Bring Out Your Rod and Reel

Suzie and Jerry Daubner pose under an arch of fishing poles, ready to assist experienced and aspiring fishers. Photo by Len Villano.

“Right now is the best time to be fishing!” says Jerry Daubner of Nan & Jerry’s Bait & Tackle in Fish Creek – yes, the Jerry. And perfect timing – on June 2 and 3 Wisconsin hosts a free fishing weekend, meaning you and I – pure professionals to novice fishers – can take to the water or stand off the piers and try our luck with rod and reel.

“What are the basic pieces of equipment one needs to catch a fish?” I ask.

“Rod and reel, hooks, split shot sinkers, slip bobbers, night crawlers, minnows,” Daubner lists off, adding, “You can get really involved or keep it very simple.”

Conveniently, Nan & Jerry’s carries ‘combinations,’ kits that include nearly all required to catch fish. “You can get them from 14 to 19 dollars or 80 to 90 dollars,” says Daubner. “Ninety percent of people buy combinations; they just put on hooks and baits.”

Confused about hooks and baits? Daubner will help – he will guide you through the wall of artificial lures, help you sift through the tanks of minnows, and explain the variety of hooks. If the shop happens to be closed, no worries – a bait vending machine stands outside the shop.

“The fish are pretty plentiful – small mouth bass, perch, walleye,” says Daubner. “You can fish right off the pier, right off the state park…there is the main pier in Fish Creek, nice piers in Ephraim, Murphy Park in Egg Harbor, Weborg Point in Peninsula State Park.”

Age need not be a factor for fishing. I myself remember catching a fish or two with my orange Snoopy pole. “We have kids’ combinations with any character you want,” laughs Daubner, adding, “We have a lot of grandparents who come in with grandkids. I have little grandkids and take ‘em fishing.”

Young and old, professionals and beginners, take advantage of the free fishing weekend!

Nan & Jerry’s Bait & Tackle is located at 4084 Main Street in Fish Creek. For more information call 920.868.3402.

To learn more about Wisconsin’s Free Fishing Weekend, fishing in Wisconsin, or how to purchase a fishing license, visit