Soft plastic storage can be a bit of a pain. They’re cumbersome and heavy compared to their life expectancy. If you get on a good flipping bite, you could go through 2 or 3 packs in a day. So the tendency is to keep a lot of soft plastics on hand. And doing so makes for a crowded boat or tackle bag.
It’s also hard to keep soft plastics true to form. If you consolidate the contents of several smaller bags into one large ziplock for instance, then the baits have a tendency to get all jumbled up and develop memory that contorts their original shape. But if you keep the baits in their original packs, they again become pretty space consuming.
The biggest key to storing soft plastics is to minimize what you have on hand in general. There are thousands of bait and color combinations out there. You can catch 99% of the bass you would catch otherwise using a handful of baits in just a few basic colors. So find a half dozen baits that you have a lot of confidence in, then grab a few packs of some variation of green pumpkin, black and blue and a couple more tried and true colors and now you’re ready to store them.
Soft Plastic Storage | Option #1: Bait Binders
A bait binder is basically a little tackle bag that holds multiple ziplocks, much the same way your binder holds sheets of paper, with the exception that these can usually be zipped up. Bait binders like the Berkley Soft Bait Binder 1490 are handy whether you’re in a big boat, fishing from the bank, from a kayak or as a co-angler.
You can group your baits into sub-categories like worms, trailers and craws and have a binder for each, or consolidate even further to have all your soft plastics in one binder if you’re just going on a day trip. You can also leave most baits in their original package this way, which I recommend with any type of soft bait storage.
In the past, I tried to take soft plastics out of their original packaging and store them in trays. One issue with that, baits like boot tail swimbaits would lose their form without their rigid clamp-shell packaging. But the main issue, it’s not practical while fishing. It’s much easier to pull a pack out and keep it in your pocket so there’s another bait readily available. And if you leave the box on deck so you can grab a bait quickly, the sun makes them soft and you’ll go through several more baits than necessary.
Soft Plastic Storage | Option #2: Big Bags
Another really popular way of storing soft plastics is in big ziplock bags. There are actually several companies in the fishing industry now making these oversized, thicker bags with a more durable zipper than what you might find in the grocery store — Bass Mafia Money Bags and Fitzgerald Fishing Ultimate Storage Bags just to name a couple.
These bags allow you to dump a pile of baits into one bag if you wish, but remember to ensure the baits aren’t the type that will easily lose their form and you’re giving up the ability to stash a pack of baits in your pocket on the water. Or you can use these to store several packs in their original packaging which I recommend. The benefit to these bags over the binders is that you can quickly identify what’s in each bag without opening anything or looking for labels.
Soft Plastic Storage | Option #3: Tackle Boxes
This is actually my preferred way of storing soft plastics. I like to keep a fair amount of soft plastics on hand while still keeping it pretty basic. I also fish primarily from a boat, and boxes like the ones I use stack and store well. You can also use these same size tackle boxes to efficiently store hollow body frogs, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and other lures in their original bulky packaging.
So what kind of box is best? I actually wrote a story a little while back for Anglr where I revamped my soft plastic storage in a budget conscious way. In that piece, I used some cheap plastic containers off the internet that packs of lures fit into perfectly, but over time the containers warped and I found the lack of a latch and hinge system became a bigger issue than I originally thought it would be.
I have since found the Flambeau 4510 Double Deep Half Tuff Tainer and have been really pleased with it. I use these boxes to store soft plastics as well as hollow body frogs in their original packaging without wasting much space. The boxes have a hinge, clasp and even a handle and they stack well. Each box also comes with three dividers in case you want to combine a few styles of soft plastics into one box.
There are countless soft plastic combos out there now and dozens of ways to store them. These three work well depending on how you fish and the type angler you are. If you only have two or three baits you really like and you fish primarily from your own boat, the big bags may be the best bet. If you find yourself between the bank, the boat and a kayak, the bait binders will come in really handy to keep a little bit of everything on hand.
If you’re like me and you like to keep not only your soft plastics but also several other baits in their original packaging, large tackle boxes like the Flambeau 4510 are ideal. However you fish, you should be able to at least use a variation of one of these methods to become more efficient in the soft plastic storage realm.
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
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