How To Organize A Tackle Box Easily 2023

One of the biggest obstacles that a fisherman can face is trying to find their favorite lure in a poorly configured tackle box. When you have a box full of interlocking treble hooks, mixed up terminal tackle, and pieces of fishing line all inside together, it makes finding the lure you want to use very hard. Not only that either. Reaching into a crowded box or bag is also dangerous. It is very likely that you can stick your hand on a hook right past the barb. For a million and one reasons, you should have your tackle set up in a way that is efficient, safe, and preservative.

How to organize a tackle box is a skill that every fishing individual needs to have and get used to. Getting one set up properly it’s not that hard to do so as long as you follow a certain template. The best way to organize a tackle box is not set in stone. How you should do it depends a lot on how you fish, what fishing lures you own, what tackle boxes you own, how much money you have, as well as how your mind chooses to correspond on the water. It will be different for everybody.

Tackle Organization Methods By Species – Recommended

The most popular way of organizing tackle boxes is by sorting them in a way that targets a certain species of fish. For example, if you are targeting largemouth bass on your day, you shouldn’t have a couple of bluegill or perch lures in your box with you. They would just take up space in your arsenal and you will never use them. Instead it is always best for most people to set up certain boxes to catch certain fish. This way is much more efficient and user friendly.

Sorting Tackle By Technique

Depending on how far you want to go, you can also sort baits into categories. You can keep a lot of similar baits together so that you can grab one when you will be doing a specific type of fishing technique. That’s an example, many anglers who fish hollow body frogs also have a frog box. It is nothing more than a container full of hollow body frogs. Many of them are from different brands, have different color patterns, and maybe even different parts entirely.

The good thing about having this though is that they’re all finished pretty much the same and the same rules apply to fishing all of them. When you have them all together, you don’t need to carry around many other fishing lures with you just to find the topwater you want to use in other boxes. Keeping baits that require the same fishing technique together will make it that much easier since you don’t have to change rods, reels, or lines to fish them right. I recommend this.

Keep Similar Sized Lures Together – Its Easier This Way

Soft plastic fishing lures in the trunk of a car.

It should be a no-brainer but it is always helpful to mention that it is better to store similarly sized fishing lures together rather than apart. This can also avoid a lot of confusion when you want to tie one on. Storing small jerkbaits with much larger ones can result in damage to your hooks and even the baits themselves as it relates to scratches, durability, flotation, hardware failure, and even how it swims. This usually applies to every single one that has any amount of exposed hooks. This also includes terminal tackle. All of your sinkers, hooks, swivels, jigheads, clips, split rings, and bobbers need to be stored only in a place of similarly-sized gear.

If you fail to do this, you can become disorganized very easily and waste a fair amount of time. this is no good when you should have a line in the water catching fish. Taking the time to be organized first actually saves you in the long run when you’re not constantly having to pick through the pieces. Don’t mix a pound a piece shark sinkers with ultralight crappie jigheads. There is no reason for them to ever be together to begin with. Instead you should store those sinkers by themselves in a package that contains multiple weights of approximately the same size of sinker. Not only does it cut down on clutter but it also lets you put your hand on it.

Pair Bait With Similar Designs Together When Capable

There’s a very simple rule of thumb to follow as it translates to mixing brand names and similarly designed products together. Most fishing lures and brands generally go well together in storage. There are things you should do especially. Do place your crankbaits with other crankbaits. Do store your spinnerbaits in a box loaded with other spinnerbaits. Certainly go about popping all of your poppers into a popper filled box. The reason for this is simple. Efficiency.

If you have everything  together, you know exactly where it is at exactly what time you decide to pick it up. This technique is actually not that specific either. This is not a highly specialized technique for organizing the tackle box it is actually very standard. Do not be afraid to mix and match until you find something that works for you. There is a reason why every good fisherman does this. All in all, it just depends on how specialized you want to be on organization.

Organizing Lures Based On It’s Intended Forage

It is very common to want to match the hatch so that you get bit more often. The problem was this especially in clear water is  being able to pull out the bait you want and it actually match what the fish are eating. It is not very hard to pull out a bait that looks like a bluegill once you have went through every single one you have. Sometimes, it is very beneficial to have a box or two dedicated to matching the hatch on one particular species of forage.

Minnow fishuing lures lined up and sitting on a table.

To help you visualize, imagine that the predators are consuming yellow perch. If this is the case, it is no doubt that you want to tie on a yellow perch duplicate as soon as you get to the water. After that, you spend the next of many minutes looking for that one single option because you know it is somewhere buried within the rest of your stuff. Also, the reason you’re looking for is because it is the only perch mimic option that you have on hand. A better option would be do you know this information beforehand. You should have bought more lures to be safe too.

