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Mobasser

The Death of the small tackle shop

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I used to buy some of my tackle from a small, dusty tackle shop. A mom and pop owned business that had been there a very long time.The owner was an older guy, who had fished a long time. In the spring, they were always busy selling minnows to crappie fisherman, as well as lures and rods to bass anglers.Eventually they retired and closed up. The building is still there- sitting empty. It was a great place to hang out for a few minutes and talk fishing. The owners encouraged this, as it brought in business. There are still some small bait/ tackle shops in our Ozark region, off the beaten path, but most are fading fast. Are there still any left in your area? Do you shop there? The sad truth is that I think it's very hard to make it in that business. Much too hard to compete with big box stores and internet shopping. If you still have an old school tackle shop that you shop at,I'd like to hear about it.Sad that there's not many left

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There are still a few thriving around my home lake, though I don't fish there much anymore. The same ones that were there most of my life. I'm sure they don't make a killing at it. They're a gas station, restaurant, bait & tackle and hardware store with a decent selection of cheap beer. I used to love going there and buying minnows before the day started. They would also know if crappie were biting on minnows or jigs and what color to use, which, of course, they always had in stock. They would sell you an egg sandwich before you left and a cheeseburger at lunch. Good memories.

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There is still two left around here. One the older gentleman is not that friendly and closes in August for the season. The other I just found the other day for shiners about 25 mins away. Unfortunately with everyone searching the web for the cheapest price shipped to their door mop and pop stores are fast becoming a thing of the past. It’s a shame about all stores not just tackle shops hardware stores as well. You know the place that actually had the hard to find item you really needed. 

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Went broke with one years ago - miss the camaraderie but it's a new age.

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I love a family owned mom and pop tackle shop but there's one thing all the surviving ones around here have in common....they BARELY cater to bass fishermen, besides maybe carrying some basic Rapalas and Power Worms. The only stores keeping up with bass fishing around here are Dick's and Field & Stream. Obviously Cabelas and Bass Pro but we don't have those close by to Rochester. 

 

I hate to say it, but whether it's tackle shops or hardware stores or whatever, there's a reason why I buy stuff online and it's not for the convenience of not having to leave home, but rather that 90% of the time stores do NOT have what I'm looking for in the first place. Can't tell you how many times I've had to chase around looking for specific items only to just go home and buy them on Amazon which would've saved both time and headache in the first place. Typically though with baits/lures I'm buying from big box stores to avoid shipping costs. 

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6 minutes ago, Krux5506 said:

I love a family owned mom and pop tackle shop but there's one thing all the surviving ones around here have in common....they BARELY cater to bass fishermen, besides maybe carrying some basic Rapalas and Power Worms. The only stores keeping up with bass fishing around here are Dick's and Field & Stream. Obviously Cabelas and Bass Pro but we don't have those close by to Rochester. 

 

I hate to say it, but whether it's tackle shops or hardware stores or whatever, there's a reason why I buy stuff online and it's not for the convenience of not having to leave home, but rather that 90% of the time stores do NOT have what I'm looking for in the first place. Can't tell you how many times I've had to chase around looking for specific items only to just go home and buy them on Amazon which would've saved both time and headache in the first place. Typically though with baits/lures I'm buying from big box stores to avoid shipping costs. 

Very true

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Had a good friend that owned a small tackle store in Michigan.  KD Outdoors.  He survived by his knowledge of the local lakes and what was working when.  He was an avid fisherman.  He sold live bait as well as servicing Bows and being an authorized Trolling Motor repair center.  His niche was that he carried the baits that worked no matter who manufactured them.  Ever go into BPS/Cabela's or any other box store and try to find Megabass Jerkbaits for example?  You won't.  He also carried a lot of locally owned bait manufacturers product.  It was a very tough business to be in.  Sadly he passed from an unexpected illness and the shop was closed.  

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We have a small one that is bass and catfish specific. But the owner also rents kayaks, sells them, and also sales guns and ammo. He flat out said guns keep the doors open ammo makes me my profit if it was just fishing I’d be out of business. People rather save a buck at Walmart here

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I remember going into a tackle store in the 1980s and buying my first map of Guntersville Lake.  There was on old guy behind the counter who ask me how much I fished Guntersville.  I told him I just bought my first boat and was new to lake fishing.  He pulled out a pen and said let me mark a few places for you.  He spent about 30 minutes telling me how to fish the lake.  He helped me out a lot.  That kind of service is very good for the sport.  That kind of service is very hard to find these days.

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There are a couple privately owned sporting goods stores in the area. I also found a nice one in Poultney VT... smaller store, but was able to grab some soft plastics and a crankbait there.

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Theres one by me that I shop at occasionally. They’re alive because they also sell more guns than anyone in the state. But they carry a good selection of plastics in colors that work and have the basics in everything else. Their prices are on the higher end but that’s to be expected. 

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There are 3-4 good ones near me and they have all the good stuff you can’t find at big stores. Quit buying stuff online folks! 

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I have one close to me. I thought they might go out when Cabelas came to town. That was the best thing that could have happened to them. Their business increased once Cabelas came here. They have a much better selection of many baits. Now they are selling a lot of kayaks too.

