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Fishing Tackle Bags

Trade in that old box for a tackle management system.

By Gibbs Milliken

Granddad’s old metal compartment box now seems antiquated compared to the latest tackle management systems. New soft-sided bags do a better job of organizing, transporting and protecting every imaginable type of fishing gear. We owe this change to the Plano Molding Company and its translucent plastic storage boxes, which set a standard in lure containers. These 14-by-9-by-2-inch durable polypropylene units are used as a modular system to keep items accessible and untangled. Most artificial baits and terminal tackle fit neatly into individual compartments adjusted by movable inserts. The newest improvement in this design is the Plano Waterproof StowAway Box that has a continuous O-ring and long latches on three sides to form a moisture-resistant seal. ($5.99, Waterproof Box, #3740, Plano Molding Co., (800) 874-6905, www.planomolding.com)

The covering of most tackle bags is a durable nylon fabric that holds the rigid plastic boxes stacked in vertical or horizontal order with accessory pockets and loop retainers to hold other gear. For a day on the water, you simply select and carry the boxes that contain the baits, tools and rigging you expect to use for that time and place.

The BassPro XPS 370 Bag is one of the largest and best-designed carriers. It has four horizontally stacked standard 3700 series boxes divided by gliding inserts that allow removal of lower boxes without the upper containers falling down. The top compartment is padded for accessories, and expandable side pockets can hold additional boxes. It even sports an external hardcover eyeglass pocket, a folding knife case and individual tool loops to keep things in handy order. ($59.99, XPS 370 Bag, #38-421-207-00, Bass Pro Shops, (800) 227-7776, www.basspro.com)

The Shimano Convertible Bag is two-in-one. The padded top section, with adjustable dividers, protects delicate reels, camera and film. The upper bag unzips to leave the lower unit as a separate tackle box holding six horizontal storage boxes and room for accessories in two roomy side pockets. This tight-fitting system with foam-padded walls has a durable nylon construction and is easily transported. ($82.99, Convertible Bag with six utility boxes, #SHM706B, Shimano, (800) 833-5540, www.shimano.com)

Specialized bags, such as the G. Loomis Binders, are designed to carry specific types of lures. They have 10 zip-locked, thick plastic inserts held by rings to carry an assortment of soft-plastic lures. Larger Monster Bags are also available. The thick rubber grip makes it easy to grab the bag, quickly sort and rig just the right pattern for that lunker bass, speckled trout or redfish. ($24, Jumbo Worm Binder, #LMS-140E, G. Loomis, (800) 456-6647, www.gloomis.com)

Expensive rods and reels need good protection in transport. The Mountain Cork Triangular Rod Case is designed to fit any 7-foot two-section spinning, spin-casting or bait-casting rod with reel attached. This is a well-made case for easy carrying and storing of your favorite combination. ($44.99, Rod Case, #12344, Mountain Cork, (801) 280-1400, www.mcsports.com)

Some anglers prefer compact slim nylon bags with wide shoulder straps such as the Offshore Angler Reel Cases. Designed for large reels, the moveable dividers allow these cases to double as light totes for fishing gear, cameras or portable electronics. ($49.99, Offshore Angler Reel Case, #38-401-002-00, Bass Pro Shops, (800) 227-7776, www.basspro.com)

Depending on how serious you are about fishing, multiple tackle bags can be a good thing. Few of us ever have enough room for a growing collection of baits and accessories. And, it is certainly a good idea to keep fresh and saltwater gear separated in different bags for that spur-of-the-moment trip. Size requirements and personal taste play a large part in the selection of a tackle bag. It is best to opt for a size larger than you now need. Who can resist buying several packs of a new scented lure with a vibrating rattle found to be scientifically irresistible to most fish?

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