On more than one occasion, I’ve hopped into another person’s boat and witnessed soft plastic chaos. By this, I mean rod lockers and dry storage heaped with a mishmash of lizards, tubes, ribbontail worms, and every other soft plastic imaginable.
In the world of tournament fishing where every second counts, this sort of disorganization will result in missed opportunities due to wasted time digging and searching for the right bag. Worse yet, chances are greater of running out of hot items. Nothing is worse than that!
One simple solution is to carry fewer varieties of baits. Personally, I can’t do that. With all of the bodies of water I fish, from Lake of the Woods in Canada to the Pascagoula River in Mississippi, I need a wide selection to match the many different situations encountered. This includes different species (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass), water colors, water clarities, and forage bases. These variables all have a bearing upon the ultimate selection in soft-plastics.
Use A Six-Pack Cooler
As a result of my stubbornness to carry less, I’ve come up with a decent way to manage my wide assortment of soft plastics. In my boat, I’ll bring several soft-sided coolers with zippered tops and pocketed sides. These containers are where I store the bulk of my soft plastics. The coolers I choose are the ones sized for six-packs, and each one will contain a certain type of plastic. I have one for jig trailers (plastic craws and chunks) and another will have nothing but tubes. The third will carry your typical ribbontail and curltail worms, while the fourth holds straight worms and soft jerkbaits. At times, I’ll also carry one for just for lizards. The zippered top makes for easy transporting; while the pocketed sides are handy for storing small, accessory items such as hooks, nails for “wacky-rigs,” rattles, and so on.
I actually possess more plastics than what these containers will hold so between fishing trips, I take time to “tweak” my selections to suit current fishing conditions. Certain plastics never leave these coolers, such as Walker’s black/red-flake tube or Berkley’s Black/Blue Power Craw. However, many — such as small finesse worms or oddball colored plastics — fill small niches that I only occasionally experience. These plastics are culled in and out of my coolers. By the way, all my plastics stay in their original bags for ease of identification.
I do supplement this storage system with the flat, clear Plano tackles boxes. This is partially due to the configuration of my boat’s dry storage. It is specially designed to accommodate these Plano boxes. In them, I carry uniquely styled plastics that never leave the boat. Included here are Zoom’s Brush Hogs and Yamamoto’s skirted grubs. Depending on your boat’s storage configuration, you may prefer to use more coolers.
This organizational method may or may not suit your needs, but at least do something if you’re at all concerned about maximizing your fishing time. Most people that have seen my system have agreed that it keeps things well organized (they also think I have too much stuff!).
For a fine assortment of fishing gear, click here.
Jim Moynagh writes a twice-monthly bass fishing column on sportsmansguide.com. Visit Jim on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sportsmansguide?v=app_6009294086&ref=ts#!/pages/Jim-Moynagh/167413610047622?fref=ts He is a FLW touring pro, and a former Forrest Wood Open Champion with multiple top 10 finishes. In 2012, he finished in fourth place for Angler of the Year honors. He also finished in fourth place two-straight times in FLW events in 2012. His expertise is deep-water structure fishing for large and smallmouth bass. Jim’s sponsors include M&M’s, All-Terrain Tackle, Chevy Trucks, and Ranger Boats.