MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you’re wetting a line this summer, there’s a good chance your fishing trip will start with a trip to the bait shop. The information gathered, and the quality of the bait you purchase, can mean the difference between success or failure.
The votes have been tallied for the Best of Minnesota, and you chose the Full Stringer Bait and Tackle shop in Longville, where attention to detail helped a young couple’s dream become a reality.
The Longville area is literally dotted with fishing lakes.
All you have to do is look at a map to discover that the local bait shop might play just as important a role in the grand scheme of things as the mailman or the town doctor.
So when John and Lacey Ferris bought this bait shop a couple of years ago and began fixing it up, people took notice.
“And people that were in here before we bought the bait shop and know what it looked like and know the hard work that we put into it,” Lacey said.
That hard work and a lot of hours helped transform their shop, and also helped realize a dream that was long on the back burner.
“The only job I’ve ever had has been in a bait shop,” John said. “I started shortly after I turned 14. and I’m pretty sure after my first day I went home and told my parents, ‘I’m going to own a bait shop some day.'”
With their two small children in tow, the Ferrises have assumed all that comes with the bait business in these parts, including almost ridiculous hours.
“We know what a 140-hour week feels like, because we’ve put in a few of them in the last couple years,”
But these two seem to take all the hard work in stride, even though date night may often consist of a romantic evening sorting leeches.
“I never would have pictured myself being here,” Lacey said. “And now I love it, and I love that we can work together, and we work well together.”
With John’s 20+ years in the business, the couple are well aware of what it takes to keep anglers happy.
“It’s a lot of little things,” John said. “The difference between ‘doing it right,’ and ‘doing it,’ really isn’t that big. Customer service — say hi to everyone that walks in, and treat customers the way you want to be treated — That’s really important to us. And take a lot of pride in selling the best bait that we can offer, and if we’re out of something we need to have and it’s three hours away and I can go get it, I’ll get in the truck and go get it.”
With minnows so lively, they’re hard to hang on to, and leeches fat enough to turn a walleye with lockjaw, the future looks pretty bright for this young family.
And although they may be spending a little less time on the water themselves, the area anglers may just have full stringers for years to come.
The Full Stringer Bait Shop is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. They’re closed during the winter months.