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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Panfish Tackle Bag

My tackle bag is a large 10 by 12 by 14 inches. It has six 8 by 12 inch trays and pockets on three sides. It weighs about 40 pounds. When I am in the boat it sits just behind my chair and is just perfect for the job. But when I fish from the bank it is just too large and too heavy for me to carry. About a couple of years ago I realized that most of the weight and bulk was equipment for black bass and crappie. I decided to make up a bag just for panfish. My wife gave me a much smaller bag for Christmas that year. At our house we avoid getting Christmas and birthday gifts we do not want by publishing "wish lists" a few weeks before the event.

The new bag is 8 by 8 by 10 inches, not counting pockets. It has four 7 by 10 inch trays. It is still pretty large, but it weighs a fraction of the large bag and I can carry it OK.

The first tray contains hooks and weights. One row has six compartments containing all the pinch-on split-shot sizes from #2 down to size bb. Having six sizes lets me match the bobber or use the weight I want without pinching on a string of weights. I use the kind without the tabs that are supposed to make them easy to remove. The tabs also catch on the rocks. If you want to remove the round shot use a knife blade or diagonal cutters.

The second row has bell sinkers, again in six sizes. I rarely use bell sinkers, but if I do I want to have the correct weight without using multiple sinkers.

The third and last row has gold Aberdeen hooks in 5 sizes from #2 to #10 and a compartment for size 8 cricket hooks. As you can see at this writing I am out of the best size, #8, and almost out of cricket hooks. It is time to make an order.

The second tray contains bobbers and wobblers. A wobbler is a float secured on one end, while a bobber is secured on both ends.

The first compartment has Thill and Eagle Claw wobblers in three sizes: 7/8 inch, 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch. I generally use the 7/8-inch size, but at times a smaller float and matching weight is called for.

The second compartment has 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch slip bobbers. The third compartment has 7/8-inch bobbers. I use a 7/8-inch Thill bobber 90% of the time, paired with a #2 or #3 split shot.

The next columns contain miscellaneous bobbers I sometimes find useful. When the time comes that I need more space I will take them out. The last column also contains the Rainbow Plastics Gizmo bobber stopper and beads. I use the Gizmo bobber stopper all together. It is the only kind that will wind on the reel and let me set it deep.

Moving on, the third tray contains the artificials I use. The most popular are the Panther Martin and Mepps spinners in both gold and silver. In addition I have Super Dupers in two sizes and gold and silver. The Kastmaster is good for casting long distances. The rooster tail is an old stand by. I also have an assortment of flies and poppers and small Roadrunners.

The fourth tray is not really for sunfish. It is there because at Lake Weatherford the yellow and white bass and bluegill are all mixed in together at my favorite spot. I like to catch yellow and white bass and crappie, too. The fourth tray contains an assortment of 1/16 oz.  jigs in various colors. It also has several small spoons. Last are 1/4 oz. Jig heads I use for plastic shad.

My tackle bag has pockets on three sides.

The right pocket also has holsters for the long nose and diagonal cutters. The right pocket is for tools. It has a heavy duty line clipper, a Swiss army knife, and two flashlights plus spare batteries. I got both LED flashlights as a promotion from Home Depot. One is a six LED mini that puts out an amazing amount of light. The other is a head band mounted job that has either two white LED's or a single red LED. It is great for trying to put on a #10 hook in the dark.

The left pocket has whatever artificial bait I am carrying around at the time. Right now it has yellow and chartreuse Berkley Crappie nibbles, Phantom 3-inch Shim-Me Shad, and a can of Zoo Meds crickets I plan to try one of these days. It should have an assortment of Berkley worms, grubs, etc. but I am out of them.

The center pocket is a catchall. Right now it has a digital scale, a measuring tape, two stringers, a Thill lighted bobber, a package of bobber light sticks.

Retired rocket scientists do not guess. The digital scale has reduced many a 3-pound crappie to 1 pound. When I worked at the marina we used to say that the actual weight of a fish was 1/2 the eye ball estimate.

In addition to the tackle bag I usually carry a 3 1/2-gallon bucket with a ruler on its lid.

That with two rods and reels is about all I can manage. But what more do you need?

1 comment:

  1. You forgot the sleeve of crackers and the vienna sausages. When I was growing up and fished with you, and got hungry, our would come the crackers and vienna sausages for lunch. It let you stay out a little longer without having to take hungry kids in.