Bait and Tackle Shop Opens in East Windsor
The store also sells some hunting gear.
After losing his job, Frank Hernandez decided to take the risk and dove into his first business venture – opening Twin Rivers Bait and Tackle in East Windsor.
“Twenty years ago I’d never have been successful, but in the last few decades about five bait shops that were within a four to 10 mile radius of my shop have closed down,” he said.
Hernandez grew up in Central Jersey and began to fish almost as soon as he could walk. He recalls riding his bike through Twin Rivers, and as a six-year-old, filling a paper bag with Sunfish, a small freshwater fish common to New Jersey lakes and rivers.
“I used to give them to some of our neighbors who’d cook them,” he said.
Hernandez said his prime location is within traveling distance of 18 lakes, and there are no other bait shops in the area.
“The freshwater guys head down to Shark River or Barnegat Inlet and the saltwater guys don’t mind traveling the 30 to 40 minutes inland because they have money,” he said.
As for the bait, Hernandez has a freezer full of bunker, salted clams, squid, smelt and Atlantic herring, and he also carries hunting supplies.
“In the off season I sell targets, duck decoys and hunting vests because you’ve got to survive the winter,” he said.
Much of his original inventory came from Virginia after another bait shop shut down.
“I lucked out and met a lovely woman who owned a bait and tackle store in Virginia but it closed when the husband died a few years back,” he said. “So she loaded up a truck full of supplies, drove them up to New Jersey and that’s how I first stocked my store.”
To get the word out about the store, Hernandez said he uses social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
“I also have a guy who sells lures in Virginia who’s planning to ship some inventory to my store,” he said. “I’ll test out the lures and put the videos on YouTube so it’s a win-win for both of us.”
The bait shop held its grand opening on Tuesday, and aims to be family-friendly. Several years ago Hernandez wrote a children’s book called Frankie and His Fishing Friends, which has recently been published and is now sold in his store.
“I wanted to be around for the kids,” he said.
Hernandez loves to fish just as much as he loves to run his business, and often goes out with friends in Sandy Hook or Cape May.
“A close buddy of mine has a 27 footer and we like to do a little bit of everything, especially over Memorial Day weekend when there’s a nice window to catch Drumfish,” he said.
Twin Rivers Bait and Tackle is located at 659 Abbington Drive in East Windsor.