These days anglers are moving away from hold-all tackle boxes and moving towards smaller, individual boxes that are filled with technique or species specific items.
I have found this style of tackle organisation sensational as it allows a freedom of tackle choice unrivalled by any other tackle storage system. At home I have about 20 boxes filled with different lures, plastics or jigheads all ready to grab and put in one larger bag that I take onboard a boat.
Luckily I get to do a fairly diverse range of fishing and, with my love of lures, I find that I can go out chasing snapper in Moreton Bay on plastics one day by grabbing my jighead box and a couple of plastics boxes. Then, the next day, I can chase mangrove jacks up at Bundaberg by grabbing my small surface lure box, small shallow diver box, PrawnStar box and deep diving lure box. It’s pretty simple and means I don’t have to lug around kilograms of lures everywhere I go. It also means I don’t have to expose my freshwater lures to saltwater, which consequently reduces rust and other associated problems.
Just about every tackle box manufacturer has a range of single tray boxes that will hold your gear. What you need to be careful of is buying a good quality box, even though it’s only a small, relatively cheap item.
It’s imperative that all your boxes these days are worm proof. Worm proof boxes do not react with the plasticisers in soft plastics and therefore will not deteriorate when they come in contact with them. Having said that though, I believe strongly that plastics should be stored in their original bags, especially these days with scents and glitter added to the plastics.
I like waterproof boxes too. The reason is simple – in small and large boats there is always water spray. If the box isn’t waterproof, even if you don’t open it up, water will seep into the box and corrosion of your lure’s terminal parts will start. This is a two-edged sword though, because a waterproof box will not allow any water to evaporate out of the box, so make sure you air out the box after a trip and don’t put any used lures back into the box until you get home and wash and dry everything down.
Tough latches and hinges are a must. There is no point in buying a tray box if the latches fail or the hinges break after a couple of weeks. Make sure they are tough and come with a guarantee of full replacement if they break.
Taking all of the above into account I settled on some waterproof trays from Plano. There are two models I have found that meet all my tackle storage needs: the Plano Waterproof StowAway Utility 3740 and the Plano Waterproof StowAway Utility 3741.
The 3740 is a shallow box that measures 35cm long by 23cm wide and is 5cm deep. This box I use for all my standard lures and jigheads. It fits heaps of lures, swallows loads of jigheads and with up to 28 compartments, can be tailored precisely to your needs. The larger 3741 has the same length and width, but is just over 8cm deep. This box takes all my soft plastic bags and larger poppers and minnows for offshore fishing. It can be divided into three sections or you can remove the dividers to make one big box, which is how I have it.
Both boxes have an o-ring seal that keeps them watertight and I reckon they are great.
All Plano boxes come with a lifetime guarantee, which for a klutz like me, means that my investment is safe. Having said that though, in the two years I have been using these neat little boxes I am yet to break one.
All Plano boxes are worm proof, which means when I get lazy and throw a soft plastic on a jighead back into the box, they won’t react and leave me with an unrecognisable gooey mess. It also means that if I forget to close a plastic bag and they tip out into the box, the same gooey mess is avoided.
Because the boxes are semi-clear, it is easy to identify what is in each one at a glance. This is great when you’re packing for a trip or rummaging through the tackle bag for your surface lure box while the barra or bass or cod are boofing on the surface only metres away. The big latches are similarly valuable because when those same fish are boofing around, my shaking hands can only operate big latches.
The only real problem I have with the boxes is that smaller, bream-sized jigheads can jump trays and get a bit mixed up. This would be absolutely heartbreaking for some of my fishing mates, but I’ve got to say I am not that refined in my bream luring. If the jighead looks fine with me, then on it goes!
Since I started using individual tray boxes, I’ve found that my usual disorganised state has improved. This has made all of my fishing mates a lot happier to go out with me and it means that I can actually find what I am looking for when I’m looking for it, not two days later when I get back home.
Being organised is simple these days and the Plano Waterproof StowAway Utility boxes definitely deserve some of the credit for that.