The Tackle Bag

By: Capt. Rob Modys

I usually have all the items needed close to each other for easy boat loading, and I also keep a checklist on my cell phone, so as not to forget anything important. Let me tell you, that list has saved me quite a bit of pain and aggravation over the years. I generally pre-rig my rods with the basics, so that when I reach my intended destination, I’m ready to make that first cast without hesitation. It also comes in handy if I run across surface signs of feeding fish along my route. And then there’s the tackle bag, complete with trays and trays of lures, one or more of which I’m hoping will be a winner at some point during my day of fishing.
Years ago, when I first started fishing the salt, and later when I began my fishing guide career, I’d pack the boat with not one, but several tackle bags, along with extra tackle trays. There was also a special bag in which I carried line, leaders, packages of various soft plastics, pliers, line cutters, knives, and anything else I thought would be needed that day. Yes, during that one day. All this stuff on an eighteen-foot skiff. Probably fifty pounds worth. Along with rods and reels. My boat resembled a small tackle shop!
Over time, I began to notice that I was only using about one tenth of the tackle and supplies I had packed for a day of fishing. I also noticed that the lure, jig or hook I’d tied on before leaving the dock was pretty much that same gear that I removed from my rods on my return to the garage. Hmmm.
What I learned as I continued to individually evolve in the sport of fishing was that we anglers tend to lock on to the tackle that we have a great deal of confidence in. These items have worked in the past and we believe they will continue to work just about every time we go fishing.
And that, my friend, is mostly true. While variations of the lures we’ve used continue to improve, they are still, basically, the same. Same style, same color, same size and mostly the same action.
As my time on the water increased, my tackle arsenal decreased. I slowly, but surely, began to eliminate most of the unusual, strangely- colored items, and carried with me only those that had proven themselves over time.
Of course, there was a small package of new items purchased on the recommendation of friends. “Hey Rob! You have to try this! It really catches fish!” And it really didn’t. At least it didn’t for me.
Currently my fishing supplies are contained in one tackle bag with only what I need for the day, and that isn’t much. Heck, I carry more water and munchies now than tackle.
I’ve taken the saying, “Keep it simple, stupid” to its highest level. The reduced tackle load is much easier to organize and handle, with the added bonus of much better on-the-water gas mileage.