Depending upon whom you ask, I either have several tackle boxes, or I have a lot of tackle boxes.
If my tackle box inventory needed any defense ó which, of course, it doesnít ó the fact that I have a lot of ó excuse me, I mean several ó tackle boxes is that having multiple storage options allows me to make going fishing simpler.
For example, I have one box assigned to catfish tackle. It weighs less than 20 pounds, despite that it contains a variety of hooks in a variety of sizes, lead sinkers ranging in weight from split shot to six ounces, barrel swivels, three-way swivels, leader material, floats, scales, a bait-cutting knife and various other items, probably including a few year-old protein bars. If thatís not simplicity. I donít know what would be.
My crappie tackle box, which weighs a mere nine pounds fully loaded, holds three removable boxes and has additional storage space at one end of its interior and in trays molded into its lid.
Itís roomy enough to hold all of my crappie terminal tackle while devoting one insert box to small hard plastic lures to be used if I stumble into a school of white bass.
My primary bass/walleye box is similar except it holds seven removable boxes and weighs only a little over 14 pounds.
Five of the inserts are stuffed with approximately 10 hard plastic baits each. The other two are filled with one-sixteenth, one-eighth and one-quarter ounce lead heads, safety pin spinner arms, spinner blades in several styles, sizes and colors, and at least 100 soft plastic tubes and curly tail grubs.
Even given flexibility inherent in being able to construct spinnerbaits on the water, simple mathematics indicates that the box will hold no more than 1,000 distinct lures ó a number any serious bass or walleye angler would consider to be barely minimal.
About now, the bass anglers in the audience are wondering why there doesnít seem to be room in the just-described box for larger soft plastic lures. Not to worry.
A rather roomy soft-sided carrier with plastic inserts has plenty of room for enough fake wigglers that, should I ever decide to use anything other than a black worm or a green lizard, Iíll be able to.
Last but by no means least in terms of usage is a smaller soft-sided satchel, the inner boxes and pockets of which hold the inline spinners, mini-top-water plugs, jigs, wet flies and poppers that make up the arsenal I use when assaulting farm ponds. Iíve never weighed it, but Iím sure it wouldnít hit the three-pound mark.
I do have other tackle boxes, but itís my contention that they donít count, because they serve only as storage for surplus items.
I canít imagine why anyone wouldnít be willing to take out a second mortgage on his or her primary abode in order to buy more fishing tackle.
Fairness requires that I admit there are other approaches to fishing tackle simplification.
After he semi-retired from farming, my grandfather spent the winter months in Corpus Christi, Texas, fishing for redfish and speckled trout.
The rest of the year he lived in north central Kansas, where he spent his free time fishing for catfish.
All of his saltwater tackle fit neatly into a small metal box with a single tray. He carried his catfish terminal tackle in a glass medicine bottle small enough to fit into a pocket of the bib overalls he wore like a uniform.
Isnít there a middle ground between what my grandfather considered to be simplified tackle and what I do. Yes, there is, and my father is its poster child.
Dad didnít become a fisherman until I infected him with the angling bug after he retired.
After fishing out of my tackle boxes for a few trips, he bought an inexpensive tackle box with three hinged trays. Dad had been an engineer for a TV station, so it was only natural that he would take a scientific and analytical look at fishing tackle selection.
To him, this meant not only limiting himself to what heíd observed that I almost always actually used but also to the number of hooks, weights, lures or whatever he might expect to need over the course of a typical day on the water.
I realize that his theories will sound downright insane to most anglers. In his defense, Iíd like to note that, overall, my father was an extremely intelligent man.
For example, when we fished together, he always put his tackle box in the boat, but he never opened it.
Instead, he fished out of my box, thus eliminating any worries about whether he could get a bait or lure back out of some of the big fish hideouts he tossed it into. Now thatís smart!