For any avid angler, building your collection of baits can be a point of pride. Some anglers even get tackle delivered to their door every month! Bringing someone into your garage, onto your boat, or out on the water and showing them the awesome cranks, plastics, and spinners you’ve collected over the years is a chance for you to show off your experiences. Too often, however, anglers just toss their bait in a box or on a table, and come back to find dried plastics, rusty hooks, or cracked crankbaits.

The proper way to store your baits can make a huge difference in the longevity you’ll get on the water from them. Store them properly, and your favorite fish-catchers will last years. Throw them in a bin like dirty laundry, and they’ll be lost or broken before you have can even say “fish on!” Anglers have invested a shadload of time and money into their equipment, so it is important to maximize their life. Here are a few tips to avoid wear and tear on your favorite baits:

1. Stay Organized

organized tackle boxIt may seem like common sense, but the obvious first step here is to be organized. Have a set aside place for your tackle. Bags for your baits, and bins for your bags. The easier they are to find, the easier it is to get out on the water. And the less of a clustery mess you have, the longer your baits are likely to live.

2. Reuse Plastics

savage gear armor tubeOne way to use your soft plastics until they are unusable is to..well..actually use them. If a soft plastic worm gets bit in half, you didn’t lose one worm. You gained two downsized worms next time you target bluegill, a jig trailer, or a tip for under the ice. The fact of the matter is some baits work better when you bite a few inches off of them, rip off a tail, or cut them down. Don’t throw them out the first time they take a hit from a predator.

3. Avoid Extreme Weather

cold weather baitJust like taking care of electronics or food, you don’t want to leave them in the car on a 90 degree day, and don’t want to leave them outside when it’s 15 degrees outside. Extreme temperatures can wear down any bait, made of any material. Keep them in a normal “room temperature” environment.

4. Change The Hooks

fishing hooksOne way to avoid rusting hooks that break off or are ruined is to change them frequently. Hooks dull, no matter how sharp they are to begin their lives. Changing them out keeps your presentation on point, and will help you to keep the body, lip, and ties of your hard baits stronger in the long run.

5. Organize After Fishing

organizing tackleThe morning before your homework is due is not the time to scramble and scratch an assignment together. This is also true when organizing your baits. Say you’re out on the water for a few hours and use 10 baits. While you’re fishing and changing quickly, you may just toss them in your tackle box or on the side of the boat. Once you’ve caught your limit, reorganize on the spot. The baits will be better taken care of than if they had a long stay outside of their proper place, waiting until your next time out to look for them and put them back.

Preserving your baits for as long as possible helps you stay on top of your game on the water. Take these tips to heart and you will spend less money on bait and catch more fish. Another way to build your collection and save more money is to get yourself a monthly delivery of tackle! Avoiding extreme weather, getting a monthly shipment, changing the hooks, staying organized and never giving up on a bait will help you maximize the life of your priceless collection of baits!