‚ÄčA 2013 report by the American Sportfishing Association estimated that American anglers spend $7.2 billion annually on fishing equipment. Diehard fishermen typically possess 20 or more rods, several reels and even gear for ice fishing for those living in the Northeast and Midwest.

It's simply smart business for avid anglers to protect their investments by organizing and storing their fishing equipment so it's accessible and ready to use regardless of time elapsed between fishing trips. Garages provide the perfect space to create a fishing base that would make both Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam proud. Here are three tips to efficiently and effectively store your gear.

Tackle Advice

Some anglers like to go after the same type of fish every time out. This makes for easy tackle selection and storage. However many fisherman target catfish one week, bass the next and trout the following month. It's these individuals who need multiple tackle boxes and a more detailed system of organization.

Crank baits should be stored in their own tackle box. All terminal tackle (hooks, sinkers, swivels, etc.) should also have dedicated boxes. Plano's four-drawer tackle boxes are great for separating your gear for each species of fish.

All of your soft plastics need their own dedicated storage spaces and should be organized by style. Curvy-tail worms for bass and walleye, for example, should be stored together. Drop shots and senkos for other species need their own space as well.

Rack 'Em

All rod racks are not created equal. The type and style you choose will depend on the amount of space you're working with and the general layout of your garage.

Rod holders are typically made of plastic, aluminum, fiberglass or custom-built with various types of wood. The two main varieties are vertical ground racks and wall racks. The latter have the advantages of not taking up surface area on the ground and allow your lines to hang loosely. You also don't have to worry about wall racks tipping over.

Make certain vertical ground racks are sturdy. Don't buy it if you're not able to view and test one on display. It's best to use wood or steel ground racks because of their weight. If you're willing to pay $500 for a rod and reel, it behooves you to also invest in an adequate means of storing it.

Advanced Tips

The little steps you take before putting your rods away until the next fishing trip make all the difference in preserving and protecting your equipment.

When storing your rods, make sure there's no tension on the lines. Most anglers hook the line to the reel when rods are not in use. But rods have memory and will maintain that bend if you leave it hooked that way long enough. Ideally lures should simply be cut off completely when storing your rods.

Loosen the drag and spool tension on bait casting reels when poles are sitting for extended periods. These steps will eliminate the possibility of bending your rods and negatively effecting casts.

Finally keep the garage at room temperature if possible. Excessive heat weakens the graphite and fiberglass in rods. Filet knives should be cleaned, sharpened and dried before long-term storage. It's also a good idea to coat them with a light oil to protect from rust.