What’s Hot Where – May/June ’24

What’s Hot Where is dubbed as “A spot check of what’s selling around the country,” but it’s more than just that.

One of our most popular regular columns, What’s Hot Where (WHW) is a live look into buying trends at six retail outlets spread from coast to coast. We try to select a good cross-section of the country in both fresh and salt, making sure that we hit upon areas where fishing effort is strong at that time of the year.

In WHW, we don’t just list what’s being sold at each shop, we also try to succinctly relay some background info. If the bluefin are running off the west coast, then that’s a good reason for larger conventional reels to sell well in California. When the steelhead and salmon make their annual runs up the Lake Ontario tributaries, then odds are high that light-yet-powerful fly and spinning gear will be on the menu in Pulaski.

If you’d like to be included in the next edition of What’s Hot Where, fill out the form online at fishingtackleretailer.com.

Here’s a look at what made the cut for the most recent installment of What’s Hot Where from the May/June edition of Fishing Tackle Retailer.

NEW YORK

Howard Beach, NY
Cross Bay Bait and Tackle
718-835-1018
crossbayfishing.com
The Expert: Vinnie Campisi

The Bite: Striped Bass are in Jamacia Bay and spreading east along Long Island’s south shore. Schoolies lead the charge, but fish topping 40 lbs. should arrive in May. We are hoping for a repeat of last year’s unbelievable spring run. Blackfishing is off to a decent start on ocean wrecks and around local bridges.Rods & Reels: Tsunami rods are our biggest sellers. Customers really like the Trophy 2 and Air Wave models – I don’t even have to push them. Think 10’ for surf and 7- or 7-1/2’ for boat action. Penn Battle and Tsunami Shield reels match-up well with these rods.Line: We sell Power Pro line, mostly 40-pound test as that’s good for stripers and bottom-fishing.Lures: Our biggest seller right now is Daiwa’s SP Minnow. We have every color you can imagine but the bone and purple in 5.9” and 6.7” sizes fly off the shelves.
Terminal Tackle: Slide-sinker clip rigs are popular for targeting bass and blues with cut bunker baits. Everyone also needs some Tactical Anglers Power Clips.Other Gear: We suggest customers ensure they have a landing big enough for doormat fluke, bulldog blackfish and cow striped bass. Ranger nets sell best here, both adjustable models and standard handles. The 5’ length model works well.Comments: We’ve been on Jamacia Bay next to the Cross Bay Bridge since 1956. We have an amazing inventory with over 150 reels in stock, 1,500 rods, and nearly every saltwater lure that works off New York and New Jersey. We carry crabbing supplies and also sell our own hand-tied “Capt. Joe’s” rigs.

FLORIDA

Boca Raton, FL
PJ’s Seven Seas Tackle
561-392-4772
pjs7seas.com
The Expert: Bruce Lawless

The Bite: We have wahoo right now anywhere from 100- to 300’ depths and some are really big – an 84-lber was caught on April 4. Kingfish are hot, too, along with mutton snapper. The kings and muttons are on reef edges. Largemouths and peacock bass are active on the freshwater front.Rods & Reels: 7’ Star Rods (#1530), combined with an LX6 Avet reel are selling well right now. They are a great offshore combination for action with everything from sailfish to mahi.Line: Power Pro braided line has been moving well. We are selling across a range of strengths including 65-lb., 50-lb.,30-lb. and 20-lb.Lures: Our top freshwater lures of late have included Rapala X-Raps in size 8, and Yo-Zuri 3DR-X Jerk Baits in an 80-mm size.
Terminal Tackle: Lead and hooks; we sell them all day long.Other Gear: Seaguar Fluorocarbon Leader Material has been a last-minute add-on for many customers of late. Scissors and Krock fishing pliers have been heading out the door as well.Comments: We are a small operation with a ton of tackle and equipment. Our staff is helpful and freely gives advice on where and how to catch whatever’s biting best at the time.

MICHIGAN

Hastings, MI
Al & Pete’s Sport Shop
269-945-4417
Find Us On Facebook!
The Expert: Pete Schantz

The Bite: We are located about 30 miles from premier steelhead trout fishing in the Kalamazoo, Grand and Rogue rivers. The bite is solid in all three rivers now, so customers are making the trek there most days. Locally, we have crappie biting now, and bluegills are getting started.Rods & Reels: Berkley medium-light, 6’ Cherrywood open-face spinning reel combos are our best seller for bluegill fanatics. For steelhead fans, Raven size 16 levelwind baitcasting reels clearly lead the pack so far in 2024. These are used with longer rods for running floats.Line: Suffix Siege line in 10- to 14-pound test is our most popular choice for steelhead fishing. Most guys finish that with a lighter fluorocarbon leader.Lures: Trout Bead brand trout beads are by far our hottest item right now. Also, spawn bag (salmon eggs) steelhead baits have followings for just about every color and size we offer.
Terminal Tackle: We rarely sold any floats until a couple years ago but now 90% of the people targeting steelhead grab a handful on their way out the door. Raven Specialist hooks in size 6 sell really well on the steelhead front, too.Other Gear: Fluorocarbon leaders are key for connecting with steelhead. We wind a lot of Seagar InvisX bulk fluorocarbon line on customers’ leader sub-spools.Comments: In addition to being a reasonable drive from great steelhead fishing we are close to several smaller inland lakes, so we carry bass, bluegill and crappie gear, too. We also cater to fly-casters.

