Fishermans Central has Grand Opening on March 28-29
BY D’ARCY EGAN
You might need your polarized sunglasses to step into Port Clinton’s newest bait and tackle shop, Fishermans Central Catawba in the Knoll Crest Plaza. The glasses would help to check out thousands of strikingly colorful crankbaits, or diving plugs, hanging from pegs on row after row of shelving.
“I figure we’ve already got about 50,000 lures on the pegs, and a few thousand more have yet to arrive,” said owner Dan Blackert. “It was quite a job hanging them all, but if you’re looking for your favorite, we’ve probably got it. And in the right colors.”
Fishermans Central will swing open its doors for a Grand Opening celebration on March 28-29. The new store will be open weekdays from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. throughout the summer season, with live bait sales from 5-9 a.m. Weekend hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday.
The Fishermans Central crew opened their Akron area store in 2014 in New Franklin, a stone’s throw from the Portage Lakes, one of the top inland reservoirs for local anglers. It soon became a destination store, with anglers traveling from far and wide to find the lures and other tackle they needed.
“We’ve had fishermen who drove five or six hours to get to our Akron store,” said Blackert. “We’re all fishermen at Fishermans Central, and know the cutting-edge equipment they want — and how to catch fish with it.”
The Port Clinton store will surely be an even bigger destination for anglers, he said.
“There are so many walleye anglers coming our way from the Upper Midwest, and beyond, to enjoy Lake Erie’s fabulous walleye fishery, that we expect to see a lot of fresh faces,” said Blackert. “We make it a point to carry all of the best brands, and that’s important for serious fishermen.
“But we also know which fishing rods and reels are very good, and at a bargain price. For guys who troll for Lake Erie walleye and need a full set of trolling gear, that’s important.”
The original Fishermans Central store leaned toward bass fishing and tournament anglilng, and had a well-rounded stock of all types of tackle. As expected, Blackert wants to put walleye tackle on a pedestal in Port Clinton, and his timing has been excellent.
The walleye fishing reviews for 2020 are fantastic, and anglers have been feasting for weeks on walleye gathering in the Western Basin of Lake Erie as they get ready to spawn in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers and on the western lake reefs.
Fishermans Central Catawba will also have a few lines of fishing boats, with Darrin Lash the Marine Sales Manager. A marine repair area will cap the 30,000-square-foot space in what was once a Walmart store.
“Our forte will be our expertise,” said Blackert. “Every one of our employees is a dedicated angler with decades of experience in virtually every environment.”