History in Photos: Old Bait & Tackle Shops

Suffice it to say, there’s a good chance that every fisherman of a somewhat “older” age probably had a local bait and tackle shop that is still fondly etched in their memory. The tackle stores of today are certainly nothing like the shops of the past. Here’s a photo in tribute to all those old shops and the memories they created. Feel free to share your favorite old tackle store with our readers in the comments section below.

Judy Wessel and her two young daughters, Jenk's Bait Shop, Hayward, WI. Fishing Facts, August 1972.

Judy Wessel and her two young daughters, Jenk’s Bait Shop, Hayward, WI. Fishing Facts, August 1972.

  • paul wallace

    Back in the mid seventies, a 200 acre lake was built outside my small town..[300-350 people]. The only store in town was an old country-everything- store. The owner Mac, decided to open a bait and tackle store in the old restaurant building, about 200 yards from my house. I had worked in his store since I was 10/11 yrs old. He paid me $1 an hour to work the bait shop..I would have done it for free, most likely. The smells and memories are still with me to this day…especially the pre-packaged catfish bait..lol.We were not cutting edge, but I did get to make suggestions and desicions on some of the lures and baits we ordered. Everyone in town knew I was a bass fishing nut, even at that age, so it wasn’t that strange for me to be working alone in the store at 12 years old.
    Strangely enough the other thing I remember is the music that played through the radio, that was always on. There is a whole bunch of songs that remind me of that little tackle shop…
    Alas, business was not that good and Mac moved the bait shop into the Grocery store and it became an afterthought..One of the best jobs a kid could have for a couple years, though..
    Paul

  • bruce w

    My local tackle store was the “Honey Hole” in Tahlequah Ok. 1977 +/-. A really small building, but he had it stocked with the best local favorites…the owners name, I think was Harold Hall? Maybe someone else remembers his name. I think I bought my first rubber skirted jigs there, and was not sure that they would outfish a deer hair jig…but they worked just as well…maybe better.
    thanks for the great site!
    Bruce

  • Michael Piccirillo

    I am the current owner of Jenk’s Bait and Tackle. I have been looking for a picture of the original owner to put up in the shop. Would anyone happen to have a picture of Mr. Jenkins?

    • Brian

      Michael – Great to hear from you and good to know you are a small part of history owning that shop. I’ve seen/have several pictures of Al and Judy Wessel who purchased the shop after Mr. Jenkins retired, but have never seen a picture or heard any specifics on the original owner. If I ever come across any we’ll be certain to post. Have you checked with any of the state historical societies in Wisconsin?