One of the most difficult parts of ice fishing is keeping your tackle box organized.
It’s easy to go a little overboard at the sporting goods store and buy a huge number of lures and spoons for your fishing needs. I even buy multiples of my favorite spoons in case I lose one.
But how do you keep ice fishing spoons from tangling up in your tackle box? With the hooks, rings, and holes on each lure, fishing spoons are great at catching one another and making a big mess.
We’ve got some tips for you to avoid a jumble of ice fishing spoons and store them safely. The main idea is to separate the spoons into small numbers, or one by one, but there are several ways you can do that.
1. Store Ice Fishing Spoons with Freezer Bags
One very cost-effective way to store ice fishing spoons is in plastic freezer bags. The plastic is usually thick enough to keep the hooks from poking through, and since the bags are clear it’s easy to sort through for the bait you want.
You can sort similar types or colors of lures into their own bags and store the bags in a tackle box or just a 1-gallon freezer bag.
It’s possible to store all of your ice fishing tackle in freezer bags, but I only use them to store the bigger lifelike baits (like Rapala lures) that take up a lot of space in plastic tackle boxes.
Although you can fit a lot of ice spoons in one bag, you will run into problems with tangled hooks and chipped paint.
For that reason, I prefer to keep just a few spoons in each bag.
2. Carry Ice Fishing Spoons and Ice Fishing Jigs With Hook Holders
There are a lot of cases made specifically for anglers to store their ice fishing spoons. The best ones have little snaps that hold individual hooks securely and keep the lures from tangling.
These cases can be tricky to find, but Rose Creek Polar Boxes are one great option. You can select your size and store many spoons in a small case because they won’t rattle around once you hook them in.
These cases are great if you have a large range of ice gear that is all about the same size. Hook holders don’t typically offer a lot of different-size spaces in each case.
If you have a smaller collection or a lot of different-size spoons, you might want to consider using a more generic plastic tackle box, like the ones Plano makes. We’ll talk about them next and how to customize them.
3. Organize Ice Fishing Spoons Using Plano Plastic Tackle Boxes
The staple of a well-organized tackle box is plastic containers with dividers, and nobody makes better cases than Plano.
If you want to save a few dollars, you can buy generic plastic boxes (such as travel cases for toiletries), but Plano cases are strong, clear, and most of them are waterproof. They are also sold at many sporting goods stores next to the fishing tackle.
Plano offers everything from a tiny case that fits in the pocket of your coat or vest up to full-scale tackle boxes with enough room for all of your ice fishing gear.
I usually like to have an assortment of pocket-size, medium , and large Plano boxes for different sizes of spoons. If you want one box that does it all, pick up one of their ultra-customizable boxes and use the dividers to suit your needs.
Problems with Plastic Boxes for Storing Ice Fishing Spoons
These Plano boxes are great, but they have their problems. I run into two main issues with these things:
- Even when you use the dividers, you will still want to store more than one spoon in each compartment to be efficient with your space. This leads to a lot of tangled hooks.
- The hard plastic cases leave the fishing lures to rattle around inside their compartments. Multiple lures with hooks can cause scratched or chipped paint and ruin your presentation. This is a big problem if you pull your gear with an ATV that causes a lot of vibration.
- Sometimes the lids don’t fit tightly, and hooks, jig heads, and small spoons can actually spill over into the neighboring compartments.
- Heaven forbid you tip the box over while it’s open; there’s nothing to keep the spoons inside and you’ll be picking spoons out of the snow for a long time.
Don’t worry! You don’t have to live with these annoying issues. I’ll tell you my favorite solutions to make a plastic box really useful for storing your ice fishing lures.
The good news is that you can use recycled foam materials to keep your tackle organized in plastic boxes without spending a lot of money.
How to Put Foam in Plastic Tackle Boxes?
How do you keep hooks from tangling in your plastic tackle boxes? And how can you stop ice fishing spoons from rattling and chipping their paint?
I dealt with these problems for a long time before I discovered that you can use foam to sort your ice spoons and keep them secure in plastic cases.
I like to take a piece of foam and cut it to just slightly larger than the compartment in my plastic Plano box or plastic case. You should be able to squeeze the foam in so it stays in place with its own pressure and you don’t need to glue it in at all.
Gluing the foam in makes it more secure, but if you get water in the case (easy to do when you are fishing), I find that it is harder to dry the case if the foam is glued into it.
There are many types of foam that work well for customizing your lure cases:
- Pool noodles
- Pipe insulation
- Carpet pad
- Camping pads
- Foam mattress topper
- Packing foam
- Craft foam
- Flower foam
You might want to choose your material based on what you have lying around if you are trying to save money. However, none of them are very expensive so you can probably afford to be choosy.
I recommend using pool noodles or pipe insulation to hook your ice fishing spoons into a plastic case. They are rigid enough to hold the fish hooks securely, not too absorbent, and will not degrade if they get wet.
Be careful if you are using flower or craft foam, as these don’t hold up as well when they get wet.