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Be More Oganized On the Water

By Mark Romanack
Terry Kunnen of TKO Charters and Off Shore Tackle
is one of the most organized anglers I’ve ever met.
He packs an amazing amount of gear into his Lund 2025
and is ready for whatever fishing situation he encounters
on the water.

If anyone needs to be organized, it’s a fisherman. Name a hobby other than fishing that requires so many different pieces of gear and other essentials that must be somehow stored and organized? Most avid anglers have enough gear to fill a garage! Try fitting all that stuff into a fishing boat and still leaving some room to fish.
The problem with fishing tackle is you’ll only need it if you don’t take it. How many times have you had to stop at a bait shop to purchase something you already owned but left at home? Getting better organized is something every angler could benefit from. A few organizational tips makes it easier to lay your hands on essential gear and avoid having to choose what goes and what stays home. After all, an angler’s goal should be to take it all and let the fish decide what gear will be needed on any given day.
Storing long trolling rods is a major problem in most boats. Many rod lockers simply won’t accept rods longer than seven feet. Inexpensive plastic vertical rod tubes are a great way to organize trolling rods when running from one fishing spot to the next. Produced by Berkley and many other companies these rod holders are sold individually or in banks of 3, 4 and 6 rod holders. Mounted on the side of the console or near the transom of the boat, these rod holders insure that your rods won’t tangle or bang together when running. When trolling these tubes double as a handy place to store your landing net.

Ever put a dozen rods into the rod storage locker and then tried to get one out? What a mess. Cloth rod covers produced by a number of companies are an expensive way to cover rod/reel combinations that are strung and ready for action. The cloth covers the guides and line and prevents the rods from tangling. Each cover runs around $5.00 making them cheap insurance against rod damage and frustrating tangles.

Tipped over your minnow bucket lately? Minnow buckets always seem to find a way to get tipped over or to get in the way. Even if your minnows don’t spill, chances are they will be dead  before you can use them.
Mesh minnow bags that fit into you boat’s livewell are an interesting alternative to traditional minnow buckets. Keeping your minnows in the livewell allows them to be treated to fresh water, insuring the minnows will be frisky when needed.These mesh bags feature a foam float to keep them upright in the livewell and easy to get minnows as needed. When not in use the bags collapse and take up very little room. One mesh minnow bag is plenty to hold all the minnows needed for a long day of fishing. Slick!

“In-line planer boards are essential tools for many trolling situations, but storing them between fishing trips or even between trolling runs has been a problem,” says walleye pro Keith Kavajecz. “A new product known as the Planer Tamer neatly stores four planers and some essential tools or six planer boards. Designed to mount along a rod box or at the transom of the boat, this cool new product protects your boards and keeps them handy.”
The helm of the Enterprise speaks to organization and
keeping everything within easy reach. Pictured here are
two Lowrance HDS sonar units, one full screen for sonar
and the other full screen for navigation, a VHF Radio,
a Fish Hawk water temperature and trolling speed probe,
an auto-pilot, bow thruster, trolling valve and even an
AM/FM stereo for keeping the mood upbeat and fun:)
When I was in college I literally lived out of plastic milk crates. Just about everything I owned fit nicely into one of these durable and handy containers. Fishermen can find just as many uses for plastic milk crates, but one of the most handy is for storing the many Plano boxes anglers use to store crankbaits and spoons. Milk crates come in two sizes and both will fit nicely under the console of most boats. The mesh design allows water to drain out, keeping the things stored inside organized and dry. 

The things you can store in these durable containers is endless.  Milk crates are great for storing anchors, anchor line and dock lines so they can dry out after use. These handy items can also help to keep a minnow bucket from tipping over so easily. Bulky items like marker buoys, in-line planer boards and sea anchors can also find a good home in these inexpensive containers.

Hard coolers and boats just don’t go together well. Because the cooler won’t fit into dry storage compartments, they end up cluttering the floor of the boat. Soft sided coolers are ideal for storing crawlers, cold drinks, lunch or anything else that needs to stay cold. Because they can be molded into just about any shape, they fit into dry storage compartments where they are out of sight and out of the way.

An organized and water ready boat should be the goal of every fisherman.
Every angler should have a camera on board, but how do you keep expensive camera gear dry in a fishing boat without spending a fortune on a waterproof hard case? Metal ammunition cans sold at army surplus stores are the answer to storing delicate and expensive gear like cameras, flash attachments, film, digital scales and hand-held GPS units. A rubber seal in the lid makes these containers 100% waterproof and because they are made of metal they are also crush proof. Line them with pieces of foam rubber to cushion your gear and you’ll be ready for a quick hero shot every time you’re on the water.

Is your boat carpet getting thin in some high traffic areas? Rubber floor mats (the type sold at farm stores) can be custom cut to fit just about any space. These mats provide secure footing, they keep objects from sliding around on the floor and they help contain messes associated with fishing crawlers or minnows. A layer of rubber on the deck also makes just about any boat quieter. When they need cleaning, simply pull them out and hose them off.

Fishing success often boils down to being prepared and organized. Hopefully, one or more of these tips will help keep your fishing boat ship shape and ready for action. At the very least your fishing partners will be amazed they can clearly see the floor on your boat.