It would be a lot easier to have a tackle box dedicated to replicating yellow perch. Put everything in there. A couple of deep divers with perch patterns, a few swimbaits, jigs and soft plastic paddle tails that are colored correctly, some lipless crankbaits with perch paint patterns, and a few spoons or spinnerbaits with that deep olive color  and darker green vertical stripes. It is much easier to select one from here rather than not having a designated place especially if you already know the food. Once you do, catching fish becomes that much easier because it naturally helps.

Designing A “Brand Bucket” Box – No Intruders Please!

Designing a brand bucket box is actually one of the most specialized and specific ways to store your fishing tackle.  It is not for those who prefer to be minimalistic. It is also not for those who tried to consolidate their money on any given trip. This usually means taking a certain make and model from a certain manufacturer and filling the container up with only products from that manufacturer. If you like Rapala, Mr. Crappie, Zoom, Strike King, Kopper’s, it doesn’t matter.

This can boil down to having only one design fill the box or it can be an entire collection of the manufacturer’s signature gear. One way this is different from most other ways is because it does not cross lines or areas with other manufacturers. Depending on the manufacturer, organizing a tackle box this way is very expensive and may take up unnecessary space in your backpack or on your boat. This is the way to do it when you are sure that you have a favorite brand picked out.

What Items Should NOT Go Inside Of  Your Tackle Box?

As you continue with this section of the post, please understand something before we continue. We are not suggesting that you refuse to bring any of the items on this list. Merely, we are saying that they need to be brought with you in a location separate from that of your fishing lures. In other words, we are saying that they are still essential and you should always keep them within arm’s reach. You probably shouldn’t store them with the lures though. They wreak havoc.

However, we believe that keeping them in the same location as your fishing baits are a hindrance and an annoyance to your success on the water. Not following this advice can result in problems that you may prefer not to deal with why you are trying to reel in the catch of a lifetime. If you decide to go the other route and do the opposite, it is your choice to do so. We just believe that every angler wants to be the most efficient they can be when they fish.

Fishing Pliers

The very first contender on the list of things you shall not store with your fishing lures, is your precious pliers. Look, we are not saying that you can’t. They are yours and they belong to you. Do what you like. We are just saying that there are many, many, many problems that can go wrong if you do just that. If you would like an explanation, here it is. First, most people prefer to grab their pliers to remove the hooks out of every fish that they catch.  This means that they will be opening the box to remove them every time. There is no point in doing this at all.

Old and rusty fishing pliers on a table.

This increases exponentially the chances of you hooking yourself instead. If you keep them in your pocket all day after, why not just keep them there to start with? Also, you can damage your very precious pliers by  causing  them to hit the sides of the container as you walk. Not only can you damage the finish, but it is also possible to damage other components such as  the jaws and hinges after enough abuse. These are best transported in your pocket, in a hip holster, or a neck lanyard. Also, a busy day of catching will likely mean that your pliers have enough abuse already.

Fish Weighing Scales And Tape Measures

Everybody who expects to catch fish bigger than a pound probably has a tape measure and fish weighing scale of some kind. These are specific pieces of equipment to measure how heavy your fish is as well as how long it is. With that in mind, do not keep them in a tackle box or store them there. These are to be kept in a safe place only and they shouldn’t be transported with your fishing baits. You can ruin the batteries or electrical components of the machine with time.

Electrical scales that run on batteries can damage your fishing hooks with the electrical currents. Also, in the chance you want to use it, you will have to dig it out again. Do yourself a favor from the start. Store your tape measure and your weighing scale in your boat or kayak. If you do not have either and you are a bank fisherman, carry them in a separate compartment than your tackle is located in. I normally suggest a fishing backpack to get the most out of my time.

A Knife

Carrying a knife in The Tackle Box is one of the worst things you can do. Just a blade by itself can damage many things. If you have soft plastic baits and a pretty sharp knife, expect the blade to slice right through them with enough movement. Also, fishing hooks can get stuck in your knife handle. If it is made of rubber or silicone. This should apply to both fillet knives and pocket knives.  Make sure to keep your fillet knife in a safe spot by itself and make sure to keep your pocket knife well in your pocket. This way, they are always ready to use when you need them.

A pocket knife with a wooden handle on top of a wooden table.

