In small towns and big cities throughout the United Sates, there is a plague that is killing off the heart of the recreational fishing industry. Each year another community loses a cornerstone of its heritage when their small family owned bait shop goes out of business.

Before the big box sporting goods stores and ecommerce came along, those looking for fishing tackle and live bait visited their local bait and tackle shop. Usually located near the local fishing grounds, these stores provided a selection of baits, lures, and tackle all tuned to the local fishery and season. There you could buy a fishing rod or reel, have your existing reel serviced, purchased some hooks and sinkers, as well as some fresh bait for a day’s outing. As a bonus, these merchants where well diverse in what fish were biting and where you could find them and these shopkeepers were eager to provide this local knowledge free of charge. If you were lucky you could also pick up a fresh cup of coffee and a snack for the road as well as some ice for your cooler. Much like the local coffee shop or corner bar, these places were woven into the fabric of our communities.

Today these baits and tackle shops are under extreme pressure with tighter profit margins and fewer customers. In years past a bait and tackle shop could provide a good living for a small family.  Today with excessive regulation and high overheads which include rent, utilities, and insurances, it’s becoming harder and harder to open the doors each morning. What makes these shop owners wake up in the pre-dawn hours every day just to be ready for the early morning fishermen is not the ideal of riches but the love of fishing.

You can do your part to preserve these family owned and operated enterprises. SUPPORT THEM with YOUR dollar$. Help to keep the traditions alive in your community. Shop local when possible. Here is a list of bait and tackle shops in your area.

Shop Local and Fish On!