Successful anglers have several common characteristics, but one of the most important is organization. For bass fishermen, that means every piece of tackle has a place, and every place has a certain piece of tackle.

Disorganization can be a problem for tournament anglers because it means lost time that could be spent with lures in the water. It demands having rods easily available in below-deck storage compartments, spooled with the correct line and with lures tied on that won’t become tangled to knowing where lures and weights are stored.

One of the keys for fast lure changes is having organized tackle boxes.

Guide and former pro angler Joel Richardson of Kernersville keeps tackle in his bass boat in certain places so he can find what he needs in an instant if he needs to change lures or rods.

“I know that I’m only going to use four or five rods on a given day,” he said, “but I may want to change out lures quickly.”

Every bass fisherman knows largemouths often hit only lures of certain colors, although they may run at different depths and in different water conditions. Some rods will have heavier line for working lures through brush, submerged trees, rocky bottoms or stump fields.

“I use my left compartment for rods, plus the tie-downs on the deck for other rods,” he said, “but I use the right-side storage compartment for lures.”

Richardson loads the right side with plastic lure boxes.

“I have one box with crankbaits of different colors,” he said. “If you want, you can put dividers in these cheap clear-plastic boxes to be of different lengths so I might have jerkbaits in one box, deep-divers in another and shallow-divers in another.”

Richardson also organizes his soft-plastic lures in the same manner. Each compartment holds baits of different colors.

“I keep my weights, hooks and swivels in the same type of boxes, each section with the identical type of tackle. I can grab a rod, open a box and change out a lure in less than a minute. And I’m fishing again in no time.”

Richardson also angles boxes inside his storage compartment so he can pull out the tackle he wants without having to dig through them if they were lying flat on top of one another.