New Bait Shop Open in Enfield
When Ron Kruse opened R & R Bait and Tackle in Enfield at the end of May, it was a necessity as well as a dream come true.
Kruse, 35, sustained injuries from a fall that would not allow him to return to the family carpentry and painting business, so he had to search his own imagination for something to do.
A lifetime sportsman, Kruse let his love of the outdoors guide him.
“It’s what I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Kruse says. “And my two kids love it.”
Kruse rented a storefront on Route 4 in Enfield and hung out his shingle. He chose Enfield because of its close proximity to the many local lakes, ponds and streams.
He felt there was a demand for the crayfish and minnows that he traps himself. The crayfish are selling particularly well.
His wife, Ruth, the second ‘R’ in the business name, also contributes. Though she works a full week at the Listen Center in Canaan, she finds enough time to help with the paperwork.
In an attempt to expand the shop’s appeal, she has introduced jewelry and other items like dream catchers.
To bolster awareness of his enterprise, Kruse held a five lake fishing tournament in August. Response was decent, though not as enthusiastic as he had hoped.
Still, he gave away prizes in a number of categories, including a cash award for a 3-pound smallmouth that came out of Crystal Lake.
“Being my first year, it’s been difficult,” said Kruse. “We’re breaking even. I hope to build on that.”
Kruse admits it’s tough to make it just selling crayfish. Eventually wants to find tackle vendors who will supply him with rods, reels and lures for an expanded inventory.
The shop will be open this winter. Kruse is hoping to attract ice anglers with a convenient place to buy shiners. He’s also bringing in smelt, a popular bait with the cold weather crowd.
In the future, Kruse plans to reach out with different programs related to angling — like species awareness, cleaning your catch and knot tying.
He is also interested in starting a program aimed at teaching kids to fish.
The shop is located at 495 US Route 4 in Enfield. Kruse offers cookies to anyone who wants to stop in. Or you can send an e-mail message to email@example.com.
Though the fishing has not been great this summer, anglers haven’t been skunked completely.
The hottest spot around is the Shaker Bridge on Mascoma Lake. The white perch are biting like crazy in the evening. The bridge is lined with anglers almost every night.
Largemouth bass have been active, too. Juan Tirado of Canaan caught a 3-pounder out of Canaan Street Lake. He was fishing with nightcrawlers. He also got a bunch of sunnies.
Azur Ahmad, the owner of the Mascoma Village Store, landed a 5-pound largie on Crystal Lake while he was trolling for trout.
Speaking of trout, the word is that everyone is reading fish but having trouble getting them to bite. Cecille Williams of Canaan had some luck trolling for rainbows at 46 feet in Crystal Lake. She also caught some black crappie, a panfish that has been showing up more and more in the area.
I accidentally landed two crappie this summer out of Mascoma, one on a minnow and the other on a topwater lure. When I was growing up in Florida, we called them speckled perch and they grew into the 3-pound range. Crappie are incredible table fare.
Hanover’s Kristen Bardorf, who caught her first bass this summer, has been reeling in the sunfish, perch and rockbass. She can often be seen at the Crystal Lake boat launch, wetting a line when the boats aren’t coming and going.
She’s eager to catch another bass, but so far that goal has eluded her.
Fran Lebrun of Lebanon got a 14-inch pickerel at the dam on Crystal Lake. He then visited the dam at Mascoma where he got a nice smallmouth. Both were released
After a so-so season of trolling on Lake Sunapee, David Titus of Sunapee decided to hit Cape Cod to fish for striped bass.
He blanked on the stripers but did get into the bluefish. Some of the blutos weighed as much as 15 pounds.
Blues are one of my favorite fish to catch. They’re strong and fight hard. They’ll also tail walk like a bass in certain conditions.
Bluefish get a bad rap for tasting too oily, but there’s a way around that. Try soaking the fillets in salt water overnight in the refrigerator. This will remove most of the fishy taste. Then cut them into chunks, deep fry and eat them with cocktail sauce. This technique will work with any oily fish.
Meanwhile, Nicole Gay of Enfield has been catching smallmouth out of a private lake, where she recently took a 23-incher recently. She is sworn to secrecy about the name of the lake.
Art Rafus, of White River Jct., has temporarily suspended his quest for a state record carp. He has been concentrating his efforts on the Connecticut River where he has been walloping the bass and walleye. I still can’t get him to give up the exact location of his carp hot spots.
In truth, I have not had a sterling summer on the water. After a great May start, the bass slacked off in the June and July swelter. August was a little better, but still pretty slow.
September could redeem the fishing season, but this is the time of year when outdoor enthusiasts turn to hunting.
Jamie Whyte, an avid bird hunter from Canaan, has already been in the field hunting geese. His party harvested eight of them last weekend. Bow season is also just around the corner, so deer and turkey hunters will soon be hitting the woods.
I plan to keep fishing right into the fall, concentrating on rainbows and big bass.
I don’t mind the cooler weather; things aren’t as crowded this the time of year so I can enjoy having the lake all to myself.