Get Organized, Catch More Fish
|Managing tackle in a manner that engenders efficiency is no easy matter. But it’s one of the most important things you can do to put more fish in the boat on every trip.
“Whether you’re prepping for a trip or out on the water, scrambling to find lures, pliers or other gear wastes time and costs you fish,” says veteran guide and obsessive organizer Bernie Keefe. “Investing a little time and effort to organize tackle eliminates such headaches and makes you an efficient fishing machine.”
Keefe focuses on trout and salmon in high-country hotspots around his Granby, Colorado, home. But whether you target panfish, bass, walleyes or a multi-species mix of a little bit of everything, his organizational theories can help.
Step one is conquering chaos on the home front, which is the launching pad for every successful trip. “Tackle storage systems ranging from large bins to Berkley storage bags and pocket-sized Clam jig boxes make it easier than ever to organize your entire arsenal,” says Keefe, who groups tackle according to a blend of size, species and type for easy retrieval when packing for the next adventure.
“All my number 5 Berkley Frenzies are in one box, the number 7s are in another, and so forth,” he says. “Everything is clearly labeled so there’s no guesswork when it’s go time.” Likewise, rods are arranged by length and power. Line, too, has its specific staging area, in Keefe’s case, a preferred cupboard, as do reels and other critical components.
Besides making it infinitely easier to prepare for a trip, Keefe notes that an organized garage or tackle shed reduces the odds of forgetting essential gear. “It also makes it easy to enjoy short trips, such as when you only have a couple of hours to hit a local lake after work,” he adds. “Conversely, a disorganized mountain of tackle can be so intimidating to wrangle that it’s tempting not to go fishing at all, especially when time is of the essence.”
Keefe’s system extends to the boat, where tackle and accessories are methodically stored in easy-to-access compartments for speedy deployment. “Clients say the boat is ‘choreographed’ because everything is right where it needs to be,” he laughs. “But that’s just a simple matter of figuring out where it makes sense to keep everything, and then having the discipline to put it all back where it belongs.”
He notes that amenities such as Crestliner’s SureMount gunnel accessory system make it easy to mount tool holders and other accessories at key points around the boat, without drilling. “For example, I keep three tool holders at strategic locations, each armed with a pliers, clippers and superline scissors,” he says.
In fact, a look around Keefe’s fishing platform reveals a study in organization. To aid in speedy leader tying, he keeps a 2,000-yard spool of Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon in a cloth bag beneath the front console. Hand towels are draped over the back of each fishing seat, and the landing net rests on the front deck, with the handle leaning on the windshield, so it’s ready for action in a heartbeat.
On a side note, while anchors and their accompanying ropes merit careful storage, Keefe sidesteps such duties by relying on electronic positioning aids. “I don’t use traditional anchors,” he says. “The Pinpoint GPS system on my MotorGuide Xi5 holds the boat in anchoring mode with the push of a button. Now that’s efficient.”
Of course, maintaining order takes a little elbow grease. “During the course of the day, my boat accumulates its share of torn-up plastics, bits of line and other garbage,” he admits. “But taking five minutes to bag it all up at the end of the day, and put all the gear back where it belongs, ensures the system will be ready for another session of high-efficiency fishing when I hit the water the next morning.”
For more information or to book a trip with Keefe, visit: fishingwithbernie.com or call (970) 531-2318.