UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Create a Base List of Go-To Baits

Create a Base List of Go-To Baits
James Niggemeyer

Nov. 1 was kind of a wake-up call for me. It’s the day I realized the 2019 FLW Tour season was bearing down on me fast, with so much still to do to get ready.

I’m working hard to catch up. My new Ranger and Mercury FourStroke are on the way and should be ready any day now. I’ll need to drop in some Cabela’s X-900 batteries and finish out the rigging. I just wrapped up filming with Strike King, and I’m finishing up work agreements with some sponsors for the upcoming season. Plus, I’ll be running guide trips over the next couple months.

All those things are business as usual for a touring pro in the offseason, and none of it really rattles me too much. I enjoy it all, in fact.

What I don’t enjoy, however, and what has me feeling a bit rushed for the upcoming season is the biggest chore of all: Somehow, I have to comb through and organize the heap of tackle sitting on my garage floor.

Terrible, right?

It sort of feels that way to me. Every season, my garage goes from organized to absolute chaos as I come and go from one tournament to the next. By the time I empty out my boat in the fall to sell it, I wind up with a mountain of tackle that needs to be dealt with. It needs to be culled, cleaned up, organized, re-stocked or replaced so it can be packed into my new boat, organized in the garage or stowed in my truck bed camper, keeping in mind all the lakes and reservoirs the FLW Tour will be visiting from January through August.

This is the time that I rebuild some sanity in my garage workspace, and it’s kind of a scary project. Hopefully, my methods can help provide a working plan for anyone else dealing with a similarly daunting tackle organization project.

I like to start on the ground level with the basic stuff I can’t live without. I call it my base kit: spinnerbaits, square-bill crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, bladed jigs and tons of soft plastics ranging from soft stick baits to creature baits. These are the baits that, as a shallow-water power-fisherman, fall directly into my wheelhouse. They’re my basic toolbox baits that I might throw at any and every stop along the FLW Tour trail. I never dump the boat in without them.

From there, I start to piece together small boxes of more specialized tackle: deep-diving crankbaits and other ledge-fishing baits for the Tennessee River, finesse options for the Great Lakes, small swimbaits for clear-water reservoirs and some cool West Coast-centric stuff I learned to use when I was growing up in California that comes into play every now and then. These are the boxes that get shifted in and out of the boat throughout the season based on where I’m headed.

Terminal tackle gets divvied up similarly in order to keep the weight manageable in each box. I have one box with a bunch of hooks for different types of Texas-rigging, weights up to 2 ounces and accessory items such as bobber stops. Another box stores gear for common rigs such as drop-shots and Carolina rigs. I keep a small box handy with shaky heads and wacky-rig tackle – a lot of little stuff – and another filled with jointed, wobble-type jigheads.

As I piece together my tackle, I sometimes have to make tough decisions about what gets cut. There are some things I’m confident in that I only throw from time to time, maybe only once every couple years, but when I do I’m so glad I have them. Other items that maybe I thought were going to be great that never really worked get pitched.

My process of organizing tackle is constantly being refined, yet you might be surprised to know that my overall collection doesn’t vary too much from year to year.

One lesson I’ve learned in my career is that the best way to win or place high in a tournament is to stick to my strengths whenever possible, and to focus on doing what I’m comfortable with and do best.

Sure, I experiment with new baits and try to learn new skills every year. But quite often those additions wind up being put to use in only small windows of opportunity – one fish here, or one bailout, backup plan there. The rest of the time, I stick with the baits and the skills I know.

One last piece of advice if you’re climbing your own mountain of tackle is to try to do your tackle shopping before the season begins so you can avoid visiting the tackle shop when you get to a tournament. If I have to visit a tackle shop while I’m on the road, it’s because I didn’t prepare enough beforehand, or I ran out of something. Local tackle shops are great places to find new, regionally liked items, and you’re going to see some stuff you don’t see at home. The problem is, you inevitably spend money on stuff you don’t need or won’t use again.

Save the cash for the tackle you know you use or for more entry fees, and maybe in the process you’ll keep the offseason tackle mound to a manageable size.

Follow James Niggemeyer’s career, and learn more about his guide operation, at JamesNiggemeyer.com.

Tags: crankbait  -swimbait  -shaky-head  -wacky-rig  -how-to-fish  -bass-fishing  -tournament-fishing  -flw  -bass  -bass-tournament  -fishing-tackle  james-niggemeyer  blog 

2019 BFL All-American Roster

2019 BFL All-American Roster

The 98 best boaters and co-anglers from FLW’s grassroots ranks will compete on the Potomac River May 30-June 1 in the 2019 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American presented by General Tire. READ MORE »

Warrenton’s Boehle Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Of The Ozarks presented by Navionics

Warrenton’s Boehle Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Of The Ozarks presented by Navionics

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (May 20, 2019) – Boater Adam Boehle of Warrenton, Missouri, caught five bass Saturday weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on Lake of the Ozarks. Boehle pocketed $4,938 for his win in the event presented by Navionics and 250 points in the Ozark Division presented by Bassing Bob standings. The winner of the... READ MORE »

Blaine's Sales Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Cherokee

Blaine's Sales Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Cherokee

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. – Boater Hunter Sales of Blaine, Tennessee, caught five bass Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Volunteer Division event on Lake Cherokee. Sales earned $3,455 for his efforts... READ MORE »

