If you are a big game fishermen, this question has most likely plagued you more than a couple times. In this article, I will break down the common fallacies that I have seen over the past 25 years of big game fishing and it has taken me this long and I still continue to solve them. I will also discuss the do’s and don’ts of terminal tackle storage.
One of the biggest issues, especially when venturing out into an area of an Ocean like Magdalena Bay that holds everything from huge numbers of Wahoo, to Grouper, to Cow Yellowfin Tuna, striped marlin, blue and black marlin, dorado, and so many other pelagic species, it is difficult to guess what the day will bring. The key to success in both catching more fish and lowering stress levels is to prepare separately every style of lure and terminal tackle into separate bags. You might be thinking – that’s sounds expensive? And it can be, but think about a few things. 1) How much are you spending to enjoy your fishing trip, fuel, travel, tackle, boats, captains, etc and 2) it in fact will be comparable, or usually less expensive over the long run.
Let me explain. But first, consider the boat, the length of the trip, and the potential target species then coordinate your bags. Let’s start with species:
Wahoo Trolling Example:
Prepare a bag with MagBay Lures Desperado Series, Braid Maurauders, Yo-Zuri Bonita, etc or some combination of them all. Prepare a 6-pocket bag with 6 lures of varying color already rigged with wire connection and ready to clip on to rod swivel. If you have favorite colors and are afraid you will lose or break one, bring a back up bag pre-rigged with your favorite color Wahoo Lures in this same style.
Prepare a second Bag with your heavy lead heads like the MagBay submarinero series, wahoo bombs, etc pre-rigged of course with wire and ready to go.
Now you have 2-3 bags (we are only on Wahoo) ready to rock and roll and switch lures on the fly. Change colors, grab a new one, etc. No time wasted tying, crimping, or rigging on the water that is in my honest opinion is a cardinal sin and those who disagree are blasphemous. Ok, went a bit overboard there, but you get the point.
Marlin / Dorado Trolling:
Have another 6-pocket bag pre-rigged with appropriate fluorocarbon sizes and lure sized for the target fish. I like to have 2, 6 pocket bags with smaller resin heads like MagBay Refraction Jr and a Bigger one so I have 12 lures ready to pick and choose anytime. I always like to make sure to have a Black Bart 1656 and mini 1656 angle as well as at least one or two massive action jets. Mother of pearl is preferred by me in the head for reflection.
Tuna / skipjack / etc Trolling:
Another 6 pocket bag pre-rigged with both flouro and wire (in case the wahoo are thick) of tuna feathers, small jetheads, small resin heads, etc. In this bag I generally like to have at least 12-15 pre-rigged lures.
So, If I add all this together I have about 5 Lure bags for trolling alone. This might sound like a lot, but believe me it isn’t. What’s a lot is digging through tangles in 2 big lure bags that have circle hooks, lures, crimps, and who knows what else to try and find the right lure you want to use or replace a broken one. This can cost 10-20 minutes easy during prime fishing time just messing with the tackle. Go with the 5 bags, put them all in one master bag and choose which ones you need and then put the bag back. Keep these bags organized only adding or removing the same lures to the same bags throughout the day. Like most I learned this the hard way, but I am here today to tell you this is the holy grail. There is no other way, spend the time and money upfront and enjoy your day on the water.
But actually, 5 bags isn’t all – now probably you plan to fish with bait and cast jigs. For this I like to add on 2 more bags only. (Jigs can be a bag or box, up to you, but only jigs in there, no extra hooks, weights, line, or swivels.) I prefer bags for everything, I left the box idea long ago and have never felt better. Boxes slide around, tip over, hold water inside, etc. But for some reasons on jigs with treble hooks, they can be a better option for some fishing styles, up to you.
Then we get to hooks, leaders, swivels, weights, rigging needles, rigging thread, these are easy. For your fluorocarbon leaders, have them all rigged and crimped and ready to go, different lb test, fitted to different hook sizes. In this same bag have wire rigged and crimped to use for shark or wahoo bait, etc. These can be in in a square leader bag, rather than a lure bag as well, but the important thing is have them all ready to pull from their bags, no more rigging.
For all the terminal tackle pieces like tie on swivels, hooks and weights, I like to use one more lure bag. Yep, the last one. You might be thinking….jeees that’s a lot of lure bags, but if you are an avid fishermen, go look in your garage, I bet there is some sort of a fishing mess in there. Wouldn’t you rather go look in that 1 duffel bag that has about 8 smaller bags and that’s it. Rather than this box and that bag and this cardboard box and this drawer and this plastic container oh and that coolwhip Tupperware has some more hooks…..STOP IT. Do it right and be done, I spend 20 years tinkering, I decided to stop and have never felt better. Its kind of like having only one style of sock, easy to find and put on.