by: L.A. Van Veghel
If you are like most anglers, you’ve gone off to a new lake in an area where you’d never before been, and you didn’t know where to get your live bait. You could’ve picked up some before you left, but you worried that the bait might not survive the trip plus the wait at the location before the bait is used. Besides, minnow pails tip over and covers have been known to blow away.
Many a time, I’ve seen coolers and minnow buckets along side of a road. Even if you pushed the covers down tightly, vibration and wind have cast numerous covers, minnow buckets, and coolers into the air and at following traffic. Not only is this unsafe, but it costs anglers money to replace the items, and possibly pay for vehicle accidents and police tickets.
Keeping current a statewide listing of bait shops is a monumental job. To do one that covers the United States is almost unthinkable due to changes in ownership, retirements and added new shops. Yet, BoatU.S. Magazine has not only created the info for the good old USA, but they’ve added Canada. Now, you can find the bait shops before you leave to catch the fish of your dreams, and you can better schedule your vacation time.
http://ww2.boatusangler.com/Bait/ is the website address. I’ve checked it out, and Wisconsin, has a listing of 484 bait shops. I also checked out other states plus provinces. Nova Scotia, a major location for fishing, does not list any bait shops.
One improvement I think the listings should do is that they be in alphabetical order by location instead of shop names. After all, we are looking to see if bait is available in the town, nearby to the lake or somewhere on our way to the fishing hole, and we probably do not know the name of the bait shop. You’ll have to scan the list to find the locations, but just collecting and publishing this data, for free, is a terrific tool to help make our fishing experiences a lot more fun, and that’s what fishing is all about.