What to Do when the Unthinkable Happens

Daniel C. Nielsen   Sunday, January 23, 2005 9:03 PM

Tips to rebuild your tackle arsenal if it gets lost or stolen. If any of you out there have ever had the displeasure of finding that you have misplaced your tackle box or discovering that it was stolen, then you know what I am referring to with this article. Just this last weekend in September found myself in the exact situation. Twice in ten years this has happened. The plain simple fact of the matter is that there are less than honorable people in the world and that sadly includes some fisherman among them.

Your main priority, after contacting the right authorities, should be not to let the theft or loss affect your love for the sport. It might sound out of place but with the small fortunes that many anglers place in their tackle arsenal, it is easy to see how and why many fisherman just simply lose their love for the sport after that. Fishing doesn’t seem to be the same and the thought of rebuilding or restocking their tackle arsenal is an expensive and frightening thought.

First off, take a long hard look at the type of fishing you do or seem to do the most of. This fact alone will make it easier to begin rebuilding your next tacklebox easier and a lot more affordable. Get what you need first. Getting what you want or would like to have can come later. Right now, you need to get the things that can get you back on the lake and into fish. Losing a tacklebox is a setback yes, but one that can be overcome quickly and relatively inexpensively.

With me, as a multi-species angler, the first choices were obvious. Bare necessities; assorted hooks and weights. Aberdeen style hooks, Kahle, etc etc.

I knew I would need assortment to meet my needs and requirements. As for weights, a couple of containers of split shots, Lindy weights, bell sinkers and some bullet weights.

Every angler is different. We each have our favorite or go to lures. Call them confidence baits, but those are the first lures an angler needs to restock. Buy what you know works for you first. You can worry about restocking the other lures later. You don’t have to buy a lot at first. Only a few.

I throw a lot of crankbaits. The bulk of my stolen tacklebox consisted mainly of them. Rapalas, Rebels, Bombers, Storm, etc. I had a wide assortment, but looking back over my numerous trips, I realized I had specific baits for certain situations and the rest just seemed to gather dust.

So it seems practical for me now to get the crankbaits I need first. Rapala’s in sizes 3-11, natural patterns. Silver/black and gold/black. I am a strong believer in their floating models so I know a few of each will get me where I need to be, plus they are proven producers for most gamefish. Somewhere down the road, I’ll buy a few here and there and eventually reach the point I was at before everything was lost.

Coming into the cooler water and cold water periods, I realize that I will have all winter basically to refurbish my arsenal. After all, the majority of my fishing in winter is on the ice and I have different equipment for that. A few dollars a week on tackle can build up rather quickly over the course of a winter. I know. As I have said before, this is the second time my tacklebox has been stolen.

Most anglers feel absolute despair when they think of trying to get everything back that they lost. They tend to look at the tackle box as a whole instead of what it is. A toolbox for fishing. Each lure, a various tool that performs under certain sets of conditions. Figure out what conditions you fish most will eliminate a lot of unnecessary spending on tackle that you hardly ever use.

It takes a lot of concentration for an angler to really narrow down what lures he knows he uses more than others. But this focus pays off in a big way down the road.

You become more aware of what you are using and where you are using it. After all, you don’t have all the extra choices of lures you had before and this makes an angler work harder with what little he has.

I have seen it with myself. I get a bit too complacent with so many choices and correct lure selection sometimes gets blurred by it. If you only have a few lures, your choices are limited, but you fish those lures a bit harder. Fishing them harder can result in more fish.

Each time I have lost a tacklebox, I have had to deal with these choices. And each time, I have thought about what kind of fishing I do and what things I need specifically to catch fish. As a direct result of the loss, my fishing has improved and my arsenal becomes more focused. This in turn has led to more frequent success and better catches.

I am luckier than most other fisherman when it comes to this situation this time. I have the benefit of having some incredible sponsors that have already agreed to help me out in replacing a lot of what I have lost. If you ever get a minute, you can check out their websites via nebraskafishing.com, where I am the editor and director. To them, I wish to express my deepest gratitude.

In closing I wish to say this. Don’t let the loss stop you from getting back out there and doing what you love to do. Best of luck to you honorable fisherman. To the dishonorable, let’s just say that I hope and pray that your ill-gotten tackle brings you no joy or fish whatsoever.

Tight Lines.

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