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Brutal Spring Hurting Bait & Tackle Shops As Much As 85%

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ST. CROIX FALLS, Wis. (WCCO) – The dreary spring has cast clouds over the fishing business.

The St. Croix Outdoors bait and tackle shop said business is down 85 percent right now, and that the ice-out conditions during the fishing opener was the first punch.

The pattern of rainy weekends was the second punch, which has led store manager Todd Angel to call the start of 2013 the worst stretch of business he’s ever seen.

“If you got crummy weather forecasted, that hurts,” he said.

The late spring took months to relinquish its grip.

“Just east of here, we had 17 inches of snow on May 2,” Angel said. “We were threatening to sell power augers.”

And because St. Croix Outdoors is on the state border, when both of the states’ fishing openers flopped, Angel’s store felt the effects twice as much.

“The frustrating part is you never get it back, that’s the unfortunate part,” he said. “We’ve been here 17 years, been in business 28, and I’ve never seen anything like this. Even our customers that are 70, 80 years old, I quiz them to see if they’ve ever seen anything like it, and they haven’t.”

At the mercy of mother nature, a bad attitude only makes matters worse.

“You just hope that you can get some decent weather to try and make up a little of the loss, and Lord willing, it’ll happen,” Angel said.

Angel also sells guns, ammo and archery equipment, and those sales are helping keep the business afloat.

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