Soft plastic baits can be a real pain to store at times. I’ve tried just about every way you can think of to store them, and all have their pros and cons. What I’ve learned is that there isn’t necessarily a perfect way for all anglers to store all soft plastics. Instead, it’s a spectrum where some soft plastics are better stored one way instead of another. And some ways of storing soft plastics benefit certain anglers more than others.
So today, we’re going to look at a few different ways to store soft plastics and outline which anglers each storage technique benefits the most based on how they fish. Let’s get to it.
Combining packs -
Early on, I tried dumping a bunch of soft plastics of the same type and color into one big ziplock bag. Keep in mind, I was fishing from a big fiberglass boat. It seemed to make sense to me to do it this way. This would eliminate a bunch of packaging and ensure that I had a plenty of the baits that I’d want to use. But I found this created more problems than it solved, at least most of the time.
When I’m fishing with soft plastics, I’ll typically go through several in a day. It’s not uncommon to look at the floor of my boat and see 20 spent baits in a pile by the end of the day. When I put all the baits in one big bag, I would typically leave that bag in the compartment instead of having it on deck and risking blowing it out of the boat on runs. So I was constantly having to walk back and forth for a bait. It’s much easier to keep a pack of baits in my pocket and just get a new pack after going through those.
There are a couple rare occasions where I’ll still combine lots of soft plastic baits in a big bag, and that’s when I’m using particularly large soft plastics that won’t fit in my pocket anyway or when I’m punching and I know I’ll be going through several baits and covering lots of water on the trolling motor. But usually, I go with this next method.
Grouping original packs -
I like to take either a large ziplock bag or a cheap plastic storage bin and store several packs of the same soft plastic in them. This allows me to have multiple color selections of the same bait as well, which isn’t possible if I were to combine all the baits in one big bag loosely. Now I can still grab a pack at a time and put it in my pocket, but I have a good storage system and know exactly where to look when I need another pack of baits. This also helps me keep an accurate inventory of what all I have on hand, and I can order more of my favorite baits when the stock gets a little low.
This helps me save money by keeping me from having to pay inflated prices that you see at local tackle stores sometimes. Storing baits this way works well for me fishing in a big boat, but this is also a great system for anglers who are fishing from the bank, a kayak or the back of the boat and are only able to bring a limited amount of tackle. If you keep the majority of your tackle stored this way at home, you’ll be able to find what you need for each trip a lot easier.
In trays -
I rarely store my baits like this anymore, but that is because I fish from a big boat a lot. But for the anglers fishing from the bank, kayak or back of a boat, this is what I would highly recommend. Taking a tray and combining a pack of soft plastic sick baits, flukes, lizards and trick worms into one box will ensure that you have a good variety of soft plastics on hand without having to carry 20 - pounds of plastics around. Then, between each trip you can restock from your well organized inventory back home and you’re ready to go again.
These three techniques for storing soft plastics may not be revolutionary, but what you’ll find is that often the best solution is the simplest. Don’t overthink storing soft plastics. There will always be some slight drawback to any method. But keeping the baits in their original packages and organized in groups of packs works well in a big boat and wherever you store the bulk of your baits.
Keeping a few of the essentials on hand in a tray works well for kayakers, bank beaters and co-anglers. And though it’s rarely beneficial in my opinion to lump a horde of soft plastics in one big bag, there’s a time and place for everything. Hopefully this piece will help you sort through the clutter and dial in the method that’s right for you.