While fishing from a kayak offers many advantages over angling from a boat, copious storage space is not among them, which means a smart kayak angler has a well-thought plan before venturing onto the water.

 “Without some type of system, you’re always having to swap tackle and reorganize gear before every trip,” said Jason Kincy, YUM brand ambassador and host of the Kayak Fishing Focus website. “Because there are so many types, sizes and styles, soft plastics can be a particular challenge.”

Kincy’s approach is a soft plastics filing system that incorporates a small duffel, zip-top plastic bags and a seasonal calendar based on water temperature. “I separate my softbaits into three groups,” he explained, “those for water that’s 50 degrees or lower, baits for 50-to-70-degree water, and those for when the water is 70 degrees and above.”

He further breaks each group into sub-groups based on fishing method — Texas rigging, jigging, flippin’/pitchin’ and so on –and stows a variety of styles, sizes and colors, still within their original packaging, into a quart-size zip-top bag that he conspicuously labels using an indelible felt-tip pen. All the zip-top bags are “filed” in a zippered tool bag he purchased for less than $3 at a big-box hardware store.

“I used to keep soft plastics in tackle trays, but found that I spent way too much time rummaging for the bait I wanted,” he said. “This method is much easier for me. When I want to fish a worm, I just pull out the zip-top marked 'Texas Rig' and know that the size, style and color I want will be inside.”

The tool bag is sized to fit snugly, and within easy reach, just behind his seat. Weights, hooks and other terminal tackle rides in a tackle tray that’s kept, along with other hardbait boxes and rod tubes, in an old milk crate strapped into the rear cargo deck.

As time passes and water temps rise or fall, Kincy simply exchanges zip-top bags as he feels he needs them, until the entire file contains the new season’s lures. “Other fishermen have different systems, but this one works well for me,” he said. “I always know the soft plastics I want will be in the tool bag, and I can easily get to them when I’m on the water. It also helps me keep track of my inventory. I can easily see if I’m running short of a particular lure and quickly restock after the trip.”