Is it easier to find tackle in a department store than in your own garage?

That's what happened to me. I had so much gear I was frustrated whenever I looked at my own tackle counter at home.

My problem was a propensity to take tackle out of my truck after a trip and put it on a pile of the tackle from the last trip.

I ended up with heaps of gear upon heaps of other gear. If I needed a certain trout spinner, it was easier to go to the store for it than to look for it between the legions of leader spools, tangles of plugs, jumbles of jigs and the plentitude of plastics.  

The first step in recovery is an admission of guilt. I had to admit I had a problem.

 "I am a disgustingly disorganized hoarder of trout gear." There, I said it.

The next step was to believe that a power greater than myself could restore my garage to sanity. A higher power like Bass Pro Shops or Cabela's. I made a decision.

I needed a new tackle box, but not just any tackle box. I needed one with maximum cubic inches, a tackle box that could be filled with removable utility boxes each organized around a specific type of trout fishing.

After an exhaustive search on the Web, I located several systems that would fit my requirements and the one I ordered was not as much a box as it was a bag, but a bag thought out for maximum storage, workspace and tool toting. Perhaps there are better systems, but any system was better than no system.

The Bass Pro Shops' XPS Stalker Rigging Tackle Bag measured 22 inches by 16.5 inches by 10 inches deep. It came with five compartment boxes. To the bag, I added three more large utility boxes and a number of smaller "go-boxes."

The ultimate use of a tackle box is to take it in the truck, bring it on the boat or park it on the dock. But I like to think I am a minimalist, even if the state of my garage begs to differ. To that end, I want this bag to function as at-home storage for a number of go-boxes that I can grab, dependent on where I'm headed and what I'm fishing for.

Once, I'd blocked out the time to organize my gear, I remembered that I had holes in waders. That necessitated a trip to the store where I picked up a Gear Aid wader repair kit. I also bought myself a handful of Rooster Tail spinners. I can't help myself.

My new tackle system, all organized and ready for the season, weighs an incredible 28 pounds. It's not going on every trip with me, but it could. Most important, it is all in one place where I can find what I need when I need it.

Spring fishing kicks in. The discipline will pay off in the tackle you won't have to buy because you already have it and know where it is. You might even find yourself fishing more, putting more trout in the net.

Gary Lewis is an outdoor writer, speaker and television host from Bend, Oregon. Contact Lewis at 

Originally Published: Jan 27, 2015

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