I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

• Local Tackle

I decided to post this to show that one can live without needing BPS. Aside from buying anything and everything you need online, finding a place locally depending on where you live can be a troubling task. Most of the time when reading discussions online, I see that many anglers have to drive hours and hours to get to their nearest Bass Pro, Gander Mountain, or Cabela's. Down here, Bass Pro has the edge on fishing. Luckily, I live somewhere that has many anglers and bodies of water to fish. Otherwise I don't think there would be as many places to find tackle.

So let me just name the places I can go to locally and then discuss each for a brief moment. We have Academy here and Dick's Sporting Goods just opened up not too long ago. Of course, we have numerous Wal Mart shopping centers in the area. There are also some small time tackle shops. We have Northwood Bait & Tackle, Travis Marine, Bacon's, Bayou Outdoors, and Reeve's Marine. If I need something, one of them should have it.

Academy is probably the best place to go to fill the void once scratching BPS off your list. They sell almost everything you need from reels, line, and tackle to boat supplies and even a few boats. They even carry some things BPS doesn't. For instance, they carry Pflueger's new Patriarch baitcaster. I know lots of anglers who are ticked that BPS isn't carrying that reel. Academy also carries some quality rods. One Academy is in Shreveport and the other is in Bossier.

Dick's is somewhat of a disappointment. If you like golf, you're going to love Dick's. Unfortunately, their fishing department is lacking, but they do carry some basic things. I don't go there much.

Wal Mart also carries a few things I can't get other places. They have the basics and I usually buy my license there. I love their $1 spinnerbait too. It's tough to beat. I can get a few plastics I tend to use along with various crankbaits, hooks, and weights. They carry the Yo Zuri Hybrid in large spools too. Their rod and reel selection is so/so, but if you need a quick fix, it just might be the place to go.

There are the big stores. Now let's talk about some of the small time shops.

The first, and closest to me, is the Northwood Bait & Tackle shop north of town. I think a lot of people hit this place on their way to Caddo. I can't say that the place is much cheaper. In fact, quite a few of the plastics they sell cost more than what you'd pay elsewhere. Still, they keep a lot of plastics you are not going to find anywhere else. They carry Lake Fork Tackle, V&M, Zipper Lizards, hard to find Zoom colors, numerous brands of crankbaits, and what looks to me like their locally made spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. They even have lead molds. I left out a lot of other lures, but this place is a diamond in the rough. They do have a few reels up front under glass. I'm not sure how many they sell. You can also pick up live bait. The second half of the shop has hunting gear too. Some of their staff is a little rough around the edges, but there's one guy I've met who is usually there all the time that'll set you up and recommend good things.

Travis Marine isn't too far from BPS down on Texas Street on your way to Haughton. They sell boats, motors, and other boating supplies as well as fishing lures. They too carry a few things that are hard to find elsewhere. They have a wider selection of Lake Fork Tackle products among other reputable plastics. I don't go there often. I really need to spend some time giving the place a once over. It's a good little shop, but I rarely ever see anyone there other than one employee at the desk.

I haven't been to Bacon's in a long time. This place has a lot of homemade plastics. It has a bit of an old-time look on the inside. They sell live bait, rods and reels, and parts to build your own lures. They have a neat case in the back featuring old lures. They have a section where you can pick out your own unpainted wooden crankbait body to fix up yourself. The guys have always been friendly and can offer a wealth of information. Bacon's is a little out of the way for me located on the south side of town.

Bayou Outdoors is a shop over off of Barksdale Boulevard. I believe they coordinate the Cross Lake Thursday night tournaments. I've never been to the store, but I've heard they have a decent selection. They sell a variety of boats and boating supplies as well. The web site is http://www.bayououtdoor.com.

Reeve's Marine is a place I haven't been to yet. All I know is that they sell a lot of boats. They also sponsor some bass fishing tournaments. I think there is some local animosity among the family that runs the place and others in the area. I don't know what the story is, but from what I've heard, if you need a boat, it's a good place to go. They'll definitely set you up, although I think they have a reputation for pushing Ranger boats.

So that's what I know. I'm not sure if there are any other shops in the area, but it just goes to show you don't need Bass Pro to get good gear. There are two things I need to look for though. Otherwise I'm going to have to go online. I can't find P-Line Halo anywhere now and I have been using BPS snap swivels. I might have to ask Academy if they'll start carrying Halo. I'm sure it would sell. I'm not sure about the snap swivels though. I still have a few packs left that'll last me a long time. Maybe that will push me into finally tying lures on instead of being a quick-change addict.