There’s nothing worse than opening up a tackle box and finding the hooks on all your hard-plastic baits rusted.

And it’s not like you can really dry off each bait before putting them into storage. So it’s just an inherent problem with which anglers have always had to deal.

But there’s a way to prevent all that damage. And the solution can prevent similar corrosion of guns, cell phones, knives and pretty much anything else you can get into enclosed areas.

Zerust is a corrosion inhibitor designed to protect metallic parts by emitting vapors that coat anything within an enclosed area.

“It leeches out. It emits a vapor, and within the enclosed space it will attach itself on the molecular level,” Kim Norton said.

Zerust has been around for years, available in tabs and capsules that could be dropped into tackle boxes, gun cases, gun safes and pretty much any container. Those tabs are still available.

But now Flambeau’s HD Waterproof plastic boxes include liners infused with Zerust, providing built-in protection for all kinds of equipment.

Zerust Waterproof tackle trays also come with dividers that emit the protective vapors.

“We impregnate the plastic through the injection process,” Norton said. “It’s infused in the parts we make.”

And the protective coating will not affect any working mechanism. So you don’t have to worry about your guns and other gear gumming up.

“It’s not going to be sticky like it’s coated with WD-40,” Norton said.

The trade-secret formula is perfect for any of our metal parts, including kitchen and fillet knives. Just drop a Zerust tab or two in the drawer and you’re good to go.

“It’s odorless; it’s tasteless; it’s non-toxic.” Norton explained. “It’s been approved by the FDA.

Norton said Zerust also prevents tarnishing, so lures like spinnerbaits and spoons remain shiny and irresistible to fish even after repeated use.

And because Zerust attaches to metal at the molecular level, some protective qualities extend to when the gun, knife or lure is taken out of the enclosed space for use.

However, it’s important to note that Zerust is designed to work in enclosed spaces.

The majority of Flambeau containers are made in the United States, and Norton said Zerust can be a huge money-saver for outdoorsmen.

“We can make sure the investment they make in their equipment is protected,” he said. “It’s a big investment in equipment — more so today than it’s ever been.

Each tab or container liner is estimated to emit protective vapors for two to three years, but this is a case where more is definitely not a bad thing.

“The safe bet is every couple of years throw another tab in there,” Norton said. “It’s pretty inexpensive. I’m kind of like Tim the Toolman Taylor — if one will cover this gun safe, I’m going to put two or three in there.”

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