Serious anglers implement every little extra advantage on the water, in order to get a leg up on the competition and the fish. Sometimes this means tweaking a lure. Other times it means keeping that honey hole secret from other anglers.

One big way to gain an edge over the competition and catch more fish is to keep your tackle organized. Here are four tips toward that goal.

Why Clean Up?

Anglers who consider themselves to be more than weekend warriors tend to boast large numbers of baits, line, terminal tackle and other gear to help them catch fish. All this tackle and on-the-fly decisions on the water can quickly combine to create a mess in the boat or in your tackle box. Keeping things organized makes for more time fishing and a lower chance of losing or breaking something.

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Organize During the Off-Season

To make sure everything is prepared for the season and you don’t leave the house without the gear you need, it’s important to spend some time off the water keeping your tackle organized. This means taking some time during the winter to review your rods, reels, line, lures and other gear. Make sure everything is cleaned, repaired or replaced and then organized in some way that makes sense to you. For instance, I’ll take old line off my reels and even clean and lube them to ensure they’re in good shape for the season.

A Place for Everything

Whether it’s your garage, your tackle box, or your boat, a storage system is the key to staying organized. This can mean setting up a storage system at home and even distinguishing how you store specific baits. For instance, I keep hardbaits and terminal tackle in clear utility boxes, while my soft plastics are organized into Ziploc freezer bags and then stored in a large duffel bag. Heck, I knew a guy who had so many baits that he even color coordinated the duffel bags he used for soft plastics.

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Labels Everywhere

All of the utility boxes and Ziploc freezer bags in the world won’t mean a thing if they’re not labeled to let you know what’s inside. Take a permanent marker and write what’s inside each freezer bag and box. Then, organize these in your boat or tackle box with the label in such a way that you can know where to find what you need at moment’s notice. It’s frustrating to have to rummage through your entire boat just to find a specific bait and it takes away time that you could be fishing.

Photo credit: Flickr