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Here is a look at ten common household items that can be used to make your fishing outings more efficient and successful.
By Toby Lapinski
Tags: surf
From nail polish to old phone cords to magic markers and more, there are a great many household items that can be used on your next fishing trip.

A life hack is a quick solution to a common problem. Over my many years fishing I have come up with a good number of “fishing life hacks” of my own as well as have been tipped off to some great ones by my friends. Here are but a few of them that I commonly use. If you have any great ideas that I missed, drop me an email at tlapinski@thefisherman.com.

Nail Polish can be used in so many ways for the fisherman that it should be sold in your local tackle shop. From securing the wraps of a fly to changing the color of a lure to protecting the raw metal of a cut hook from corroding, the list goes on and on.

Much like nail polish, plastic zip ties have a million and one uses for the fisherman and counting. Surf fisherman have found a way to use zip ties when rigging eels which both speeds up the process as well as makes on the water repairs simple. If your reel seat starts to fail you can temporarily fix it with a few well-placed zip ties. Tired of casting those soft clams or bunker chunks off your hook? Zip tie the bait to your hook!

Electrical tape to the fisherman is like duct tape to the general fix-it guy in that if you can’t fix it with a few wraps then it probably isn’t worth fixing in the first place! But beyond fixing broken gear, electrical tape has many more uses. I use brightly-colored tape to mark pre-determined lengths on my surf rod. I set them at 40, 45 and 50 inches to assist in getting a quick measurement on a fish I intend on releasing. I have also seen spin fishermen taping their casting finger with electrical tape to avoid getting cut by braided line (although I prefer using a finger cot or basic pair of work gloves.)

I learned this one many years ago after a night of fishing chicken livers for catfish. Mix some toothpaste with a little bit of liquid hand washing dish detergent to both clean your hands as well as remove fishy odors. It works to cut the smell of eels, bunker, clams, squid and any fishy odor that you might encounter.

I mark the weight of all my lures and jigs right on the lip or nose with a Sharpie. Most wooden lures vary a little from lure to lure just by the nature of the differing density and quality of wood used so knowing exactly how much one weighs is an asset. This is also a huge aid when fishing with jigs as it’s not so easy to differentiate between .50 and .75 ounces when on the water. Markers can also be used to change the color of a lure or add accents like eye spots, gills, etc.

Why buy expensive baggies for your small tackle when most drug stores sell small zip-loc-type baggies for storing pills? These are perfect for storing pre-tied leaders, hooks, snaps, swivels and any other small fishing items that you want to keep handy. Be sure to label the bags with a permanent marker for quick identification. And here’s another tip, when fishing in saltwater add a few drops of WD-40 before sealing the bag to prevent corrosion.

I first picked up in this trick for storing lures from a video on the Lordship Lures website and have used it ever since. Buy a 10-foot section of 2” x 3” vinyl downspout material and cut it into lengths appropriate for the lures you plan to store. I usually cut them at 10 inches on a chop saw to get a nice clean cut, just go slowly to avoid shattering the vinyl. Arrange the tubes in a plastic tote, milk crate or other storage device and fill with your lures. You can use glue or tape to secure the tubes to each other so they do not move around when in transit. If you use a bin with holes in the bottom then you can rinse your lures after a day on the water, just be sure to let them fully dry before attaching the lid to avoid corrosion.

Cheap mesh laundry bags are great for storing live eels on your belt when fishing the surf. Larger ones can also be used as a “live well” on your boat; simply place the fish inside, tie off to a cleat and drop the bag overboard. They also serve well as a chum bag and can hold more than a day’s worth of fish-attracting goodness.

Whether plastic or metal, empty coffee containers are great tools for storing a wide variety of fishing gear. When I was much younger I would store worms in coffee jars. The lid was great to keep the worms inside when storing in the fridge and then the cool dirt would help to keep them fresh while on the water. The larger plastic ones available today can be used to make a water-resistant housing for an air bubbler to keep bait alive, just cut a small notch in the top of the jar to let the cord out when the lid is attached and drill a small hole near the base for the air hose feed. You can also store sinkers in the plastic jars, marking the lid with the weight of the sinkers inside. The ones with a built-in handle are even better as they make carrying them a lot easier.

While for the most part coiled phone cords are all but a thing of the past, it’s likely that you have a few stashed away somewhere, “just in case.” Or what about that old coiled cell phone car charger that you saved even though you upgraded to a new phone and the cord no longer fits? Well these make great lanyards and gear keepers. Cut the ends off the cord, double the wire over on itself, wrap some electrical tape around the doubles section leaving a small loop on the end and you’re good to go. For a more secure connection you can wrap thread over the doubled section and finish with epoxy. These cords can be attached to pliers, cameras, rods and just about anything that you want to prevent from being lost at sea.