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BERNIE BASS SPREADS THE WORD: BUY LOCAL


From the Hamptons north to Montauk the word was spreading like wildfire- "Bernie Hoyt's at Tightlines! Bernie buys local!" Yep, Hoyt, one of the foremost surfcasting experts on the east coast, knows the value of the local tackle shop, and he stopped in to see his good friend, Ken Morse, and the team at Tight Lines Tackle Inc (53 Bay St, Sag Harbor, NY (631) 725-0740) to catch up on the latest gear happenings. The longstanding Tight Lines establishment is jammed from the roof to the floorboard with just about every kind of saltwater tackle, apparel, and bait imaginable. You name it and you will likely find it at Tight Lines.


Ken, the shop’s proprietor. knows it's important for his customers, beginner or experienced, to feel that their needs are being met and they'll be well prepared for a great day of fishing after visiting his shop. Ken fell in love with fishing summering in Westhampton- with the ocean on one side and Quantuck Bay on the other. Fish were everywhere and he picked up his passion for fishing from his father, who owned a Cobia trihull, perfect for fishing local bays and creeks. It's the common story of many local tackle shop owners who developed an intense

passion for fishing from the early days of childhood.

After majoring in biology and working as a naturalist and conservationist, Morse added some income working at a well established local tackle shop in Bayview. After someownership changes and with a lease renewal pending, Ken took over the business, renamed it, and moved it to its present location at the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard. That was more than 20 years ago.


Like operators of similar establishments up and down the east coast, Morse experiences the every day reality- staying in business gets tougher every year. He is quick to point out that increased fishing restrictions have cut down on sales, while some species, like winter flounder, which used to be one of the most popular fish to pursue in local Long Island waters, are practically nonexistent. That story is repeated in shops from Cape Cod to the Outerbanks.


Morse added that sales of fishing supplies and bait via the internet have also taken a large bite out of his income. The on-line juggernauts like Bass Pro, Cabelas, and Tackle Warehouse have changed the dynamics in the business and it has hurt for sure. Even the sale of gift certificates, once a bread and butter, especially around Father's Day and Christmas has declined at the hands of on-line retail. To combat this, Morse launced a newly enhanced website store at tltackle.com. Hopefully people will think to go their to find what they need. Other local shops

have also taken this path to increase their year-round accessibility. As Morse says “Time will tell.”


There is no on-line substitute for some of the services available locally- rod and reel repair, new line spooling, special orders and local baits and loca knowledge. In these there is true value to the angler. Morse keeps his shop open in the winter months, albeit on a limited basis, and he does local shows, fishing fleamarkets and offers seminars to spread the word. In the meantime, Morse is busy ordering new tackle for the 2023 season. Bernie will spread the word too. How 'bout you? Support your local tackle shop!


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