My physician and chiropractor suggested I make some dramatic changes to the way I schlep tackle with me.
Even in my spacious 17-foot boat, I had allocated quite a few available nooks and crannies to store many large and small tackle boxes and bags, of which was overkill.
And when my friend A.J. Paul and I would traipse around the shorelines of various local ponds and lakes, I would jam a load of lure boxes into a single tackle bag. My mindset was to never be caught short in the tackle department.
With additional hard baits, spinners, jigs and live bait rigs, it became a tiresome task lugging it all around, and ulimately I came to realize all I'd accomplished was to shackle myself with an unnecessary redundancy.
After an hour or so of catching panfish and bass, I would move along the shoreline looking for weed pockets. And of course the "hardware" came with me.
I finally made up mind to take the advice from both doctors and drastically downsize the entire mix of plastic, wood, and metal thingamajigs. Lo and behold, I stopped swallowing Advils for my aching back and began enjoying unencumbered shore fishing once again.
A.J. suggested I offer some details as to what I now use. I agreed.
Plano used to make a small tackle box that has more than enough compartments for my use, but almost any small box will suffice.
The trimmed-down lure menu includes the following:
I would have a small as well as longer stick baits (something similar to Rapala) in the various slots.
My favorite style of tempting fish to strike is with weedless topwater baits. That category could include lures that skim the surface without getting fouled with heavy cabbage or coontail. In my opinion, nothing compares to a surface water explosion scene when a fish comes up and attacks this kind of lure. Of course, in places without this greenery, the old-fashioned popper or chugger lure is the answer. I includ a small size and a larger model in this box.
Now, the reason I have both the smaller and larger versions is simple. Those stick baits are high-confidence lures for me, and those minnow imitators more often than not will cause a fish's striking instincts into high gear. But even with that highest level of confidence, I will allow myself an opportunity to switch to a smaller size to help counter a fish that acts like a stubborn 2-year-old and refuses to chase the larger variety.
This new box will house some small to medium-sized inline spinners like the Panther-Martins and Mepps.
Also required: 1/32- and 1/16-ounce Mini-Mites in chartreuse and white.
Regular jig heads in 1/8-ounce sizes are in the next compartment.
One of the longer slots will be filled with plastic worms and hooks, rigged whacky style. The next compartment over is for the pre-rigged plastic worms and ball-bearing swivels. I'll also allow for a half-dozen Lindy Rigs with No. 8 hooks, and then a totally independent slot for No. 8 and No. 10 hooks to be used for Nightcrawler Secrets rigging.
The other large slot will hold spinner and buzz baits.
Compared to what I used to drag around with me, this setup is a snap to take anywhere whether the walk is a few yards, or a few blocks.
•Contact Mike Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at www.mikejacksonoutdoors.com.