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Organizing Your Alaskan Fishing Gear: Episode 1 – Pimping Out Your Jig Bucket!




Organizing your Alaskan Fishing Gear – Episode 1:

We get it.

Deep Sea Fishing Tackle finds it's home in the Jig Bucket

It’s a challenge every time! How do you keep all that gear organized?

What do you do when a single jig can weigh 3lbs? The hook is the size of your palm, the plastic bait a foot long, and you’ve got a dozen of them made up for that super productive but ultra painful pinnacle the current just rips over?
What about the Salmon Mooching Rigs you spent hours building last winter, or the circle hook leaders and big bait rigs?

The struggle is real. For us and other operators out there, there are literally hundreds of set ups to crimp, tie, snell, set, and store each season, both beforehand and during the rush.  Equipment has to be organized, clean, accessible, and pre-made as much as possible so that when the fish are biting (and breaking) your rigs, you can get them back on – fast.  There are dozens of proven ways to do this, we’ll share some of ours, as well as some ways we’ve seen it done in our new series: Organizing your Alaskan Fishing Gear.

What to talk about first? What else – The Jig Bucket.

  • The Jig Bucket:

A favorite go to for the DIY tackle organizer or someone who’s using and moving through gear rapidly.  My favorite jig buckets have been 2.5 – 5 gallon heavy duty plastic buckets with a few holes drilled in the bottom to drain rain or saltwater from collecting and a modified lid. Simply give the leader of your gear a few wraps around the hand, tuck the end in (or hitch with a rubber band) and set the rig around the ring of the bucket. Simple. Is this rocket (or bucket) surgery? Not really, but it is cheap and effective.

A jig bucket is a good solution for storing heavier tackle with thick leader without buying a jig roll/tackle bag.  Jig rolls are great, but they are expensive and they take longer to get at – even if you use one you should rinse your gear before you store it anyway, so where do you put it after you’re done fishing but before you get to the dock? A jig bucket, I say.

Jig buckets are great, but don’t always work incredibly well for lighter tackle. The lighter gauge leaders tend to get tangled with the rest of the rigs, and your crescent weights can cause kinking or cinching on the leaders. This can cause quite a mess pretty quick on it’s own.  Stay tuned for our Salmon Rig Solutions in a future post!

Looking to revive your bucket with a hole in it with a few cool “bucket mods” for next season?  There are some simple things you can do (or buy) to make your bucket better!

  • PVC pipe – Admittedly found online – this is a great example of a way to keep high speed/butterfly jigs organized. This guy even labeled the tubes, so he’d know which jig went to which spot! We often take our treble hooks off of our high speed jigs as we find it reduces snagged /damaged bycatch, and also allows a lot more forgiveness when/if we slam them on the bottom or against a rock. Nothing like dropping a brand new $15 dollar jig and losing it the second you hit the bottom!
  • The Edge Mod & The Insert – We’ve done this in the past as well, cutting down the edge of the bucket allows a spot for the hook to rest into, and keeps them from sliding down the rim or tangling as much. Just a few minutes with a magic marker and a sawzall, jig saw, rotozip etc will get you going! In the second photo you can see the benefit of using a smaller 2.5 gallon bucket as an insert to a 5 gallon – you reduce the risk of snagging your pants or gear on the hooks as you pass by as they are inside another bucket.


  • The Lid Mod – These are some of my favorites. You can do this with a heavy duty 5 gallon bucket and lid with a drill bit and a saw to cut the center of the lid out. Be careful not to use too much of the bucket lid, you want to keep it tight against the rim as the plastic is only so strong and those jigs can weigh a lot! This one has the added benefit of protecting passerby’s from the actual hooks, keeping the rigs from slamming into each other or sliding around, while certainly keeping them accessible and organized.  If you can find a rope handled bucket, usually you can drill your holes in the wide edge around the rim, and it can save time fumbling around cutting a nice circle in a 5 gallon bucket lid.  As always, add a few holes in the base (don’t go crazy, you’ll weaken it and it’ll crack during use).  I also like to throw an oil sorb pad in the bottom: They can be easily changed to keep the bucket clean, but they keep weights you may toss in from rattling around and any bait oils from dripping into the bucket and making it stank over time.   Try to resist tossing gear in the bucket that’s not protected in a nice thick tupperware – random soft baits will dry out over time, and everything gets covered in blood, bait, or tangled in leader material. Keep your gear organized, it’s expensive!!!

We hope this was helpful with your pre-season tackle prep! More tips and tricks to come in our Organizing your Alaskan Fishing Gear Series by Miller’s Landing Staff!

Written by Chance Miller – Tackle hoarder and grumpy whip cracker of Alaskan charter boat captain gear storage for over 900 years.