Tackle Organization

Mike Iaconelli reveals how he prepares for a tournament by organizing his tackle. Learn some great tips in this video!

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Hey BassResource fans.  Mike Iaconelli back here with another Ike's Bass Class.  We've got an interesting topic to talk about and the topic is organization.  It's organizing your tackle, organizing your boat, and, more importantly, preparing for a tournament and preparing for a fishing trip. 

And I'm big on this.  I'm a stickler on this topic.  I almost sometimes even take it overboard but I want to go over with you the techniques I use to organize my tackle to prepare for a tournament or prepare for a fishing trip and hopefully it'll be able to help you out a little bit.

The one thing that I want to get into before we even talk about how I do it is what preparation really does.  And I think there's something that goes even deeper than just organizing your tackle and what happens when you're preparing ahead of time and when you're organizing your gear, what you're really doing is, you're mentally preparing for the event or for the trip. 

So when you're a month out, or a week out, or the night before the event, and you're preparing and organizing your tackle, mentally what you're doing is you're going over the day of fishing in your head.  You're preparing yourself mentally for what's going to happen.  That in itself is super important and you're kind of presenting scenarios in your mind of how your trip is going to play out, of how that tournaments going to play out. 

And that's good because it's preparation and again it's something that puts you a little ahead of the curve before you ever get to the lake so that's important in itself .But organization to me is important because what it does, for me, it does two big things on the water.

And the one thing that it does is it saves on time.  It's a way to create time management on the water and so it's the same.  If you're a tournament guy, you know how important every second and every minute of that tournament day is.  You've got eight hours and you don't want to waste a minute of those eight hours.  If you're a weekend fisherman and you get one or two weekends a month to go fishing and you know how important your time is and you want to go out and you want to be able to catch them and you want to catch fish and you want to fish.  You want to do the important thing, which is get your line wet.  And so time management is one important thing of preparation. 

The other factor which may be more important is confidence.  And confidence is so important in fishing and having confidence that you've got the right gear and you know how to get to it quick and you know where it's at.  That's important.  I've seen so many guys that they're pulling their hair out and you see every hatch in their boat open and they're frustrated and they can't find what they're looking for.  And that takes away from confidence.  So preparation is really important. 

And what I do is I really try to break things down in a way that I can identify it quickly in my boat and then get to exactly what I'm thinking about.  So that's my goal in preparing my tackle. 

And so I basically do it two ways, based on whether it's a hard bait or a soft bait.  And again, this is, I want to preface this by saying this is how I do it.  If we go and survey the 99 other Elite pros, I bet you you'll get about 98 different answers, but this is what works for me over the years.

So I've got my tackle separated by hard baits and soft baits and in my hard baits selection, I use a standard size Plano, box or a Flambeau box.  Generally what guys know is the 3700 size.  It's a pretty standard size box, clear plastic box, and in that box, I organize my hard baits by category.  And so I'll go ahead and create these different boxes based on the category of the hard bait types. 

So I've got a box of suspending jerk baits that are shallow suspending jerk baits.  I've got a box of suspending jerk baits that are deep suspending jerk baits.  I've got a box of top waters.  I've got poppers.  I've got another box that are walking baits.  I've got my crankbaits separated from weight baits to shallow divers to medium divers to deep divers to extra deep divers and see, you get the picture where I'm coming from. 

And in these boxes, I'll actually then go ahead and organize the sections within the boxes, usually by colors and by brand types.  So in my medium diving crankbait box, I've got Rapala D-T 10s and in that box of Rapala D-T 10s, I've got one whole row of parrot chartreuse color baits, I've got shad colored baits, I've got crawfish colored baits, and so on and so forth.  And again, I do that through the entire line of hard baits and then as a final measure, I'll get and take, I basically will use just these very generic, you can get them at office supply store, labels.

And they're labels like you use on a filing systems and I'll get a black sharpie and I'll put one on the top of the box and one on the side of the box, the upside of the box and I'll label with a black sharpie what's in that box.  Medium divers, medium diver D-T crankbaits.  Shallow diving weight baits.  Deep diving Husky Jerks and so on. 

And again, I'm able to organize and create a system that at a glance, when I open that hatch, I can get to exactly what I want.  I go one step farther for my hard baits for tournaments.  I actually create individual boxes that I call easy grab boxes that are specifically for a tournament. 

I'll give you an example.  Right now I'm talking to you in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on the way to the Texas Toyota Bass Classic.  I'm fishing a tournament on Lake Conroe and for this event, I created a separate box that I labeled Lake Conroe and in this box, I took what in my mind through research and through my history on this place, I believed I was going to be throwing. So then I went, from all those individual boxes and I pulled the baits that I believed I was going to be using at this event. 

So I've got a couple wake baits, a couple shallow divers, a couple deep divers, a couple top waters, and I've thrown them in this Lake Conroy box.  So, especially for practice, now I have this master box of things I can get real easy.  And again, think what it's doing.  It's giving me confidence, it's saving me time.  Even in practice, it's saving me time to get to the stuff I need.  So that's hard baits.

And soft baits, I do it a little bit different.  In the soft bait category, I'm a big believer in using something called a ziplock and I use ziplocks and I use soft duffel bags to carry these plastics.  And so I've come up with this system over a lot of years.  And it's sort of like the hard baits but a little bit different.  And what I do is I'll go to a camping supply store and I'll buy duffel bags that are different colors and so a lot of these places you can find very inexpensive generic duffel bags that are different colors. 

And so I'll get, and these duffel bags give you an idea or about the size of an average gym bag, like a duffel gym bag you'd take to the gym with you.  And I'll get a black bag and a blue bag and I'll get a red bag, and a yellow bag.  I'll usually have about four or five of these bags.  And each colored duffel bag, I'll put a soft bait category.  And again, I'm doing the same thing. 

So let's say in the red duffel bag, I decide to put all my soft plastic worms.  And so then I'll use the ziplock bags to put my bulk worms in.  So let's say I have a hundred count of blue fleck power worms.  Then I've got a hundred count of sapphire Havoc Devil Spheres.  And then I've got a hundred count of Gulp Wacky Crawler in watermelon.  And all these worm types, I'll put in the red bag.  And so again, I do this for every category. 

So in the yellow bag, I'll have soft stick baits.  And the blue bag, I'll have creatures.  And the black bag, I'll have tubes and grubs and so on and so forth.  And again, what it does is it gives me a system that when I'm out there practicing or tournament fishing or fun fishing, when I think of something, if I'm going down a bank and I'm going, "Oh gosh, man I, this is the perfect area to fish a creature bait." 

And I know my creatures, that's right my creatures are in the blue bag.  And I go to the blue bag, I open it up and here are my creatures.  They're in 100 counts or 50 counts in ziplock bags.  I pick the color I want, I pull it out.  I get to fishing.  If that bites on, I don't just have 10 baits in the boat.  You know how quick soft plastics go.  I've got a 50 count or a hundred count and I can get a day or two of fishing in and catch a lot. 

So, I know everybody out there's scratching their head, thinking gosh this seems like a lot of work, and it seems pretty anal, but these are the techniques and, again, the big picture is all this preparation is going to help you get to the lake.  You're going to be prepared, you're going to be more settled, you're going to be more confident.  And ultimately that's going to make you a better angler.  Mike Iaconelli here with BassResource to tell you be organized!  Be organized.  See you later.

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