When I was a kid, my dad and I would always stop by the local bait shop for worms on our way to to go fishing. There was something about the bait shop that I loved: the smell of fishing lures, the water from the shiner fish tanks and the musty smell that comes from older homes on the river – it was awesome. The people who worked there were older gentlemen who seemed to know everyone who came in by name. There were pictures on the wall, both old and new, of fish people had caught in the local waters.
There were also two bigger family owned outdoor stores in my area since I was a kid: Ray’s Sport Shop and Efinger Sporting Goods. I even spent a few months working part time at Ray’s before I got married in 2005. Unfortunately, Ray’s was the first to go out of business in 2008 and then more recently Efinger’s closed this past December.
I just drove by the local bait shop my dad and I used to frequent last week, and unfortunately, they are out of business as well. Below is a picture of the Millstone Sport Shop that is now out of business. It hard to see the sign but it is for rent!! Anyone want to bring the bait shop back to life?
Sure, you can find lures cheaper at other major sporting goods retailers, but you will never get the experience and stories of the people who worked at the local sporting good stores and bait shops. I’m not saying there aren’t experienced people at major retailers, but the smaller shops definitely had some old timers with loads of knowledge about local waters.
To really know what I’m talking about, seek out your local bait shop and pay them a visit. When you go there, you get a lot more than just bait. You get to learn about other outdoorsmen, hear their stories and find out what the fish are biting on. Learn the names of the people who work there and become a repeat customer, you will have and make friends for a lifetime.
A lot of the bait shops around me are disappearing but I know they are not ALL going away. Leave a comment and tell us about your local bait shop! Below are some of the ones that I have heard of, but have not yet been to all of them. Let’s help keep the local places in business!
www.shannonsflytackle.com Califon NJ
www.facebook.com/Behre-Bait-and-Tackle Lebanon NJ
www.simonpetersport.com Newton NJ
www.andoverhuntandfish.com Andover NJ