“We’re a little old school.” Local fishing tackle store celebrates 25 years in Bradenton

When I was growing up in Bradenton in the early 90’s, there were two main fishing tackle stores.

Longtime Bradenton residents remember the legendary Pete Turner, who operated Turner Marine near downtown, which he did for 57 years before passing away in 2002.

Turner was named Outdoorsman of the Year by the Bradenton Herald in 1986 and is beloved by many. I have a very vivid memory of the first time his store stocked the Power Pro fishing line after seeing it at many fishing shows and jumped at the chance to try it.

The other was the fishing tackle store at the Red Barn Flea Market. But in October 1996, a fire destroyed the original flea market store before it could be rebuilt.

Shortly after the fire, it became apparent that there was a need for another fishing tackle store around Bradenton. In 1998, another store was opened and at that time, its future owner Jim Eliason was not necessarily looking to get into the fishing tackle business.

“He had retired from Merrill Lynch and was looking for something to do,” said Scott Traylor, manager of Discount Tackle Outlet. “An ad came up in the paper and he said, ‘This is pretty interesting.’ This was an acquisition for a fishing tackle store in Bradenton.

The History of Discount Tackle Outlet

As a result, Discount Tackle Outlet has remained on First Street in Bradenton ever since.

Eliason, who married Traylor’s mother when Traylor was 17, became a father figure in her life. In 2006, Eliason was named Crosthwait Sportsman of the Year, presented to him at the Crosthwait Memorial Fishing Tournament. In 2012, Traylor was offered the opportunity to take over the company and wanted to maintain Eliason’s values.

“He focused his business on being friendly and welcoming to everyone. Bradenton has always been growing. We see a lot of new customers and if someone comes in and says it’s their first time saltwater fishing, we can set them up,” Traylor explained.

“People are flocking here and because of what we do we have a lot of word of mouth, good reviews and a lot of loyal customers. We’re a bit old school and know that customer service is key.

Discount Tackle Outlet, 3113 First St., Bradenton, is popular with customers for its friendly service and deep history in the community.

Traylor also highlights the return of the next generation of Bradenton residents. As a teenager, I spent my summers earning a salary just to go see Jim and buy a new rod and reel.

The shiny Shimano Stradic behind the glass and the Star Rod on the rack allowed me to work at Learning Tree Daycare as a camp counselor. From now on, it is the children of the first store regulars who do the shopping.

“There are people who used to work for Discount Tackle who now have children who come to the store frequently. It’s good to see them grow. They started as teenagers and are now married with children who are as obsessed with fishing as they are,” Traylor said.

25th anniversary celebration

Discount Tackle is currently in the process of renovating its store. If you haven’t been there in a while, the visual appeal is totally different upon entering. As fishing methods have evolved, the store has adapted to meet demand. On Sunday, March 17, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the store will celebrate its grand reopening and its 25th anniversary.

“The focus now is on a lot more products and bringing in new things,” Traylor said. “New and innovative things that people see on television. It’s brighter but it’s still a store where you feel good.

“There is a lot of innovation in fishing these days, like trolling motors installed on big boats. Who would have thought when we started that you would install a trolling motor on the bow of a 36-foot Yellowfin? That’s why we always try to keep up to date with the latest and greatest. »

Discount Tackle Outlet is located at 3113 First St., Bradenton.

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