As a tournament angler, one of the most important things for me to consider in my preparations is tackle and gear storage and organization. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of a school of quality tournament fish and not be able to cash in because you’re fumbling around looking for your “secret weapon” or the “right color.”

I have three main categories of tackle that make their way into my boat when I hit the water.

1. Terminal Tackle

This consists of varying hook styles such as Tx rig, flipping, swimbait and finesse, and weights such as Tx Rig, Carolina Rig, Dropshot etc. Other essentials include shakey heads, ball and chains, keel weighted hooks, Jig heads and Fish Head Spins.  

I am in a Pro Angler 14 so I utilize the tackle storage system that is located between the seat and the 180 Mirage Drive. The two Watertight Plano boxes that are supplied work perfectly for this. These items never leave my boat. I know what’s in them and where they are at all times.

2. Soft Plastics

I typically keep things pretty simple in my plastic selection. That being said, I use two medium-sized, soft-sided tackle bags with numerous compartments to keep things organized. They weigh about 20 pounds each when fully loaded.  

I separate by bait style into individual compartments. With a sharpie, I write what is in each pocket on the outside of said pocket. I typically stow one of the bags under the seat in my Pro Angler and the other directly behind the seat.   

The last thing you want is to be in the middle of a school of quality tournament fish and not be able to cash in because you’re fumbling around looking for your “secret weapon” or the “right color.”

3. “Everything Else”

Most who know me on a personal level would probably call this category “crankbaits,” but I assure you that there are plenty of other types of baits and items in general that make their way on my boat. For the remainder of my baits, I store them in your average-sized tackle tray.

The body of water that I’m fishing will dictate which tackle trays make it into my boat. This is where a good crate-type storage device comes into play. This is essential to hold my trays and rods. I’m able to organize my boxes in the order that I think I will need them. I do the same with my rods. I will typically place the rods I plan on use early in the day closest to me and go from there as the day progresses.

Being organized and having proper storage can make your day on the water much more successful by optimizing time, lowering stress levels by knowing where everything is located and keeping your mind on the task at hand.   

– Ryan Herzog, ACK Hobie Prostaff