Even the finest fishing boat can lack enough rod holders, fish-box capacity and tackle stowage for hardcore anglers. As a charter captain, I’ve devised a trio of tackle-stowage solutions: portable, transitional and permanent. Adopt these according to your situation. Future articles will address rod and fish stowage.
Tackle bags, such as those manufactured by Bass Pro Shops and others, provide six to 10 clear tackle boxes, as well as pockets for sunglasses, shears, wire cutters, pliers, knives, leader wheels, hooks, gloves and more. I suggest creating optimum tackle-box mixes and tailoring your inventory for the upcoming day’s trip. At day’s end, portable tackle bags pack up neatly and take up minimal space for the ride home. If you have built-in tackle stowage on board, portable bags are a welcome addition and give you more of the right stuff to successfully leverage sudden angling opportunities. Waterproof models are worth the premium charged for them.
Consider transitional tackle stowage as a semipermanent home in a dedicated spot for your once-portable system, which can easily be removed if that space is required for other endeavors. My current MarCeeJay (No. 14) is an EdgeWater 228 CC that employs portable and transitional tackle-stowage strategies. The dry stowage area under the bow seat is equally split between safety gear and fishing tackle. A low-profile square crate (under $10 at Staples) keeps eight Plano 3600 tackle trays, two 3500 boxes and a few leader wheels organized and ready for deployment. This is complemented by a 1-gallon bucket full of assorted lead sinkers; a small waterproof Pelican box for soft-plastic imitations; plus a pair of Plano’s 3700 snap-lid waterproof tackle trays for pre-rigged hooks, leaders, snaps, swivels and other essentials. Two more crates stocked with shark leaders and tuna trolling lures are kept out of sight under the console’s roomy head area. When I need them, they are there, and when it’s time to use the head, they are brought on deck to free up space — transitional. Supplemental tackle needs are brought aboard via portable tackle bags neatly stowed in the head area until needed and easily taken home.
This becomes a part of your boat’s real estate, but many creative solutions exist to use every square internal inch of your vessel’s unused space. While many optional tackle upgrades on a new boat are typically too small and too expensive, one of the leaders in intelligent aftermarket storage is boatoutfitters.com. It currently offers hundreds of stock face-mount (topside), interior-mount (in the cabin or head) and free-standing tackle-storage solutions. Prices range from $100 to a few thousand dollars, with plenty of solutions in between. Another way to solve your tackle-storage challenges is to enlist a local service. I reached out to APF Marine (apfmarine.com) located in Hauppauge, New York, to custom-design some cool tackle stowage crafted from King Starboard marine lumber.