Along with the rod setup, serious anglers also consider the setup of their tackle management systems. Generally, the most organized angler is the one that will catch the majority of the fish. After all, while others are still digging for rainbow trout bait in their satchels, this angler has everything at his fingertips and can change lures, bait and flies quickly, depending on need. As a seasoned hobbyist or weekend warrior, you have a number of tackle box options open to you--some of which you can even wear!
Fishing tackle sometimes consists of minute flies, small weights, rolls of various test strength fishing line and bulky bobbers. The best fishing tackle boxes have ample compartments in a wide array of sizes that make it easy to keep everything organized. An ideal tackle box is a sturdy outer shell that contains a number of interior racks with the various tackle compartments inside them.
Some manufacturers make tackle boxes that not only feature different-sized compartments, but also see-through plastic that makes it easier to select tackle.
Tackle Boxes vs. Tackle Bags
A hard-shell tackle box is ideal if you need a sturdy exterior to do double duty as a seat or small table. Depending on design and the weight you put on the box, you may be able to sit comfortably at the water's edge while fishing. Soft-shell tackle bags do not double as seats. They still feature compartments, but they usually are made from rubber mesh or soft plastic, which may crack over time or puncture from a hook. This makes it possible for some of the smallest items to get lost. On the upside, many tackle bags are water repellent and may keep your bait dry if the bag accidentally falls into the water. This does not hold true for the majority of hard-shell tackle boxes.
Tackle Box-Lifejacket Combination
As a fly-fisherman you understand the importance of having your gear on your person. While a fanny pack will do in a pinch, it does not allow for one to be as organized as one should; on the flip side, it is virtually impossible to find a tackle box that is comfortable to carry on your person while standing in a river. A practical combination is the life jacket with tackle compartments. The life vest keeps you safe in the water, and the zippered pockets allow you to easily carry scissors, a knife, fishing line, flies and other odds and ends. Often these fishing life jackets feature a number of D-rings to which you can clip any number of ancillary supplies and bags. Since you wear the jacket, your hands are free for fishing.
Stocking a Tackle Box
Once you find just the right tackle management system, stock it well. While only you know the kind of bait and gear you most likely need, there are some readily forgotten items that should be mandatory in any fishing tackle box. First and foremost, include a small first-aid kit. Puncture wounds and cuts are common while fishing and you can prevent infection by immediately treating and bandaging any injuries. Include a stainless steel knife, sunscreen and a cigarette lighter. The latter is not only perfect for starting a campfire to cook the fish you caught, but also to repair holes and tears in soft plastic bait.