For the avid fisherman, a bait and tackle shop can be an excellent business opportunity. Bait and tackle are in high demand across the United States and the southern region because of its mild winters and excellent fishing between the lakes, coastal areas, and streams. South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia are all ideal for angling adventures. Business ownership takes work and dedication, but why not turn your passion into something you manage and own independently. Here are the five things to know for opening a bait shop.

1) Filing with the state

Get all your ducks in a row before you even consider a storefront or begin to purchase products. All businesses must be registered with the state to operate.

The process may seem more daunting than it is. In fact, online services will file all of the necessary paperwork for a fee. 

When it’s time to complete the paperwork, consult with an accountant as to the best type of business to establish for tax and liability purposes. Lastly, come up with a great business name. 

2) Becoming a dealer

A crucial part of business ownership is developing relationships. They are essential to make a customer happy and increase the product line offered in the shop. 

Without products, a store doesn’t exist. It is time-consuming to apply for the right to become a fishing supplies dealer such as reels, rods, lures, hooks, and more.

Having a wide range of choices for consumers is essential, but don’t go overboard on filling the shop without the customer base; this can create a large upfront expense. 

3) Rent/purchase a storefront

When it comes to finding a property to open a fishing tackle shop, it needs to be in an area of demand and affordable for the owner. 

The decision to rent a space or purchase a property can be challenging. Monthly rent can be high, but ownership requires unexpected expenses from things such as repair. 

Take a look at what is available in your area and make the most informative decision through research and calculating a budget. 

4) Employees

The hiring of employees can be a crucial part of a business. Keep in mind that paying an employee or employees will take money off of that top that can go into your pocket. The more hours the owner spends in the shop, the more profitable the business.

All business owners need a break but keep payroll to a minimum to maximize profit, which doesn’t mean paying low wages. To put it simply, don’t overhire.

When it comes to selecting the right employee, make sure that they are knowledgeable in fishing and have a passion for it. Employees who are not informative may lead to poor reviews and decreased loyalty from customers. 

5) Banking

Securing a relationship with a local bank is essential. While with any startup, business loans may be a necessity and should be shopped for the best interest rate.

Beyond startup costs is everyday banking. A dealer is going to require payment via check when the goods are delivered, if not beforehand. 

Payroll requires drawing money from a bank account in the business name to pay employees weekly or bi-weekly. 

Compare the fees and features of maintaining a business banking account with various banks to see what best suits your needs.

In addition to banking, money must be tracked for expenses, profits, payroll, and more in a system like Quickbooks. Keeping on top of transactions will make life simpler when it comes time to file taxes.

6) Live bait license

A bait shop that sells live bait draws more attention than those that do not. Nothing is better for a fisherman than to stop into a shop to have the option of buying both tackle and live bait. Keep in mind; many are scouring the internet for bait and tackle near me. 

Both catching bait commercially for resale and selling bait from a storefront requires very specific licensing from the state in which the store resides. 

Here are the fish dealers license details for each state- North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina. You want to be known as the best tackle shop near me. 

How to advertise

To both draw people into the door for the stores opening and maintain a steady flow of customers, advertising may be necessary based on location.

Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising. However, to achieve word of mouth recommendations, not only must the store owner be informative, friendly, and willing to go the extra mile, but the staff must as well. This type of management will establish repeat business.

Often the consumer has an abundance of bait shops to chose from for fishing gear. Convenience is a large factor, so most are looking online with terms such as a bait shop near me. The internet is a highly used resource by those in your backyard or planning a trip to your vicinity. 

It can be beneficial to rank near the top of internet listings, and these can be accomplished by utilizing some common search terms such as bait store near me if they are looking for a live bait shop. Some may need both bait tackle, which can be hit on by searching bait and tackle shop near me. 


It won’t be uncommon to find bait and tackle shops in nearly any area located on or near a body of water. Don’t be afraid of competition, speaking with friends they will say that there are plenty of fishing tackle shops near me. Come up with a solid business plan and set yourself apart from the rest. Setting yourself apart from the rest can be as simple as offering better customer service, a more comprehensive selection, reel repair, or anything else for that matter. Follow these easy steps and turn your passion into a business.