In praise of local tackle shops

We’re going to talk about something a little different this week — local tackle shops. Before we do, however, I want to say that nothing I talk about is meant to discourage anyone from ordering products over the Internet. That’s a fine way to get what you want. It’s just that local shops have certain advantages that you can use to improve your catch.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, mostly because of my opening a shop on Lake Guntersville. One of the first things that struck me when I started that project was the amount of tackle that’s available. You could spend a small fortune on it and never make a dent in what’s available. But even if you did that you still might not have what you need on any given day on any given lake.

You see, bass fishing has a strong local element to it. Some lures and some colors work better on some lakes than they do on others. That could be because of the forage that’s available, because of the water colors or because of any number of other reasons. Often times you need local knowledge to help you make wise purchases. A good place to start getting that knowledge is at local tackle shops. 

To put it another way: You can say that the better tackle shops stock what’s working on their lake at the time you’re there. The really good ones have employees that fish and most of them have some relationship with professional guides. They also know what their customers are saying early in the morning and late in the evening.

I can tell you from personal experience that good tackle shops pay close attention to that information. We go to great lengths to make sure we have the hot baits in the hot colors. We usually hear plenty of scuttlebutt, too, so we can give you tips on how to fish them.

Chris Lane Outdoors isn’t alone when it comes to this. Most of the bigger bass lakes around the country have a tackle shop that’s doing the same thing. That’s the nature of the business. We don’t sell junk and we don’t sell stuff that doesn’t catch fish. We want you to have a good time at our lake and we want you to come back ... with your friends.

If you pay attention to professional bass fishing, you might get a somewhat different impression. Most of us order almost everything we’ll need for the whole season before it ever begins. But we know the lakes because we’ve fished them before and we know what works. That’s a huge advantage. It puts the odds in our favor when we pull up to the ramp.

You can make a start towards evening those odds, however, by getting up-to-the-minute information from local people who know what they’re talking about. In most cases, all you have to do is ask the right people. You can find a lot of them at a high-quality, local tackle shop.

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