What's In Tony Roach's Tackle Box?

The folks at Rapala's Dock Talk sat down with legendary angler and guide Tony Roach to see what he has in his tackle box.

by Lake-Link Staff

What's In Tony Roach's Tackle Box? The folks at Rapala's Dock Talk sat down with legendary angler and guide Tony Roach to see what he has in his tackle box. Rapala® pro Tony Roach is a well-respected fishing guide, tournament angler, and outdoor communicator, who spends close to 300 days on the open water and ice annually. He operates Roach's Guide Service on Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota and has become known as the hardest-working, most successful guide on the big lake. And, he's the host of the new TV program, Dialed In Angling, sponsored by StrikeMaster®.

Q. Okay Tony, about how many tackle boxes do you have?
Roach: Too many to count, lol…I have tackle trays. I like the flexibility to swap the trays in and out of my boat's drawers and storage compartments. I am a multi-species angler/fishing guide. I primarily target walleyes and smallmouth. However, I do a ton of largemouth and panfish fishing as well. I need all my tackle to be organized and stored where it is easily accessible.
Q. How do you organize your tackle boxes? For example, do you have species-specific tackle boxes? Or, tackle boxes for specific bodies of water?
Roach: I organize my tackle trays for specific techniques and the storage compartments are species specific. For example, a storage compartment for bass, but the separate trays are organized and labeled with X-Raps, Mavrik, DT-6, DT-10, Brat, Skitter Pop, Skitter walk, etc.

Q. Or, do you organize your tackle boxes by lure color, lure type, lure running depth?
Roach: I generally organize by tackle trays by lure type and size. For example, the Rapala DT 6 and DT 10 each have their own separate trays.
Q. With all of the lures you could choose from (Rapala alone has a ton of different options), how do you prioritize what lures go into your tackle boxes and then, which lures make it into your boat?
Roach: There are some trays that are in my boat all season long. I prioritize my trays based on the needs of the season. Let's just stick to walleyes for minute. In the spring, separate trays with walleye VMC® Mooneye, Moontail, and VMC components. I also will need Husky Jerks, X-Rap, Mavrik 110, Shad Rap, Original Floater, etc. -- all the trays of tackle that I anticipate I will need. Those needs change as the bite changes into summer. In the summer, I'll have trays with Deep Down Husky Jerks, VMC Techset spinners, DT's, Glass Shad Raps, etc.

Q. Many anglers have at least one go-to lure. Their confidence bait that they pull out when nothing else seems to be working. What's yours?
Roach: For me it's hard to beat a Shad Rap. I think you can pretty much throw it out or troll it and you'll catch anything that swims.
Q. Because time is precious during a tournament (or during a guided trip), do you organize your tackle box -- and the other gear you need (clippers, scissors, hooks, hook sharpeners, weights, line, etc.) in a certain way on your boat to reduce your time searching for lures and the equipment you need to tie on a new lure?
Roach: I organize my tackle and gear the same way every time. That way I don't set something down where I don't know where it is. Even if I am pressed for time, I still take the time to put things back in the same spot every time.

Q. Many anglers have just one tackle box or use trays to store their lures. What advice would you give them about how to select what lures to put into their boxes?
Roach: I look at organizing my tackle as an investment into keeping my gear in good shape and where I can easily access anything at any time.
Q. Out of all of the Rapala lures and VMC hooks/rigs/jigs you could choose from, what are your top 5 -- must have close to me at all times -- baits?
Roach: That's a hard question. Here's my top five. 1) Shad Raps, 2) X-Raps, 3) Jigging Rap, 4) VMC Mooneye jig, 5) CrushCity soft plastics.

Q. Are there any tools or accessories from Rapala that have made storing and accessing your tackle box easier and less stressful?
Roach: I think a very overlooked tool storage system is the Rapala ”Pedestal Tool Combo.” Anglers can store tools on every seat of the boat.

Q. At the end of the day, it's about spending more time fishing and less time trying to find what you need. Do you have any other tips for anglers about organizing their tackle boxes or even, organizing all of their fishing gear (in their garage, basement or even in their boat/kayak)?
Roach: Spend the time to label all your trays and keep them organized when you aren't on the water. I usually take a few minutes at the end of a fishing day to put everything away. In the off-season, I spend time restocking what I have lost and reorganizing so I can maximize my fishing time on the water.

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