By Susan Brown
Gone fishin’ is more than just a figure of speech. For many, it’s a passionate pastime. Sitting on the banks of a river as it courses by, letting a fishing line drift along waiting for the telltale tug that signals a snagged fish is a relaxing and fun way to enjoy the outdoors, and to bring home some dinner. But make sure you have the right gear before you go. Here are the 10 best bait and tackle shops in New Mexico!
You certainly don’t need a custom rod to fish, but it you’re hankering for one, this is the place to go. These handmade rods are made with top-quality materials and are quality workmanship that’s built to last. You’ll also find plenty of off-the-shelf rods, plus lures, line, flies and everything else you might need to catch a fish. Classes in fly fishing, casting, fly tying, and even rod building available.
This multi-layered family-run business has been a cornerstone of the local community for 60 years. It began as a resource for fly fisherman looking for trout in the cold waters of the San Juan River. Throughout the years, it’s morphed into a full-service company catering to all types of fishermen. Product inventory includes wader, rods, reels, plus one of the largest fly selections in the area.
The town’s first fly shop is still going strong more than 30 years later. Now, with 2,500 square-feet of retail space, it’s even bigger and better. It boasts the largest selection of fly fishing equipment, tackle and outdoor clothing in all price ranges and for all levels of ability in the northern part of the state. New to the sport? They offer classes and instruction, outside, knee deep in the river. Rental equipment available.
When you start talking Canadian night crawlers, water dogs, minnows, and salmon eggs it’s a good bet you’re in a bait shop. This store bills itself as one that’s operated by fishermen for fishermen. As such, you’ll find an extensive selection of lures, a fish cleaning station, pull through boat lot, cabins and fishing guides standing by to take you to the best fishing holes. Guided fishing trips include rods, reel, tackle, fish filleting and a knowledgeable guide.
The hard-to-catch tiger muskie is prevalent at Bluewater Lake State Park. A hundred or so yards from the shore is this store, a local hangout due to the owner’s knowledge of the local fishing scene. Step inside and you’ll find bait, tackle, lures, rods, reels and other gear, plus information about where the best spots are for muskie, as well as trout. Local fishing updates posted weekly.
Whatever you need, or want, to catch a fish, you’ll find here. Located right on the main drag in town, you can’t miss the giant blue fly fishing sign. Plan on spending some time here. Once inside the store is packed wall-to-wall with clothes, rods, reels, bait, lures, line and the largest eclectic selection of flies you might every come across. A good jumping off point before heading to the river.
This mobile bait and tackle outfit will come to you. It’s fully-stocked with red wiggler worms, European night crawlers, power bait, garlic salmon eggs, plus hooks, sinkers, floats, spinners, spoons, fishing line and stringers. If you need something after hours, they’ll come to you. Rental fishing gear also available.
Situated near some of the premier fishing areas in the state, this is truly an all-service enterprise. Everything you need from flies to bait to lures, in addition to rods, reels, spinners, knives, rain gear, waders and clothes is at hand. You can also book a guided fly fishing trip that includes rod, reel, flies, food, and a local guide who knows the rivers. Take a fly fishing lesson and practice trying to catch trout, northern pike, carp, walleye and fresh water Kokanee salmon.
Explore the Pecos, Chama, Rio Grande, Brazos, and Jemez rivers with a guide well-versed in river lore. Before heading out, though, pick up any last-minute gear from a wide-ranging selection of top quality products—outdoor clothing, fishing vests, lures and flies, fly tying materials and tools, rods, reels, wading boots and more. Fly fishing and fly tying classes take place regularly.
The trick to catching a fish? Patience. And knowing the best spots. Owner Ed has been casting a line in the local rivers long enough to know where those are. In addition to an inventory of various lures, flies, bait and tying supplies, he also custom builds rods and flies to order. Plus, he’ll share his local knowledge.