More people fishing leads to nationwide bait and tackle shortages
By Parris Kane, KATV
via WCYB (TN) - May 18th 2020
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — As more and more people take up fishing as a social distancing hobby, the bait and tackle industry is seeing bait and supply shortages like they've never seen before.
Lisa's Bait Shop in Benton has been in business for 35 years now, but owners Steve and Lisa say they've never seen anything like this.
"Springtime has always been busy in this business but this year has been probably three, four times normal," Steve Spencer said.
Since people aren't able to go to work or school, Spencer says more people have started fishing in the last few months than ever before. In fact, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, fishing poles are the perfect measuring stick for social distancing.
On top of the increase in demand for bait and tackle supplies, Spencer said a lot of the factory and warehouse suppliers they work with have also shut down, making them hard to come by.
"Really the hardest thing has been the live bait, the crickets, we ran out of crickets a couple of weeks ago, the first time we’ve ever been out in 35 years," Spencer said.
Live bait also has to have time to grow, according to Spencer. “The minnows, it’s hard to get any of any size, you know, we get smaller minnows and not near the quantity we normally get," he said.
Spencer says the price of worms has also gone up a little bit, and they're not able to get the same quantity they once were. While it's been tough, he says their suppliers have done their best to get them what they need to keep going, and their customers have been understanding.
Business is way up compared to this time last year for the bait shop, but Spencer says things are starting to slow back down.
"I think as more things open up, and people get back to work and stuff it will get back to normal, but I think it’s going to take longer to get back to normal than it did to get behind."
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of firsts for the bait shop, Spencer says not all of them have been bad...