Fishing Remains Red-Hot Pandemic Activity
Saturday marks the opening of the fishing season in Minnesota for walleye, bass, northern pike and lake trout.
Big B’s Bait & Tackle in Plymouth is one of the most popular spots for bait in the northwest suburbs, and they compared this weekend to one of America’s most well-known sporting events.
“The Super Bowl of fishing,” said Brian Sularz, the owner. “People are jacked up. You know it’s time to get back out there on open water. We’re excited.”
The dream of any angler is to catch “the big one,” but before that can happen, they need just the right bait.
And for 24 years, the first stop on many a fishing journey is Big B’s Bait & Tackle in Plymouth.
“I ordered some leeches, a pound of leeches to bring with us,” said Wally Olson, a fisherman from Rogers. “Probably the best bait store you can get around town here.”
When you have the best bait store during the so-called Super Bowl of fishing, chances are that it’s going to be a busy weekend.
“Usually it starts kicking off around midday Friday and then it’s chaos all through the weekend,” Sularz said.
Yet Sularz says the influx of customers is more than just a weekend blip.
During the pandemic ‘business has doubled’
While the COVID-19 shutdowns impacted a lot of the indoor-entertainment options over the past year, Minnesota’s lakes remained open for business, and that was good news for the shop’s bottom line.
“Absolutely, business has doubled,” Sularz said. “Last year was absolutely incredible. We had a hard time keeping product in the shop. It’s good to see a lot of new faces getting back into the sport.”
And all accounts are that even as the state lifts COVID restrictions, interest in fishing remains strong.
The Minnesota DNR reports that in the first week of May, fishing license sales were up more than 10 percent compared to the same time last year.
Longtime fishermen have certainly noticed a difference.
“Oh, if you’re not [at the lake] by 5:00 you might have a hard time finding a parking spot,” Olson said.
One of the good things to come out of the pandemic is that people rediscovered the great outdoors, and in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, there’s nothing like a fishing opener to bring people together.
“And I think people are gonna come back year-after-year because I think they found out, that ‘hey, this is pretty fun.’ We’re gonna keep doing this,” Sularz said.