It’s around this time of year that I take a hard look at the mound of tackle bags and boxes I have in my garage and have a serious heart-to-heart chat with myself. Do I really need all this gear? The answer is usually, “sure I do”.
Now, in my own defense, I do fish both fresh and saltwater. And I fish for a variety of species from crappie to tuna. Each warrants its own category of hooks, lures, and rods.
For the uninformed, it may look like I have a sporting goods store in the garage, but when you dig a little deeper, I’ve got a couple crappie rods, a few bass rods, and striper gear for freshwater; and similar gear for saltwater expeditions. In pure numbers, that’s a lot of stuff. But if someone said, “you can only fish for spotted bass from now on”, that would significantly diminish my stockpiles.
When it comes to tackle, the reality is I probably only use about twenty percent of what I have hanging around. I’m not adverse to trying new tactics or tackle, but I typically fall back into using what I have confidence in.
There was a time when I carried as much ‘stuff’ on the boat as I possibly could fit in it. And I wound up spending a lot of extra time just loading and unloading gear…that never came out of the compartment on a fishing trip. A few years back, I made the active decision to carry two medium-sized tackle bags for a day on the water. Between the two, I have eight medium-sized trays, six zippered pockets, and two top pouches. Believe it or not, that’s a lot of stuff. And I’ve learned to work out of one or two of those trays at a time. I’ve got everything for bottom fishing in one tray. Jigs in another. Plastics in yet another. And so on.
Now, I spend more time fishing, and less time digging through compartments for tackle that’s buried beneath other tackle that I seldom use. The net-net is I’m more efficient at re-rigging, or if I decide to change out lures or rigs, I know exactly where everything is.
Like a lot of bass anglers, I prefer to have rods pre-rigged with what I anticipate might be appropriate for the day. Now that my rod compartments are no longer over-stuffed with tackle boxes, I have the ability carry a couple extra rods. When the conditions change or the fish decide they want something different, I don’t have to re-rig as often.
The lesson here is “Less is More”…at least in my case. I’ve learned to carry what I need for the day in just a couple tackle bags. And by limiting what I have on the boat, I believe I’ve actually become a better angler. With fewer choices, I tend to select rigs that I have confidence will produce a strike, and I’ve learned the keys to working lures and rigging baits more effectively.
The side benefits are pretty obvious too. With less stuff, it’s quicker loading and unloading gear each day. And I’m not tripping over tackle bags or other stuff on the deck. The only thing I haven’t found a solution for yet, is how to ‘downsize’ my 128 pound, four-legged buddy…Buck the Wonder Dog. Then again, he could probably say the same about me.
Tight lines and calm seas.
Capt. Cefus McRae & Buck, The Wonder Dog