Rancho Santa Margarita’s Grover Wins Costa FLW Series Tournament on Clear Lake Presented by Ranger Boats

Rancho Santa Margarita’s Grover Wins Costa FLW Series Tournament on Clear Lake Presented by Ranger Boats

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Pro Kyle Grover of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, caught a five-bass limit weighing 26 pounds, 2 ounces, Saturday – the heaviest limit weighed in the three-day tournament – to win the Costa FLW Series on Clear Lake presented by Ranger Boats. Grover’s three-day... READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 1

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 1

The weather system pushing through northern California brought dreary, drizzly conditions interspersed with occasional steady spells of light rain for day one of the Costa FLW Series Western Division event, which is presented by ranger Boats and hosted by Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina. The sun made only a few peeking appearances, but there were several bright spots in the morning’s activity. READ MORE »

Upshaw Breaks Down Cherokee Lake on Bass Edge Radio

Upshaw Breaks Down Cherokee Lake on Bass Edge Radio

FLW Tour pro Andrew Upshaw of Tulsa, Oklahoma, appeared on the latest Bass Edge Radio podcast to discuss his recent win at the FLW Tour on Cherokee Lake... READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns From Table Rock

Top 10 Patterns From Table Rock

Fishing at Table Rock during the Costa FLW Series Central Division event, presented by Power-Pole, was pretty remarkable, at least until it wasn’t. READ MORE »

Mechanicsville’s Elrod Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Smith Mountain Lake Presented by Navionics

Mechanicsville’s Elrod Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Smith Mountain Lake Presented by Navionics

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Boater Bryan Elrod of Mechanicsville, Virginia, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Piedmont Division tournament on Smith Mountain Lake presented by Navionics Saturday... READ MORE »

Herron and Rutland Tie for Win at T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lay Lake

Herron and Rutland Tie for Win at T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lay Lake

COLUMBIANA, Ala. – Boaters Dusty Herron of Alabaster, Alabama, and Chris Rutland of Wetumpka, Alabama, each caught five bass Saturday weighing 16 pounds even to tie for the win at... READ MORE »

Covington’s Manson Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Opener on Grand Lake-St. Mary’s Presented by Navionics

Covington’s Manson Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Opener on Grand Lake-St. Mary’s Presented by Navionics

CELINA, Ohio – Boater Scott Manson of Covington, Ohio, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces, to take top honors at... READ MORE »

Cookeville’s Wagner Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Tims Ford Lake

Cookeville’s Wagner Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Tims Ford Lake

WINCHESTER, Tenn. – Boater Adam Wagner of Cookeville, Tennessee, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 10 ounces, to win... READ MORE »

Hodges’ Burroughs Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Hartwell

Hodges’ Burroughs Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Tournament on Lake Hartwell

ANDERSON, S.C. (May 13, 2019) – Boater Jason Burroughs of Hodges, South Carolina, brought five bass to the scale Saturday weighing 16 pounds... READ MORE »

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 3

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 3

With just one keeper from his three primary pockets, leader Jake Morris might have left the door open on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Central Division tournament at Table Rock Lake. His frog pattern might be fizzling out due to clear water and changing conditions. READ MORE »

Latimer, Upshaw to Discuss Wins with Radio Host Jerry Kripp

Latimer, Upshaw to Discuss Wins with Radio Host Jerry Kripp

FLW Tour pros Brian Latimer of Belton, South Carolina, and Andrew Upshaw, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, are set to appear on the Outdoor Connection with Jerry Kripp, the evening of Sunday, May 12, to,,, READ MORE »

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 2

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 2

Fishing pressure and a cold front have shut down the bite at Table Rock Lake for stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division season. The lake's largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are not coming easy. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Table Rock – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Table Rock – Day 2

A few spawning bass are making their way to the scale in the top pros' bags, but most of the consistent action has come flipping or fishing topwater for largemouths, smallmouths and spotted bass at Table Rock. READ MORE »

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 1

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 1

Catching fish is hardly the problem right now at stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division at Table Rock Lake. It seemed like every pro our on-the-water crew pulled up on today, be it on the lower end or up the rivers, was setting the hook with reckless abandon. Unfortunately, the quality has been extremely lacking. READ MORE »

Everything on the Table at Table Rock

Everything on the Table at Table Rock

Stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division, which is presented by Power-Pole and hosted by Explore Branson, is primed to be an all-out show. It seems like the lake’s entire population of bass is rushing to the bank to spawn, with all three species willing to eat a vast array of offerings. The only question: Will Mother Nature play nice? READ MORE »

Morris Starts Fast on Table Rock

Morris Starts Fast on Table Rock

Coming off a win in the Costa FLW Series Central Division opener on Kentucky Lake, Jake Morris started great in the second stop of the season as well. Weighing 17 pounds, 4 ounces on day one, Morris leads a tightly packed field in the Table Rock event, which is presented by Power-Pole and hosted by Explore Brandon. READ MORE »

Spawn in Full Bloom on Table Rock

Spawn in Full Bloom on Table Rock

Stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division should shape up to be quite the catchfest. Coming off of the division opener on Kentucky Lake, where pros were challenged with tough fishing, this week’s event, which is presented by Power-Pole and hosted by Explore Branson, should be stellar in terms of both numbers and quality of fish.  READ MORE »