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Managing your Kayak Fishing Gear

We're going to talk about organizing your gear for kayak bass fishing. Basically, my gear management system is a three-part system:

1. How I keep my tackle and keep my gear in the kayak
2. How I organize the stuff I'm using on my person
3. Tools and how I incorporate my tools into my PFD.

The reason that I do that is mostly for stealth. When I get out on the water, I don't want to be stumbling around through the boat, dropping things, making a lot of noise. Because I know what happens. Generally, if you get out on the water and you know you need something but you're in a nice spot where there's a lot of big bass, you don't want to make noise so you just won't go after that lure that you need, that tool that you need or retie that knot. And if you can't get to your gear, you're more likely to make that error that you wouldn't make if everything was readily accessible.

Some of the things that I incorporate into my PFD are my line clippers on a little zinger, my gear, my scent I put on a little zinger, a line cutter, all of my tools, many of my hooks are inside here.

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The PFD that I use actually has a bridge that drops down so I can work on that bridge if I want to. And without going into a lot of detail about the specifics, just develop a system that works for you to get all of your gear where its easy to manage. The first thing that I take into account when I'm putting my tackle bag together is how I'm going to store my rods. In many situations I'm going to lay my rods down flat and I'm going to secure them underneath a bungy to prevent them from getting hung in overhead cover and structure and things along those lines.

But one of the real popular options and something that I do quite a bit especially when the environment that I'm fishing in allows it, is I use a vertical rod holder. I like to have a triple rod holder that's rigid so that the space in between them keeps the rods from becoming entangled.

I also like to apply a little bit of the Silent Traction System inside the rod holder so that when I'm standing or the boats wiggling, I don't get the tapping or banging inside the rod holder like I would if that was not there.

Another important aspect of your gear management system or your gear organization system is a way to keep all of your stuff compact. When I'm talking about stuff, I'm talking about tools that you're going to use during the day. Whether that's extra lures, extra plastics, maybe a plug knocker for untangling your favorite crank bait, things like that to keep your gear organized, wrapped away, wrapped up and put away neatly.

Simply stow it. Shove it in a pocket. And you know where everything's at, you know that everything's accessible, and you have a system for managing your gear. Coming along the side, you're going to have even more pockets. A space for plastics, extra lures, lure modification, a lighter in case you need that for survival or to, you know, to burn off a string.

And then inside my tackle box, I like to have a system that enables me to carry some plastics, you know maybe some sun protection. You can put anything you want to in here. Sunscreen, lunch... I also like to have my gear organized inside my gear. My leader is all organized inside a leader box. My worms are all organized inside of a worm bag. I've got a few plastics thrown down on the bottom just randomly, and then on top of that I've got boxes that are stowed vertically. I've got nice dividers to keep those in place. That makes it easy for me to get to the item that I need when I need it without having to dig through my bag and make a bunch of noise and spook the fish.

Another thing I like to do when I'm setting up my gear bag is I like to put some of the things that I'm going to use frequently either in my PFD or on top of the gear bag so I don't have to get inside the gear bag to get to it. Hooks, snap swivel trailer hooks, a little bit of leader, you know, what have you can be stuck in the top of the bag. Opening the bag up, we've already talked about how I set up the basic bag but one of the things I like to do is I like to categorize my lures and put them into different boxes.

I'm a big fan of the Plano boxes that are in smoke color because that limits some of the UV light that's transmitted that could damage the finishes on my lures. The beautiful things about these boxes are that they're double sided, so I can have a lot of stuff on the top and then I can also store other gear under the bottom. One thing to keep in mind is that your gear management system, the way that you take care of your stuff out on the water, is going to change, is going to continue to evolve.

Start off my taking the minimum amount of stuff that you know that you need, and evolve into making sure you have everything for a day of fishing. Just don't get caught in absolutely using the same thing all the time and review your system periodically so that you can make sure its adjusting for the season, the type of fishing that you're doing, and your needs as they evolve, your boat design evolves, and the way that you go about fishing from a kayak changes.

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