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There are several decent mom & pop bait/shops around here that are doing well.  They are usually situated on or close to good fishing grounds, and cater to their clientele.  I mean, that's really the secret of any good retail: location and offering goods customers want.

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A bunch of old tackle shops have closed in my area because of the big retail stores and the internet.  I had a great one on Griffin road in Davie that was owned by Pat Fitzpatrick.  He lived on Poga and was as knowledgeable as anyone in the sport of fishing.  Every time you went in the store there would be ten guys sitting in the back room talking fishing.  You were always welcome to come in a join in on the conversation.  He died a slow death from cancer, and his wife took over the store for another 5 years.  The years and health issues made her give up the business.  I miss that store and the entire fishing community has lost a good friend when that place closed down.  His store was Everglades Bass Pro Shop, and he had that name way before the national chain came to Florida.  The store was there at least 40 years.

Miss you Pat and his lovely wife.

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There’s one in my city that an older gentleman runs out of his house. He has 5 20x20 sheds out back that are full of nothing but bass lures. They’re separated, one for jigs spinnerbaits buzzbaits and vibrating jigs, one for crankbaits and topwater, two are stocked wall to wall with plastics, and then the last one is swimbaits and terminal tackle. It’s great, the first time I found it I thought I’d died and gone to heaven haha. 

 

He has lots of stuff you can’t find elsewhere and lots of colors you can’t usually find. Also, if he orders something for you he keeps it in stock until you either tell him to stop or the company discontinues the product. That way it’s always there if you need it. 

 

Theres also a couple up around the lake, which is about a 45 minute ride from town. There’s a gas station about 5 minutes from my campground that has an aisle of hard baits and a small selection of plastics and line and such that can come in handy in a pinch. Then there’s also a dedicated fishing shop about 15 minutes away which is half decent but only stays open because of their gun sales. 

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19 minutes ago, J Francho said:

 location and offering goods customers want.

I live an a very inshore-centric area and all the local stores are empty of much bass tackle.  There is one great bass-store "nearby", but it's an hour-ish north and going there involves timing things around Baltimore's rush hour, so I only make it up there maybe twice a year.  I wish they were closer to me, I would love to be able to just buy a single lure rather than talking myself into spending $50 for "free" shipping every time I want to try something new.  

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We have a great one here in town that I try to utilize as much as possible. Family owned father and son who are very friendly. They cater to 95% bass fishing but I think sell some live bait as well. They are also the local Hobie kayak dealer and sell the hell out of them. It's great having someone local instead of relying on big box stores and online.

 

 

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I try to use any hardworking small family business that I can, even though it cost a few more dollars. 

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46 minutes ago, Derek1 said:

I try to use any hardworking small family business that I can, even though it cost a few more dollars. 

Same. And sometimes with new baits and such, it’s much better in person. Looks can be deceiving online, especially when it comes to color. So seeing it in person is a huge plus. Not to mention you get to take your new toys and play with them immediately instead of waiting for them to get here. 

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We still have them although not like it used to be. 

Bitters Tackle is our store here in town. It’s owned by John Bitters, Jim Bitters brother. They have an unbelievable selection of plastics that no one can hold a candle to, not even Bass Pro or Cabelas. They make their own line and have every color imaginable (and some you didn’t even know existed). In addition, they have every other type lure or tackle you could think of for bass. If they don’t have it, nobody does here in town.

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There are two in my town. One has been around for decades and the other opened about 7-8 years ago. Both also sell hunting equipment, and one has an indoor gun range. Both stay busy, to be honest I never though they would both survive but they have! I shop at the newer one because they have more bass gear and it's closer to me. 

 

Within a ten mile radius of me there are four including the two I mentioned. If you increase the range to 15-20 miles there are close to ten that I can think of. Our closest "big city" is about 45 miles as the crow flies, so all we have close by is a Wal-Mart and a Meijer (which is a regional supermarket) so mom and pop is all we have which is good. Small town USA is a good thing in my book. 

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19 minutes ago, SC53 said:

We still have them although not like it used to be. 

Bitters Tackle is our store here in town. It’s owned by John Bitters, Jim Bitters brother. They have an unbelievable selection of plastics that no one can hold a candle to, not even Bass Pro or Cabelas. They make their own line and have every color imaginable (and some you didn’t even know existed). In addition, they have every other type lure or tackle you could think of for bass. If they don’t have it, nobody does here in town.

Sounds like my kind of place

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20 plus yrs. ago small guys thrived in my area...had lures big boxes didn't...buzzbaits e.g. ...miss 'em...Walmart moved in...then Academy...they are all gone now...found only on the reservoirs...some of the saltwater shops doing well...

 

good fishing...

 

 

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8 hours ago, Krux5506 said:

there's a reason why I buy stuff online and it's not for the convenience of not having to leave home, but rather that 90% of the time stores do NOT have what I'm looking for in the first place. Can't tell you how many times I've had to chase around looking for specific items only to just go home and buy them on Amazon which would've saved both time and headache in the first place. 

^This^

The vast majority of the little bait and tackle stores I have visited do not have the exact lures I use so I often buy them online or in Bass Pro Shops,Walmart,etc. These bait and tackle stores tend to charge you more money for the same lure,pack of hooks,other fishing gear you can get for less in bigger stores or on online. I often get hard to find lures with free shipping online and it saves me time which is important for me.

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