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Written by MARK JAEGER   
Wednesday, 13 April 2016 14:58

Fat Boys Bait & Tackle offers gear, advice for Lake Michigan anglers

Fishing buddies love sharing stories about the lunkers that were landed and the even bigger fish that got away.baitshop

Longtime friends and charter boat captains Dale Allen and Dennis Brede now have something else to share. 

They jointly operate Fat Boys Bait & Tackle, 228 N. Franklin St., in downtown Port Washington.

Helping run the shop are their wives, Sandy and Heather, who bring marketing and computer expertise to the venture.

“Our wives came up with the name. They thought it was funny,” Dale Allen said.

There have also been a few jokes about the business opening on April 1, April Fool’s Day, but the owners are serious about fishing.

“I grew up in Port Washington and have always loved fishing. It has been my dream since I was little to open a bait shop here,” Allen said.

The 950-square-foot shop is already well-equipped with a wide array of lures, fishing line and rods, with the inventory expected to double to more than 3,000 items when all orders are delivered.

Although the gear is primarily aimed at fishermen pursuing salmon and trout on Lake Michigan, the shop will eventually stock tackle sought by those who seek their finned quarry on inland lakes, too.

A state license has also been applied for that will allow the sale of live bait.

Allen and Brede’s primary goal is to improve the fishing experience of people who visit or live in Port Washington.

“Fishing is a big part of Port’s economy, especially in the summer. It draws a lot of people here from out of town,” Brede said.

Not only do he and Allen love trying their luck on Lake Michigan, they offer the experience to charter clients once the winter chill eases on the big lake.

Allen captains the 40-foot Kitchen Pass, and Brede operates the 31-foot DJ’s Fish Tales, a boat he bought from Allen.

Brochures touting their charter businesses as well as those of fellow Port charter services are available at the shop. The owners are associate members of the Ozaukee Chapter of the Great Lakes Sport Fishermen.

The men said they expect the store to soon become the clearinghouse for tips and advice on what tackle colors or styles have been effective most recently on the lake, as well as the most productive locations and depths.

“We will be carrying all the popular brands, including items that weren’t available anywhere at the end of last season,” Allen said.

Although he said some fishing charter boats are already on the water, both men said they are in no rush to launch their boats — a decision that seems more than prudent as the occasional snowflake still flutters through the air along the lakefront.

“Traditionally, the fish don’t really start hitting here until mid-May, but Mother Nature has a lot to do with that timing,” Allen said.

Even when he doesn’t have paying customers seeking denizens of the deep, Allen said he relishes his time on the lake.

“I am a completely different person when I am out on the lake. I leave all my worries on shore,” he said.

“That’s true even when the fish aren’t cooperating. There is something to the old saying, ‘The worst day fishing is better than the best day in the office,’” Brede added.

In his working life, Brede is an accountant.

Allen, who is described as the handyman of the operation, logged 31 years in the military, including 23 years with the U.S. Marine Corps and eight years as a technician with the U.S. Army National Guard.

A grand opening for the store is planned for Saturday, May 21.

By MARK JAEGER

Ozaukee Press staff

Fishing buddies love sharing stories about the lunkers that were landed and the even bigger fish that got away.

Longtime friends and charter boat captains Dale Allen and Dennis Brede now have something else to share. 

They jointly operate Fat Boys Bait & Tackle, 228 N. Franklin St., in downtown Port Washington.

Helping run the shop are their wives, Sandy and Heather, who bring marketing and computer expertise to the venture.

“Our wives came up with the name. They thought it was funny,” Dale Allen said.

There have also been a few jokes about the business opening on April 1, April Fool’s Day, but the owners are serious about fishing.

“I grew up in Port Washington and have always loved fishing. It has been my dream since I was little to open a bait shop here,” Allen said.

The 950-square-foot shop is already well-equipped with a wide array of lures, fishing line and rods, with the inventory expected to double to more than 3,000 items when all orders are delivered.

Although the gear is primarily aimed at fishermen pursuing salmon and trout on Lake Michigan, the shop will eventually stock tackle sought by those who seek their finned quarry on inland lakes, too.

A state license has also been applied for that will allow the sale of live bait.

Allen and Brede’s primary goal is to improve the fishing experience of people who visit or live in Port Washington.

“Fishing is a big part of Port’s economy, especially in the summer. It draws a lot of people here from out of town,” Brede said.

Not only do he and Allen love trying their luck on Lake Michigan, they offer the experience to charter clients once the winter chill eases on the big lake.

Allen captains the 40-foot Kitchen Pass, and Brede operates the 31-foot DJ’s Fish Tales, a boat he bought from Allen.

Brochures touting their charter businesses as well as those of fellow Port charter services are available at the shop. The owners are associate members of the Ozaukee Chapter of the Great Lakes Sport Fishermen.

The men said they expect the store to soon become the clearinghouse for tips and advice on what tackle colors or styles have been effective most recently on the lake, as well as the most productive locations and depths.

“We will be carrying all the popular brands, including items that weren’t available anywhere at the end of last season,” Allen said.

Although he said some fishing charter boats are already on the water, both men said they are in no rush to launch their boats — a decision that seems more than prudent as the occasional snowflake still flutters through the air along the lakefront.

“Traditionally, the fish don’t really start hitting here until mid-May, but Mother Nature has a lot to do with that timing,” Allen said.

Even when he doesn’t have paying customers seeking denizens of the deep, Allen said he relishes his time on the lake.

“I am a completely different person when I am out on the lake. I leave all my worries on shore,” he said.

“That’s true even when the fish aren’t cooperating. There is something to the old saying, ‘The worst day fishing is better than the best day in the office,’” Brede added.

In his working life, Brede is an accountant.

Allen, who is described as the handyman of the operation, logged 31 years in the military, including 23 years with the U.S. Marine Corps and eight years as a technician with the U.S. Army National Guard.

A grand opening for the store is planned for Saturday, May 21.


Photo Credit: AS OWNERS OF Fat Boys Bait & Tackle in Port Washington, (from left) Sandy and Dale Allen and Heather and Dennis Brede hope to keep local fishermen well stocked during the upcoming fishing season.  Photos by Mark Jaeger

 
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