MINNESOTA

Ormsby, MN
Darryl’s Motor Sports
507-736-4131
No website or Facebook
The Expert: Darrell Olson

The Bite: Crappies and perch are our usual target this time of year, but it’s been pretty quiet due to cold and windy weather. That should turn around as May gets here. A brief warming spell should get both feeding again.Rods & Reels: Fenwick rods sell well here. Most customers choose light or medium-light models with 7’ a popular length. We’ll match these to Abu Garcia or Shimano spinning reels. The Abu Garcia Max line has consistently been our best-seller.Line: We sell mostly Berkley Trilene XL lines with 10-lb. test most popular. That choice covers everything from panfish to walleye.Lures: Floating Rapalas and Rapala Shad Raps in size #5 or #7 are a popular choice through most of the open-water season, especially with walleye fans. Small jigs for panfish sell well, too.
Terminal Tackle: We don’t sell much terminal tackle here, especially this time of year. Most anglers tie their hooks or jigs straight to the main line or leader. Walleye fans will want to stock up on pre-tied spinner rigs.Other Gear: It’s important to always have a good net on board, especially if walleye fishing. Live minnows are a great insurance bait – or an option if you don’t feel like using lures. They often out-catch everything else.Comments: This is just a little shop that sells mostly live bait and a little tackle. I’ve been in business here since 1975. I’m kind of retired, so running this place is as much a hobby now as anything else.

CALIFORNIA

Ontario, CA
B & F Rod and Reel
909-988-9229
No Website or Facebook
The Expert: Ilona Martindale

The Bite: The trout bite is pretty solid during March and April here. These are mostly rainbow stockies locally, but you can catch bigger browns if you head up into the Sierras. Largemouth bass and panfish will start soon but still need another couple weeks to hit stride.Rods & Reels: Our Okuma Celilo and SST rods are all selling well. Small model Okuma Ceymar spinning reel models C-30, C-20 or C-10 are nice for these. Most customers prefer their rod and reel outfits to match up with 2- to 6-lb. test lines.Line: A lot of customers like Izore brand lines in the 2- to 6-pound-test range. They like that these lines have less stretch than most competing brands.Lures: Yakima Rooster Tails and Panther Martin spinners are the hot items right now. We are selling some Acme Kastmasters and some mini-jigs, too. The trout will hit any of these options but it’s always a good idea to bring a variety along to give them a choice.
Terminal Tackle: Egg sinkers and drop-shot rigs are always in demand here.Other Gear: We have plenty of freshwater and saltwater stock so there’s always something new to check out when you visit here.Comments: We are happy to invest some time helping you find the best gear for the fishing you do. We can also special order most any fishing item we don’t have it in stock. Additionally, we provide in-house services like rod and reel repair, and we maintain a vast inventory of repair parts.

WASHINGTON

Seattle, WA
Patrick’s Fly Shop
206-325-8988
patricksflyshop.com
The Expert: Wes Rostomily

The Bite: We are on the tail end of our steelhead fishery on the Olympic Peninsula and Skagit River. We also have year-round fishing for sea-run cutthroat trout in Puget Sound and its tributaries. Different areas within the sound and its basin light-up at different times as chum fry makes its way to the bays.Rods & Reels: Fast, 6-wt. rods are a sweet match for our cutthroats. We favor Sage but Echo rods are great for a lower price point. Match either with a machined, anodized, salt-safe reel. Sage rods pair well with their Spectrum LT56 and Arbor XL models.Line: We sell a shop special line that Rio makes for us: Puget Sound Special. It’s a 37.5’ intermediate head with a floating running line. It can get below a chop and sustain a submerged fly while not snagging bottom – and it has the perfect sink rate for beach fishing.Lures: Top cutthroat patterns include Solitude Fly’s Chumbody’s Baby, our own Flashy Lady (a bucktail minnow pattern), and #6 Clouser Minnows tied in olive/white or chartreuse/white. Smaller Flatwings work, too. During winter, krill patterns also sell well.
Terminal Tackle: A stripping basket is a big help. We do like Take Tackle’s basket, which we import from Lativia.Comments: We are the oldest fly-fishing shop on the West Coast. We opened in 1946 and have been in the same location ever since. We have a nice spot on the side of the building we’ve covered with turf so customers can easily step outside and test rods and setups of interest.

To compile each instalment of WHW, a cross section of FTR subscribers is pulled and calls are made, but there is also an opportunity for YOU to be a part of the process and volunteer your insight. If you’d like to be included in the next instalment of What’s Hot Where, fill out the form online at fishingtackleretailer.com. From this form you can fill out all the info we need to include your retail shop in the next edition. While we cannot guarantee that we will use all submissions, we’ll most certainly do our best to include as many as possible!