There’s all sorts of ways to store tackle now. Companies have spent millions in research and development over the decades to bring us the latest and greatest in tackle storage solutions, and at times I still see folks using the cardboard box the baits came in to store them. Not knocking that, I’ve done it myself and still catch myself doing it at times.
But I’ve found that developing a system for storing tackle, hard baits in particular, has really helped me stay organized and keep a good inventory of what I have on hand. This not only ensures the baits are readily available when I go looking for them, but I’m also able to assess my inventory quicker and order more of a certain lure if I’m running low. And the particular way I store most of my hard baits also does a great job of protecting my investment. So let’s dive into what that looks like.
A deep, waterproof tackle tray
I personally like to start with a 3700 deep tackle tray with a waterproof seal. These are great for storing lots of baits and the seal ensures that no moisture will get it. The latter is extremely important since water is the number one enemy for hard plastic baits. Even the slightest bit of moisture can cause the split rings and hooks on a bait to rust and corrode and make for a real mess, especially when storing several baits together. So starting with a quality box is important.
Treble hook caps
I like to use a fairly open box, with either no walls at all or sometimes just a few dividers. Taking the walls out makes it a lot easier to pack several baits in one box, making the most of the investment you’ve made at this point in a quality box. But without the walls, you’ll need some way to keep the hooks of the baits from getting intertwined. This is why I use treble hook safety caps. These do a great job of not only keeping the baits from being a tangled chain of twenty lures when I go to grab one, but they also keep me from getting hooked and keep the hooks from scratching the baits while they’re bouncing around in the box.
Inevitably, some moisture is going to get into the box, whether it slips your mind and you toss a bait back in the box a little too soon, have to open it up in the rain or even live in the South— where the humidity alone at times is thick enough for the moisture in the air to begin the rusting process. Basically, no matter what, a little moisture is going to get in. This is why I like to throw a rust inhibitor into each box. Several companies make products like these, including Flambeau and Bullfrog, and they do a great job of preventing rust from that little bit of moisture that inevitably gets in.
A couple other choices and final thoughts
This previous method I just laid out is how I store most of my hard baits like squarebills, lipless crankbaits, topwaters and jerkbaits. But for large crankbaits in particular, there is one other box I really like called the Cranking Coffin, by Bass Mafia. This box also has a waterproof seal, and it has 44 cavities where deep diving crankbaits can stand straight up. This box protects the baits well and keeps them separated and easily accessible. Bass mafia also has a pretty neat Jerkbait Coffin that you might like to try out for jerkbaits and longer topwaters.
The Plano Edge Series also offers a whole new take on storing hard baits, with several options that look like they’ll be good for protecting and separating squarebills, lipless crankbaits, topwaters, jerkbaits and other hard lures. But I haven’t personally used any of these boxes yet. Instead, I’ve stuck primarily with the system that has served me well over the last 5 or 6 years.
With a good deep 3700 tray, a couple packs of treble hook caps and a rust inhibitor, I can safely store dozens of hard baits and rest assured they’re not getting scratched up or rusting. And when I go to tie one on, I know I’m not going to be fighting a tangled up mess for the next 20 minutes. So if you’re looking for a great way to store your hard baits, give this a try and let us know what you think.