“You know there’s never enough storage on a boat,” says Chris Poole. “I use Plano tackle trays, and I used to keep a lot of them in a tackle bag, which worked out pretty well. But some of my bigger stuff I would keep on the boat all the time up in my forward boxes, and it didn’t fit very well. It felt like I was just wasting a lot of space.”


Creating a Personalized Tackle Storage System 

As is often the case with center console fishing boats, his 2021 Sea Fox 248 Commander had plenty of storage in and forward of the console but not much in the cockpit, where fishing tackle and tools are most commonly needed. The boat had under-gunwale racks for rods, gaffs and brushes; a transom fish box; and a cooler under the leaning post, but no good place to store tackle.

When Chris Poole wanted to add more dedicated tackle storage on his Sea Fox 248 Commander, the area under the leaning post — previously occupied by a cooler — was the obvious location.

Collaborating with Boat Outfitters for a Custom Solution

The obvious solution was to add tackle storage under the aluminum-framed leaning post. The cooler that occupied that space could be stored forward of the console on longer fishing trips when extra cold storage was needed, or it could be simply left home for shorter trips and family days when the boat’s built-in cooler provided plenty of room.

Poole already knew where to start looking for a leaning post tackle unit because a friend of his had recently bought one from Boat Outfitters that he was happy with. The problem was that none of the tackle units on the company’s website fit his space exactly. There were plenty that would fit under his leaning post, but he wanted a precise fit that would make use of every bit of the available space.

The Steps Poole Took

So, knowing the company built custom boxes as well, Poole put together a rough sketch of what he had in mind, combining elements of several pre-existing Boat Outfitters designs, and contacted the company. The price, he says, was in line with what he was expecting. “I’d just done a little side job with my tractor,” he says, “and I told my girlfriend, ‘That’s the money for my tackle box.’”

Boat Outfitters converted Poole’s sketch into an engineering drawing and sent it back to him for approval. “It was spot-on,” he says, “exactly what I wanted.”

Installing the Tackle Box

One thing Poole hadn’t realized was that his deck was crowned slightly to help with drainage. So when the box was touching the deck in the center, it was 1/4” or so above the deck on each end.

To address this, Poole fabricated shims from 1/4” aluminum flat bar to go under the box near the ends, raising it so that the center was just above the deck. Then he screwed the box in place using stainless steel self-tapping screws and marine sealant.

To further support the box, he made another set of very thin shims — roughly 1/32” thick — and slid each one in toward the centerline until it fit tightly between the box and the deck. 

The result is that the box sits just off the deck, enough to allow Poole to clean underneath with a pressure washer.

Enjoying the New Tackle Box

The new tackle center, says Poole, who lives a couple of hours inland and fishes mainly out of Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Wrightsville Beach, N.C., has made a real difference in the fishability of his boat. Each cabinet door has slots for four deep tackle trays plus two standard trays where Poole keeps his lures.

The top drawer, divided into three sections, holds his bottom fishing weights, while the other three hold pliers, knives and other tools; leader and line; hooks in smaller tackle trays; and downrigger and outrigger hardware.

“If I had more room, I would have gone with more options,” he says. “But for the room I have, it’s perfect. It maximizes the space without getting in the way at all.”

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