With the early opening of trout season, Jeremy Miller, owner of JD’s Bait and Tackle, in Mill Hall, said this is one of the busiest months the store has ever had.
“I think with people not being able to do a whole lot, they have turned to fishing,” Miller said. “We’re seeing a lot of people that are telling us ‘We haven’t fished in 20 years’ or ‘This is the first time I’ve gotten a license in 10 years, we just haven’t had time to fish’.
“There’s tons of kids coming in because there’s no sports. So the kids that are able to go fishing now — normally this time of year are engulfed in little league baseball — now they’re fishing because they can’t do those other activities.”
JD’s Bait and Tackle sees a wide range of customers, Miller said, from kids coming in, to older customers, in their 80s and 90s, who just like to sit along the creek, relax and fish.
“Fishing is for any age,” Miller said. Plus, the cost of a fishing license is one of the cheapest ways to entertain yourself, he said.
“The economics of fishing, to me, is fantastic, because you can fish year round and the cost of a license is so cheap compared to the amount of time you can fish,” Miller said.
Miller said while fly fishing is popular here, when he, his mom and his dad, David Miller, opened the store in November 2017, they didn’t want to cater to just one type of fishing. The store carries a wide range of bait, which is ideal, since Pennsylvania streams have vast ecosystems, giving anglers several options of bait to use while trout fishing.
“Trout fishing in Pennsylvania is unique in that you can use live bait, you can use metal spinners, you can use flies, nymphs, all sorts of different kinds of bait that attract trout,” Miller said.
Between runoffs bringing worms and grub into the water and hatches of bugs coming off the water, there’s a wide range of bait that can be used.
Fake bait won’t necessarily have a scent to it, Miller said, whereas real bait will give off a “real” scent. The fish are able to smell the real bait traveling through the water, when using artificial bait, it will rely on fish’s sense of sight and vibrations.
When determining whether or not to use a colored or a more natural-looking artificial bait, Miller said anglers it depends on a couple of factors.
“If it’s a real sunny day, you’re going to use something different than if it’s a cloudy day,” Miller said. “The fish in Pennsylvania are actually pretty smart and if it doesn’t feel right, they won’t attack.”
Several times throughout the year, JD’s Bait and Tackle will host demonstrations and different talks, given by friends the family has in the industry. Miller encourages people to reach out to him via the store’s Facebook or email with techniques they are interested in learning at these educational talks.
“The last talk we did, we had a guy here from New Mexico that talked about BFS fishing, which is like microfishing,” Miller said. “You use a smaller rod and reel and a lighter line and very small tackle to target different fish in different areas.” He said there were between 15-20 people at two or three talks about BFS fishing.
JD’s Bait and Tackle is located at 1309 Mackeyville Road, Mill Hall. Visit its website at jds-bait-and-tackle.business.site or Facebook at www.facebook.com/jdsbaitntackle. The store’s phone number is 570-726-8725.