Tackle Boxes, Not Rods

Tranquility by Mark Bernabei

Why I Use Tackle Boxes But Not Fishing Poles

Nothing ruins a good day of fishing like catching something.

Even while camping.


Then you have to get it back off the hook – and I learned to fish before it became well-known that the honey dippers are worse than just cutting the line.

Or, you’re prepping it to cook for dinner, which you hopefully know how to do correctly (I did it once… when I was 8… because I was the only non-vegetarian kid there and they wanted to show us how to do it……………………………………………………………………….. ?)

Not to mention getting and loading bait: I can, and eventually probably will, discuss all different types of bait, and the best to use versus the best to carry for any long term camping or hiking trips.

Worms v eggs, peanut butter v cheese, shimmery v flies. So many ways to convince a fish to clamp onto your hook, sometimes just to find out it’s a Sunfish. Ouch.

I go fishing, I do not fish.

My perfect day fishing does not include a hook.

Just a chair or bench, or the ground when I was young. A book and hat. Maybe a pair of sunglasses. Something to drink and a bag of chips.

One rod, one bobber, two sinkers.

Even in a light rain, that’s a lovely day of fishing for me.

I used to fish. I even used to enjoy it. However, the extra costs and prep time, and clean up, were never things I found to be worth the cost of admission. Instead, I started going fishing.

As such, I’ve used rods older than my good tarp. My grandfather’s old pole he used to catch dinner in the summer for his family. That one Kids’ Pole that always collapses when you try to cast. An atlatl (long story). I’ve even just used a stick and paracord. I’m not that picky about the pole I use.

I’ve actually spent entire “Learn to Fish” days untangling line for kids as they swap to functioning pre-prepped poles. It’s nice. I’m still outdoors, can take a break to grab a drink or dip in the water (away from where they’re attempting to not catch each other with sharp hooks), or even swap with someone to borrow a fly pole and make a fool of myself for a few minutes.

Tackle Boxes

Organization, on the other hand, is something I’ve done since I was a kid. My first tackle box was a little metal tin that could have the pole snap right onto the top of the box. Several times I upended it and only put the stuff I could use back in and put everything else in my dad’s for him to find… eventually.

I also spent several years sorting various beads into bigger and more elaborate boxes for my mother’s crafting. You’ll have never wanted to tear your hair out as a child so much so as when a family dog bumps into a table and 3,000 beads go off the sides of a porch into grass and down cracks in cement. That had been a fun afternoon. And then it wasn’t. 8mm faceted beads, and many more, in 27 different colors. After I finished sorting them all. Nope, the fun most certainly disappeared at that exact moment.

Sooooo, tackle boxes I know.

I’ve sorted fishing gear, craft supplies, jewelry, tools, medical kits, and personal belongings into various tackle boxes over the years. I’m sure I’ll do a post or two about how to pack emergency supplies into two tackle boxes (one wet, one dry) at some point in this adventure.

My brother-and-law and I make my sister laugh when we’re in places like Sears. He sees everything as tools chests, and I see everything as tackle boxes. Same purpose, different weight classes.

I especially like the ones where you can sit on them, or stack them with anything else easily.


The most expensive tackle box I’ve ever handled I actually bought on clearance after a half-off sale many years ago, but looked somewhat like this:


Which obviously is not made for sitting on, or stacking. However, it was the perfect gift for my mother, who could no longer easily carry large tackle kits with tiny little handles.

This bag has a nice and comfortable strap, can hold more than it appears to, and you can connect a lot of things via carabiner before you worry about unbalancing it. You can also use most of your favorite trays in it, rather than what it comes with, if you wish.

However, much like tents, tackle boxes come in seemingly-infinite variations.

There are also styles like this:

The things I’ve sorted into these types of organizers…. ah, memories.

Now, the reviews I’ve seen on this one make me think that they don’t make them like they used to. My last surviving one of these was long ago sacrificed to my dad’s house and his plumbing parts, so I couldn’t tell you who made the ones I grew up with.

However, if you find a good one of these, snap it up. With good hinges and latches, items can’t slide between compartments, or slip out of the edges of the box entirely. And they’re pretty sturdy, when they’re good. Stackable, and fairly slim, they easily slide under car seats and can double as a pillow.

The compartments themselves, much like a cat, fit the notion of “If I fits, I sits” in that a lot of stuff can fit, or be crammed, into each compartment, ultimately cutting down on the number of kits you drag along with you.


Now, before I make this post even longer than my one on tents or tarps, I’m going to cut off here. I’m sure I will talk about more types of tackle boxes, and how they can be used to make your tent camping lives easier, in the future.

Do you have a favorite “fish story”? Obviously, it doesn’t have to be true.

How about a favorite box or rod? Hopefully this would have a little more truth to it, but we wouldn’t blame you if it didn’t.

Leave a comment below and let us know!!

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I'm (now) an Affiliate, who blogs about the materials, gear and supplies needed for living in a tent and long term camping: http://longtermcamping.siterubix.com I also enjoy reading and sci-fi in all its many forms.


  1. Hi Mar,
    very informative yet entertaining article. You sure do know you way around the subject. Fishing and camping are two of my favorite hobbies. If my wife would let me get away with it, I would be camping and fishing all year round. Anyway, I really liked your review on tackle boxes. I actually own a Spider Wolf Tackle Bag. It is a great gear bag and I highly recommend it. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and also entertaining me.

    • Hello Jerome,

      Well, I hope you’ll get back out there when you can. I know it’s not the same, but do you have a backyard (or one you can borrow)? If it’s got a creek, you’re all set! Well, sort of.

      Do you fish, or go fishing? I’m always curious to see how both sides react to the difference.

      Spider is so great. They’re expensive; but sturdy and durable.

      Thanks for visiting!

  2. OMG I didn’t even know long term camping was a thing! HA HA HA HA You’re posts are amazing, love them. very entertaining and informative! Thanks

    • Hello Wenda,

      Thanks! It’s always good to know I’ve gotten someone to laugh.

      Actually, unless it’s for a charity-related event, I don’t even drag out my “only camping” gear if it’s a trip that’s less than 6 weeks. The longest I’ve lived out of a tent/van/car/etc at a solid time was about 7 months (or so), but I know people who do it year-round.

      So, absolutely long term camping IS a thing, but not something a lot of people talk about. I just figure, since I get questions all the time, that I might as well talk about it on a public forum, and try to help people who might consider doing it to make smart and safe decisions.

      Thanks for checking in!

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