bait glue
A few quick tweaks can help maximize your bait. David A. Brown
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As obvious as it may sound, the longer you keep a bait in the water—meaning, the more casts you make—the greater your chances of catching a fish.

Here’s a trio of tips for maximizing your bait’s reps.

1. Slip-Proof Rigging
Short strikes, dropped bites — it happens. But fixing a displaced bait is not just frustrating, it can cause you to miss a fleeting opportunity on a hot bite. Hooks with plastic keepers like the Mustad Grip Pin series help alleviate the irritation factor, but a couple of DIY options exist.

With swimbaits, ball head jigs, etc., apply a dab of Super Glue behind the head and snug the bait tightly. You’ll have to cut the bait off to change it, but you won’t waste time with pull downs.

With Texas-rigged plastics, pull the hook eye into the bait’s head, stick a toothpick through the plastic and the hook eye to anchor your bait.

2. The Quick-Change Hook Swap
Upsizing, downsizing and replacing damaged trebles is a common task, but without disciplined form, it’s a major time suck.

Here’s the technique: Separate one end of a split ring with pliers or a knife blade and slide the existing hook eye between the coils. This props open the ring so you can slide the replacement hook’s eye onto the ring’s open end. Pushing the new hook along the ring (grip with pliers), pushes the old one off in one efficient movement.

3. Track Your Baits
Nothing is more frustrating than losing or damaging a hot bait and then burning time searching for its replacement. Labeling hardbait trays is pretty straight forward, but managing those dozens of bags of soft plastics can be a real hair-puller.

Grouping commonly used baits in plastic utility bins, or even Zippered food storage bags with contents labeled on the outside is a step in the right direction. Your own personal fishing style will determine groups and sub-groups, but the tighter you can break it down, the less time you’ll spend searching.

Plano recently simplified the process with its Worm Stowaway utility boxes, which hang four bags on each side of the double-sided compartments via tiered clips. Stacking the bags like stadium seating leaves each one instantly identifiable through the transparent box.

The 3600 size includes one double-sided compartment, along with slots for terminal tackle; while the 3700 model includes two double-sided compartments.

Beyond these tips, remaining diligent with your gear maintenance—reel servicing, checking guides for line-damaging nicks, etc.—will further limit downtime. Ultimately, it’s all about keeping your bait in the water as long as possible.