Winter Tacklebox cleaning, good or bad??

Discussion in 'Misc Fishing Tackle Talk' started by Gunner-Fisherman, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. Gunner-Fisherman

    Gunner-Fisherman New Member

    Well...there are many ways to approach this…but instead of thinking of it as the "dreaded job," I usually just start into it. Some of us enjoy going through our tackle box, but I know some that hate it. I hear stuff like, "Cleaning that thing is too much like work." One of my personal favorites is, "If I clean it and change it around, it will lose the fish-catching magic it has." Those are just two of the excuses used this time of year. But, it needs to be done, so
    (Now, I will admit that to me at this time, bigger is better. I have the Plano Phantom Pro; it is an older one that I bought around 1990, but it is a great box and it is big.)
    I first clear off a table and empty the entire contents out of the top and all four drawers. (Tip…I didn't say, "Dump all the stuff out"…very important!) This is the part I enjoy most; because as I remove things one at a time I can think back to the fishing trip when I used it last. Sometimes the case may be that I did not use it enough or even at all (then I will make a note to myself that I need to use it in the upcoming season). Most memories of past fishing trips bring big smiles…and a few not-so-big smiles… (Motor breakdown…lost a fish to a broken line…and I did not even touch on the fact that on that broken line is the favorite lure now dangling around underwater…) But enough on that, I will get back to the cleaning part of the tackle box.
    Once everything is removed, including the drawers, you want to use HOT water with a mild dish soap that is not heavy on fragrance. I take mine to the kitchen sink so I can use the sprayer and a sponge. After the box itself is clean, I then repeat the process with each of the drawers. I finish it off by rinsing it all with the hottest water the house has to offer. Then, I let it air dry upside down for a few minutes before towel drying. (Tip…do NOT use a good kitchen towel for that last part…use an old towel or a rag! My wife made that clear!)

    Next, I move to the spinnerbaits. Same thing, hot water in the kitchen sink. I try not to use any soap on these if at all possible. If I see the skirt is too bad, I just replace it. But, most of the time you can work wonders with extremely hot water and letting the bait soak for about five minutes; after that, take it out and rub through the skirt to break free each strand. Then another fast rinse and air dry. (Tip…an old colander will work great for spinnerbaits and jigs. This way, you can rinse many baits at one time.)

    Jigs are done about the same way, unless they are the older type with the feather-type skirts. These, I just rinse under warm water…I do not let those soak in hot water.

    Crankbaits (and as this site goes on, you will understand that crankbaits are my favorite lure…I fish them about 90% of the time)…not much to do on these, unless they have marks from some plastic lure burning onto them from the hot sun of the summer. So a basic hot water rinse and a good dry will be just fine. I also check for chipped or cracked paint at this time and then will repair as needed. 95% of the 90% that I fish with crankbaits, I use wood crankbaits.

    After everything is cleaned and dried, I then check all the hooks, and replace or sharpen them as needed. One good thing about cleaning the tacklebox at this time of year (winter) is that some bait stores will put hooks and other replacement items on sale, because in some cases it is just easier to replace the hooks on crankbaits rather than sharpening them.

    Lastly, I take an inventory of everything I have, and I check that against the list of everything I started with; I can see what I have lost over the season and then I know what to get at the stores or order through a catalog or over the Internet. I know, we all like to think, "Oh, I can remember that…" and then, when we are in the middle of the lake getting ready for that favorite spot, we find out we forgot "that". I am guilty of it, and that is why the inventory sheet works for me!

    So, as I write down what I have and what I need, I replace everything in the box and (most of the time) try to figure a way to arrange it to make it better…but that is for a later article…