Wednesday, May 23, 2012

More than bait

By BEVERLY DRAPALIK

A fisherman’s review on the Internet said, “Have been going there for years to get bait.  They are always friendly, give information if asked—the owners are great.” As complete as this review might seem, there is actually so much more to be found within the walls of the Fishing Pole Bait Shop in Clinton County.

Just inside the front door, a coffee pot greets customers each morning.  Every morning.  The smell of coffee does mix a bit with the smell of bait, however. This shop is open all year - yes, even in winter. Coffee and fish are not the only greeters. Twelve-year-old Gus, the store dog, quickly arrives at the door. He will want a pat on the head before you ask the first question.

Karen and Jeff Andrews have owned the shop for almost 13 years. They bought it from the Blacks, who owned it for 33 years after buying it from a parent. Get the picture? It’s been around since the 1950s.

Most people around Clarksville still depend on stopping by for groceries, personal hygiene products, beer, cigarettes, pet supplies, ice and gas. The pumps seem outdated - perhaps inoperable - but actually work very well. Car after truck after car stopped to fill tanks on a recent morning. 

Actually, this shop would save so much time – it’s much faster than the usual trip to a big grocery store for food and gas. 

Fishermen rely on this bait shop for equipment and bait, but the occasional fisherman with a grandchild will also find what he needs. A small child’s attention won’t wander since Lake Cowan is only a mile away.

The shop sells fishing and hunting licenses, pay-lake tickets and fishing equipment. The inventory lining the walls is impressive. Karen says, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”

Recently, a man found out exactly how much the Andrews harbor in their shop. He needed to work on his car and was very surprised to learn that he could find gasket sealer within the automotive supplies. His work was done in half the time without a trip to a major auto supply dealer.

The Fishing Pole Bait Shop may be lovingly cared for by its next owners soon. The shop is for sale. New owners would enjoy the residence and store in the main building. The shop sits on seven beautiful acres, complete with two ponds, a 24-40 feet workshop and a 40-60 pole barn that has electricity, concrete and 14-feet sidewalls.

A small piece of paradise sits at 5071 State Route 350 in Clarksville, and neighbors will probably depend on it for another 50 years.

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