The Importance of Winter Cleaning and Organization of Tackle

Is your fishing gear a mess? Clean and organize your fishing tackle using these MWO tips. Get your rods, reels, line & lures ready for next season.

A long season of fishing is coming to an end, and your boat is being put into winter storage. While it may seem like a time to take a break from the rigors of angling, now is the time to inventory, clean and get your gear ready for the spring season.

Getting organized can be a tedious process, but it will be a productive one. If you have children who enjoy fishing, get them involved in the process. The first thing is, pull out all the bags of baits you have purchased throughout the year, that were shoved into various storage areas. This is where the kids come in handy; they love looking at each bait and organizing them into piles. It is also a great time to teach your kids what the baits are, how to use them and why they work.

Fishing tackle inventory methods

When you take the time to inventory your gear, you 1) realize what you purchased and forgot about, 2) have an idea what you need to replenish for next year, and 3) find those long-lost bait you meant to try, but they never made it to the top of the pile. Inventorying your baits is just as important for a fisherman as it is for any business inventorying their products.

Organizing your baits can be a little time consuming, but it will be a very efficient use of your time after the first go-‘round. Having a basement wall with pegboard allows you to spread things out and keep a running inventory of your most-used items. Another thing this accomplishes is reducing weight in your boat next spring.

Like all boat owners, we tend to want to take entirely too much tackle with us. I was shocked the first time I really unloaded my boat storage compartments and organized all my baits. I had bags and bags of clearance plastics that I completely forgotten about. The worst part was realizing I had been purchasing multiple baits, at full price, when there were a half-dozen more already in the boat I had gotten in clearance sales!

Clean and organize your fishing tackle: Rods & Reels

Second, pull out all of your rods, check them for issues, make any necessary repairs, and clean them up for the next outing. If you are like me, you have two dozen rods stuffed into the rod locker, and have likely forgotten about the one setup that backlashed, was thrown in the bottom of the locker, and has not seen the light of day since.

Winter is the time to repair, respool and lube your reels. That should not be done while out in the boat next spring. Realizing you may need to replace that reel or rod could save you money, too, as most of the big box retailers, and boat shows which occur in late January or February, will be having pre-season sales.

Also, take the time to retie all those knots when you are not in a hurry. You may also realize that you have three poles with the same bait tied on. I use the backside of the bait pegboard to store my rods. With a row of pool noodles zip tied to the back, I cut halfway through the noodle every four inches to hold the rods. When completed, you have an effective rod rack that takes up nearly zero space.

Clean and organize your fishing tackle: Baits

Next, make a list of items of baits you are low on. Over the next two months you will be bombarded with new products, clearance deals, and relatives asking what you would like for Christmas. Having that information in your wallet or purse will help you to remember quickly what you can use. For example, I visited a retailer, and it was clearing out a particular crankbait because it was a discontinued color. They were 50 percent off, and I knew I had a few, but was pleasantly surprised when I noticed they were on my list to grab. Essentially, I cleaned them out, and still have a couple left, even though it has been five or six years since that purchase.

Also, I have asked for different fishing baits off the list as gifts over the years, so that my nieces or nephews could learn about fishing. Having them go to the store and find specific lures makes it a treasure hunt for the kids, and you do not end up with a fish tie for the third year in a row. The kids loved the challenge, not realizing I was introducing the fun of fishing to them at the same time.

Getting organized is something we do in nearly every aspect of our lives, so it only makes sense to do it in our outdoor pastimes. Using these organizational tips will save you money. and make you a more efficient fisherman in the long run.

For more ideas on organizing your tackle, follow this link.