Tackling Tackle Boxes

Fishing Gear Tips
Fishing Tackle Boxes

Bass anglers have a unique set of circumstances when storing lures because of the variety and shapes of their baits. Bass fishermen have everything from crankbaits with multiple hooks to plastics, spinnerbaits, jigs, A-rigs, jars of pork, etc. Is there one tackle bag/box that can organize and store this profusion of lures?

One of the secrets of a successful bass angler is organization. Just as Kevin VanDam. No angler pays more attention to details than KVD, and his performance proves this point. The all-time money winner in professional bass fishing, KVD didn't get to the top by chance. Like other sporting legends, KVD earned his success by mastering the details of efficiency and organization. In VanDam's case, organization is a cornerstone to his effectiveness on the water.

The angler joined with Plano to improve an already outstanding tackle option - the Plano Elite Kevin Van Dam Signature Series Bag. The result of the most recent brainstorming exercise between KVD and Plano is the most advanced tackle sorting and toting system ever to grace the bow of a bass boat. More than a canvas bag with pockets and plastic containers to toss tackle into, it's a beautifully conceived carryall that puts everything in its proper place and at the ready.

The Elite Kevin VanDam Signature Series Bag sports a molded top containing two StowAway™ utility boxes held securely with elastic tie-down straps for quick access to lures in immediate demand. Hard, plastic utility boxes are ideal for storing crankbaits and jigs. A transparent zippered pocket beneath the cover is a great place to store maps, licenses, or a phone, which can easily be seen with just a flip of the lid. The bag's colossal compartmentalized front cubicle and sizable side pockets store gear and sundries like extra reel spools, energy bars, and trolling motor remote controls – items other tackle bags don't have room for.

Slots on the outside of the front and side pockets are ideal for keeping tools like pliers and cutters at the ready. A large mesh pocket on the back holds additional items such as soft plastic bait packs or smaller StowAway utility boxes. Of course, the bag's interior holds three included 3700 Series ProLatch™ StowAway boxes, providing maximum capacity for loads of lures.


If you’re a more serious angler or bass pro, one tackle box or bag will not meet all of your needs. Spinnerbaits, because of their configuration, present a unique set of circumstances. “I use the Plano basic 3600 and 3700 Stowaway boxes for the vast majority of my storage, but there are certain applications where other choices are better,” said bass pro Joe Balog. “For spinnerbaits, the best model for me is the 370704. It has the same footprint as a 3700 - so it fits in my built-in boat storage - but it holds spinnerbaits snug. I like it. The whole thing about storing spinnerbaits is that you’re storing air with most boxes. Storing air is wasted space.

“The 37004 is great because it keeps skirts separated, which isn’t as big a deal now that skirts are made of silicone versus rubber as they were in the past, but it’s still important. With the 370704 box, the arm of the spinnerbaits snap into place, so the blade is held securely and is not banging around, potentially chipping the head.”


Placing baits in boxes isn’t practical for soft plastics when carrying tons of worms, tubes, etc., like most serious bass fishermen. “I use Plano’s Speedbags. I like them because you can stuff them with bags and bags of worms, zip them up, and go. The Speedbags fold over to make access to the lures easy. Normally, I keep plastics in the manufacturer's bags because it contains the scent most plastics are impregnated with. Storing plastics in a Speedbag also keeps them straight, which is important with baits like flukes or tubes.”

Crankbaits create a unique set of storage needs and problems. These baits can be short and stubby or long and slender with fat square lips or have elongated bills. “The regular 3700 Stowaway boxes may be only capable of storing 15 crankbaits, whereas I might be able to put 75 crankbaits in the deeper 3710 box. If you’re a weekend angler, 15 crankbaits might be enough, but if you’re tournament fishing, you want to have every possible lure at your fingertips,” Balog said.

Plastic boxes let you customize your storage needs by placing dividers to accommodate long, sender or short, fat lures and getting four or five lures per slot instead of just two. Storing crankbaits effectively prevents tangled hooks, too, when precious seconds count.

If you’re on the water, things are going to get wet. Forget about those wet boxes, and the next time you fish, a bunch of rusty hooks might greet you. “Last year, I experimented a bit with the Hydro-Flo boxes.

I like these. They have holes throughout the box that allows airflow. Last year, I tested a box like this by getting it wet repeatedly and storing it in my boat for the entire summer and fall. The tackle inside (tube jig hooks, etc.) never got rusty. Also, for saltwater applications, the entire box can be hosed off and allowed to dry. The chances are good that I will be using these boxes a lot more in the future,” Balog said.


Storage issues are not restricted to just lures. “I’ve always been a big fan of Plano’s waterproof storage for big-water applications,” said Balog.

“I use the Plano waterproof cases for storing a bunch of things like a spare hub kit for my outboard, spare bilge pumps, cameras, a jumper box in case of dead batteries, etc. These boxes are virtually indestructible. I believe they have polycarbonate lids you could drive a truck over them.


Plano recently sent me one of their new 161960 Plano Marine Trunks. The trunks are perfect for anyone that needs secure, watertight storage. The trunk has a water-resistant O-ring seal, molded grooves for easy stacking, recessed handles, and tie-down brackets on each end that can be used to lock the box, and they’re strong enough to sit or stand on. They do a great job protecting your gear from water and the sun’s harmful rays.

Mine is currently packed with inflatable life jackets, electronics, lure boxes, and an underwater camera. Come waterfowl season, I can see the trunk storing blind bags, ammo, camo cloth, extra gloves, dog treats, etc. The trunks are available in three sizes to meet a variety of any sportsman’s needs.

Customizing your storage needs is an excellent way of staying organized, and Plano has plenty of options.