A First Aid Kit

Deciding to keep your first aid kit inside with the rest of your tackle is a bad idea. With many fishing baits and sinkers exposing you to lead, things can go south very quickly if you need to quickly treat a cut and open your tackle box at the same time. Not only that but you do not want anything that maybe on your baits to contaminate your sterile items. This is not something that should ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, go in a tackle box. In any event that you ever need to use it, you want it in arm’s reach and ready to go. It should be a part of your emergency fishing kit.

Bug Repellent

Why you shouldn’t be too concerned about damaging anything as relates to bug repellent, there are two main reasons why you should never carry this in your tackle box. The first smell.  If any of this chemical spray gets transferred to any of your fishing lures for any reason, you can forget ever catching fish on it ever again. No fish in the right mind would bite it. Second, some insect sprays contain ingredients that can cause your hooks to rust or your plastic baits to dissolve. Definitely carry it on you in another place.

Food And Drink

I have not met a fisherman yet who does not like to eat or drink when they are out on the water. With that in mind, there is a lot that is different between carrying a beef jerky stick and water in your box versus a bag of cheese puffs and soda. The type of food that you decide to carry will have a heavy influence on how you should store it. Food items such as non perishables, consists of beef jerky, trail mix, and  dehydrated fruit and vegetables. Most of the time these are okay to carry anywhere you wish. If you want to put these in your tackle box, go ahead.

Where you need to be careful as when you get into the salted potato chips, soda, chocolate, and anything with acid. A bag of chips can easily burst when put under enough pressure. If the contents of the broken bag are salted in anyway, you risk damaging your fishing hooks as well as lure finishes. Soda is also something you need to watch out for. The last thing you want is a diet Pepsi covering your baits in artificial sweeteners and loads of salt. Soda and most soft drinks generally have a degenerative effect on fishing tackle because of how they are designed.

While soda can be used to clean toilets, make sure it never has the option to leak inside of your boxes for this reason. Chocolate is not directly harmful but it is a mess you will never want to clean up. In the sun it can melt easily but once it hardens up, that’s it. You will have to melt it off of your box and all of your baits to get it off. Try your absolute hardest you can to avoid putting food and  drinks in the tackle boxes. There’s also the chance that fish can smell what is on your fishing bait and get spooked off. They make lunchboxes and coolers for a reason.

Organizing A Tackle Box Summed Up Easy

To be very direct and to the point without causing catastrophic confusion, you are in  complete control when it comes to how your fishing baits are stored in your boxes. Although the most efficient ways normally vary from person to person, we suggest that you store your baits with similar ones. Try to store square bills with square bills and jigs with jigs. If this is not possible, it is recommended to store everything on the basis of catching the species and what you were going after. Ultimately, no way is right or wrong and it is up to you to find out what works based on experience and the amount of fish caught on your setup. Try it out and let us know if it worked!

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8 thoughts on “How To Organize A Tackle Box Easily 2023”

  1. I love how you’ve explained everything so clearly on organising tackle boxes. I’ve learnt lot about different baits and lures. I can see why it’s important to only have the right bait for each type of fish. Are they able to distinguish colors and shapes of each one? Also, it’s interesting to learn fish can smell bug repellent. This is something I would never have realized and may have scared them away!

    • Hey Kathy and yes. Shape and color does absolutely matter to catching fish. If you need something, feel free to let us know!

  2. You do suggest great things to keep in your tackle box, keep things paired always so that way you won’t get lost in your own tackle box. We learned something new in this article, we love to fish all the time. Fishing is comforting but not when you looking for something in the middle of a catch and your tackle box is looking like a spiderweb.
    Going to share this with as many people as we can these are great tips for even pro fisherman.


  3. Thank you for putting together this comprehensive guide David, this is really informative! I haven’t been very active as a fisherman since I was much younger and back then my tackle box was pretty small and bare. But even with my limited gear I did my best to try and keep things organized. A lot of what you mention above seems to really focus on ‘planning ahead’ for your success and I’m all about that. And like you said, there isn’t one right or wrong way to organize your tackle box, but I like the options you’ve laid out and the logic behind it. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise, this guide is very helpful!

    • Oh yes. Planning ahead especially on the water is just more saved time. We are glad that you liked it. If you need anything, tell us.

  4. Hello David,

    What a great and detailed article on how to organize a tackle box.
    You not only answer the question on how best to stay organized when on water but addressed the overwhelming question as well- exactly what should I take?

    It does require finesse, after all.
    Thank you for this post.


    • Hey Femi. Thanks for the kind feedback. It is welcomed and I am glad that it helped out. let us know if you need anything else!


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