By: Dan Carns
I’ve written about this subject before, but I feel even more convinced of the importance of making this part of your invested interest in fishing. Sure, you have a bunch of fishing gear, and you may already be an experienced angler and going to the local bait shop may not be on your list, but I assure you that this should be part of your prep work before launching. I can pull up to an unfamiliar lake or shoreline and figure out how to catch whatever is available, but you can speed up the learning curve by reaching out to the local experts. I used to be a little intimidated to ask for advice. For one, nobody wants to look like they’re inexperienced and two, nobody wants to feel foolish by asking the wrong questions. Although the primary role of a tackle shop is to provide bait and tackle, local advice is the other benefit that they provide.
Some of you may argue that the big tackle retailers are a little less expensive, but they rarely have an expert on their staff, and I’ve found that all too often there will be some young hot shot with all the attitude of a great angler but no customer appreciation. When you spend a few extra dollars on tackle and supplies at a locally owned shop, you can be assured that your money is supporting a local family and employees. One word of caution about tackle shops, if you enter a shop and someone sees you and doesn’t instantly say “hey” or “let me know if I can be of any help”, that’s your queue to leave. Do not tolerate being ignored in a tackle shop.
I bring all this up as I am a full-time traveler and fish in a lot of places so getting a leg up on the local fishing scene is important as I may only have a day or two to catch fish. I’ve recently arrived in Mesa, AZ for a two month stay and the last time I was here got skunked in a local reservoir that I learned later had a fish die off due to an algae bloom. Armed with that knowledge, I stopped in at the Liar’s Korner in Apache Junction, AZ to get a little advice. I’ve been here before and it was nothing to write about but was surprised to find a new entrance and a bright and beautiful remodeled interior chock full of tackle, fishing supplies, and new owners ready to assist me in any way possible. I mentioned just a couple of things that I needed, and some advice on fishing locally and that was all it took! Half an hour of local knowledge, some new lures and true to their word I found fish in the exact spots that they predicted. So, find a local shop, be humble about what you know or don’t know and support them while they support your fishing addiction!