Friday, December 4, 2009

End of an era (Grand River Tackle to close)

A Northeast Ohio fishing institution for a generation, Grand River Tackle in Fairport Harbor is set to close, likely by the end of December.

The tackle shop's owner, Bruce Dickerson, and his daughter, Kelly, tried to keep the shop open and profitable.

However, the continuing sour economy has taken its toll on many industries, not the least of which is the sport fishing industry. That includes such operations as Grand River Tackle.

The store became more than just a place to buy emerald shiners, fly-tying equipment to self-make woolly buggers and sucker spawns, but also a go-to destination for local fishing advice, whether it be for Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch or for stream steelhead.

What started out in Grand River Village the shop eventually moved to Fairport Harbor at the crossroads where anglers wanting to launch their boats at the public ramp or head right and fish the Uniroyal Hole of the Grand River pretty much had to pass by.

Dickerson was always more than willing to give his advice for free and also run a first-class annual steelhead fishing derby. His skills at tying flies and instructing beginners (myself included as well as my wife, Bev) were (are still) as rock-solid. He's first-class act all the way.

But a tackle shop needs to do more than just sell Sticky Eggs for spawn sack making or maggots for farm pond fishing. It also has to sell higher-end items like rods, reels and such. That is tough enough for big sporting goods chain stores let alone a small, family run business.

The shop will conduct a 50-percent off sale starting at 8 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 8. And depending upon remaining inventory and volume of traffic, the store will remain open through the end of the month.

No question, however, the anglers of Northeast Ohio have lost more than just a dependable place to buy neccessities not typically found elsewhere. They're also out an old-fashioned angling hang-out and centralized location for local fishing lore.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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