How to store fishing tackle

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THERE'S nothing worse than opening up an expensive box of jig heads, lures or hooks that you’ve forgotten to maintain them and are left with a useless pile of rusty metal. Lures and terminal gear can cost a pretty penny so I always follow a pattern of washing down and caring for my lures and terminal gear after each trip to safeguard the longevity of my investment. This mean ensuring ensure they’re clean, corrosion free and ready for use at any time. I hear many of my mates complaining about rust setting in pretty quickly and having to discard terminal gear after every second trip however with some simple, routine preventative maintenance you can extend the working life of your hooks, swivels, lures and other terminal items significantly.

Store used items separately
On my boat I have a small tub on the dash with holes in the bottom that I use to temporarily store any used lures and terminal tackle. Once an item has been used, it doesn’t go back into the original tackle box – this minimises the chances of contaminating the clean gear with any bait, blood or salt water. By segregating your used tackle, you can also take a close look at it at the end of the day to see which colours/patterns worked well and how the tackle held up generally.

Wash with warm or hot water
Warm to hot water will dissolve salt crystals much more quickly than cold water so it pays to wash down any terminal with some hot water. I was first shown this trick by a marine mechanic who took the cowling off my outboard and after seeing some salt build up, then boiled a kettle and poured the hot water on the salt; it literally vanished and ever since I’ve been using hot water to dissolve any salt build up. Using a shower head is ideal for the job if you can get away with it but failing that, hot water from any tap or partially boiled kettle will work a treat.

 
Keep lures separate, especially plastics which can react and create an awful mess.

Segregating different lures
This one caught me out recently where I mixed different brands of soft plastics in a tackle box and next trip out was met with a slimy mess of melted lures! The plasticisers in certain lures react badly with other lures and in warmer climates this process is accelerated. To be safe it’s best to keep soft plastics of one brand and style together and away from others. Better still; keep them in the original packet they came in! You should also clean your tackle box of tackle trays periodically because a stray fragment or leeching of the plasticiser onto the tackle tray can be a silent lure killer if unnoticed. All it takes is a small amount of residue to wreak havoc on your new lures so it’s best to err on the side of caution and clean out your lure trays often and especially if loading it with new lures.

 
A spray of a protective coating will help prolong the life of your tackle.

Protective coating
I’m a big fan of maximising the longevity of hooks, jig heads and other terminal gear so will give my tackle boxes a good once over periodically with a protective spray. I personally like to use either a silicone spray or if stuck a light cooking spray also works a treat. I haven’t found any of these to detract from catch rates and when used sparingly, they don’t leave any significant residue. Pliers, scissors and other tools will also get the same treatment whilst filleting knives are always washed, dried and sprayed with cooking oil to ensure the blade doesn’t develop any rust spots from long term storage.

Keep lures out of direct sunlight and heat
Sunlight is another killer of lures and can distort lures or create permanent kinks in lures that are bent or jam packed into a tight box. I try to leave lures out of direct sunlight when out on the water. In a boat that means keeping them in a tackle bag that’s stowed or in a shelf or compartment that’s out of the sun for quick access.

If you do happen to find a few soft plastic lures that are kinked, from exposure to heat or simply because they’ve been like that from day one, you can use the heat to your advantage to help straighten them out.

Some lures have a low melting point so you need to be careful but if you use a pair of tongs to dip the bent plastic into a cup of boiling water for a few seconds you should find that the plastic will wither start to straighten or can be manipulated back to the correct shape. After the lure is back to its normal shape, dunk it in some ice water to help it retain the new shape.

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