Winter is definitely upon us, and for a lot of sportsmen in the area and across the state that means ice fishing. Bryant Moravec, of Bryant’s Bait and Tackle in Sanborn, has been busy stocking up on live bait, lures, jigs and other items to fill the needs of avid and amateur ice-fishing enthusiasts alike. His bait shop is located at 211 West Street N. in Sanborn.
“During the winter months, we are open from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.,” Moravec said, “but if the fish are really biting, and you run out of bait, my house is literally three feet away. Come to the house, and I’ll get you what you need.”
Bryant’s Bait and Tackle is entering its third year of business.
“When we started up, the walls weren’t even finished in the bait shop,” Moravec said. “We just had a couple of bait tanks and small refrigerator. We’ve grown quite a lot since then.”
Moravec carries a full line of seasonally appropriate lures, jigs, spinners and other tackle.
He said he works with a wholesaler out of Redwood Falls.
In addition, Moravec has some rods and reels, tackle boxes and other fishing paraphernalia.
“We’ve got crappie  minnows, fat heads, crawlers, leeches, white spikes, red spikes, wax worms and, from time to time, frozen smelt,” he said. “I hear they’re using them (the frozen smelt) down on Double Lake.”
Moravec opened his bait and tackle shop up back in Spring 2014 after he had a severe heart attack. Up until that point, he worked as an over-the-road truck driver and considered himself to be a bit of a workaholic.
“After the heart attack, my wife suggested I open a bait shop,” Moravec said. “It’s something I’d always thought I’d like to do. It’s been a great experience for me. It has taught me to slow down and enjoy the small things in life.”
Bryant’s Bait and Tackle, however, has grown, but not too much. Moravec has added few things along the way.
“After some research, I realized that a bait shop, on its own, wouldn’t survive,” he said. “That’s when we went for our FFL (federal firearms license). I do some gun repair, and I do sell some used guns, as well. But we do quite a bit of ordering of new guns for people – buy, sell, trade.”
Moravec said the gunsmithing part of the operating is actually one of his favorite parts of running the shop.
“There is something very calming about sitting down, taking a gun apart, figuring out what’s wrong and how to fix it,” Moravec said. “It’s very satisfying. Along with the fixing guns, we have a wood carving duplicator to make stocks.
“If you bring in a wood or synthetic stock, we take a piece of oak, and the router carves it out. It’s pretty slick.
“I’ve had people bring in wooden stocks that were broken. I got them glued together just good enough to hold in the duplicator, and you end up with a new stock.”
He then hand sands and files the stocks to fit.
In addition, he’s looking at adding checkering down the road.
“This is just a great experience,” he said, “and the best part of my job is talking with the customers, finding out where the fish are biting and getting to hear some great stories along the way.”