skeletool, Ibuprofen, an Allen key and spare pin for my kayak, etc.
A small bag of terminal tackle that hasn't been opened, and things that I want a fresh pack of for tournaments (like my favorite hooks).
A small tackle box with really specialty terminal tackle things that I don't use on a regular basis, but things that I can use to repair or enhance lures - like small willow blades.
A large ziploc bag with my digital fish scale, headlamp, and a power bank with charging cords for my phone.
Another large ziploc bag with a pair of cutting pliers, tournament tags and sharpie, electrical tape, and a spare headlamp.
My main compartment is essentially the "meat n potatoes" of my gear.
It stores my Humminbird Helix 5, small terminal tackle box, main tackle box, and ziploc bags [full of bags] of soft plastics.
When it comes to soft plastics, I've tried quite a lot of different ways of storing them on my boat, and this is the most effective way to tame them (so far).
I have tried keeping them in tackle boxes, small ziplocs, in their bags and loose in my crate, in a heap under my seat, and binder-style - but they were all too cumbersome, and took too long to find what I needed.
What makes this method effective, is that it separates everything by category, and then only holds *so many* bags.
When it comes to soft plastics, a big thing that I've noticed is - having more of them just makes it harder to find what you want - which only takes away from the time you've got a line in the water.
Divvying things up into bags makes it much faster to find a specific bait - and helps keep me from carrying an extra 57 lbs. of soft plastics that I don't actually need at the moment...
Speaking of "less is more"...
Organize your tackle in a way that works for you, without overwhelming you.
Here's what the inside of my tackle box looks like:
I've tried carrying multiple tackle boxes, categorized tackle boxes, small tackle boxes, BIG tackle boxes, and this setup is something I kept going back to over and over again - eventually I stopped fighting it, and now this is how I carry my lures.
The biggest thing to this entire system, is that you have to stay dialed in to the bite.
I do carry a little bit of everything on me at all times, but this time of year, I'm going to carry quite a lot more swimbaits on me than I would in heat of summer.
Could I carry a little more or a little less gear?? Sure.
Would either of those benefit me? Maybe - maybe not.
I'm a creature of habit, and the more repetitive I am about a process, the faster I become - and that's what's important to me.
I don't want to be in the middle of a tournament, frantically going through boxes and bags, looking for the things I use most often - but can't find - because I decided to fill my boat with a whole bunch of stuff [because it's what's popular right now].
Really, it comes down to being honest with yourself, knowing what your strengths are, and understanding that you really don't need EVERY piece of tackle you own to catch some good fish.
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