Lake Martin live bait fishermen have a new spot to buy bait. Kowaliga Live Bait And Tackle is open for business. The new store on Kowaliga Road (aka Highway 63) is south of Kowaliga Bridge. In fact, it’s just south of my office, a tad north of the intersection with Highway 229.
The other day while driving to my office, I saw their sign, and I was so surprised that I chuckled. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I can’t remember the last time a new bait shop opened on Lake Martin.
Then, I was surprised that I was surprised. Why not a new live bait shop? Lake Martin has 700 miles of shoreline spread over 40,000 acres, and great fishing. So why isn’t the live bait industry thriving right now?
When I was growing up on Lake Martin, if you wanted to fish, most of the time you used bait. You could stop by any old fillin station and at the very least they would sell crickets and worms. It was commonplace. In these days of clean, sparkly, mega-marts that sell hamburgers, haircuts, sub sandwiches, and also gas, the live bait selection has suffered. You really have to hunt around to find it. And even then, it’s hard to find the OSHA-defying oily tubs packed with minnows, and the stench, activity, and din of a room full of crickets. To me, surviving a trip to the bait shop was half the fun of fishing.
Lake Martin is changing. Is it just me, or are there really fewer live bait fishermen out there today? The fish are still there. Are they only being pursued by the plastic worm wielders and buzz bait boys? Or are the fishermen being replaced by boaters? I don’t fish as much as I used to; work is my excuse. I’m looking forward to fishing a lot more this summer with my sons.
Incidentally, isn’t it also a sign of the times that the live bait guy has protected his business by forming an LLC? Really – an actual legal entity was formed for the purposes, I assume, of “sellin crickets, worms, & minners.” I applaud Kowaliga Live Bait And Tackle, and wish them the best of luck. The next time my boys are at the cabin, our first trip will be to this new live bait guy.
If you have a tip on where else to find good bait – leave a comment / reply to this post and let us all know where to go…