Keeping it ‘reel’

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Robert Noles/Opelika Observer

Local couple owns and operates bait and tackle shop for two decades

By Rachel King
Opelika Observer

Pepperell Parkway is one of Opelika’s most commercialized locations but look past the traffic and stores and it is also home to many small, local businesses like The Bait Shop.
Owned by Doug and Patricia Arwood, the business has been in operation for 21 years.
Located behind the Arwood home, the small trailer which houses The Bait Shop does not look like much, but inside there is an array of affordable fishing lures, live bait, and rods and reels.
“We opened this place for the common man,” Doug said. “Mamas and daddies can’t go into a place and afford a $70 reel; here we want to make it affordable, because if you teach a kid to fish, that’s going to be one good kid.”
The Bait Shop goes through 3,000 crickets a day, and more than 100 worms. It is also the only place in the area where glowworms are sold.
Doug said he is also an experienced fisherman, growing up having to provide food for eight siblings.
“Times were hard, I use to walk to Opelika Lake with two cane poles and I’d fish for dinner that day,” Doug said. Later, he would spend 19 years traveling the country fishing in the Bass Masters.
Now, Doug said he spends his time Crappie fishing and operating the shop along with his wife.
The two met working in an old Pepperell mill where Doug actually hired Patricia. With his wife sitting beside him, Doug recalled the time that followed.
“She chased me for three years,” Doug said. “I couldn’t do any of this without her, when I married that girl she was scared to death to get out on a boat, but I made a fisherman out of her.”
The two have now been married for 47 years, and Doug said the business continues to be one of Opelika’s undiscovered gems.
“We have people come in here every day and say wow, we didn’t even know you guys were here,” Doug said, “We just smile and say we’ve been here for 21 years.”
Doug said that The Bait Shop’s main goal is to simply make fishing affordable again, along with  down-to-earth service and offering the best quality products.
The Bait Shop is located at 2817 Pepperell Parkway, and is open Monday-Sunday from 6 a.m. -7 p.m.

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