Miramichi — Buck McCarthy, owner of Buck’s Bait & Tackle in Miramichi, says his usually bustling business has plummeted this spring, with no apparent explanation.
Upon some minor investigating, though, he figured out that local anglers are buying Alpine “Gone Fishin'” packs, and using their two-four as a “twofer”: beverage and bait in one.
The perennially popular place to buy bait, waders, rods and everything you need for fishing has taken a hit, though, and McCarthy places the blame squarely on these cans and the company that produces them.
“Those damn cans…I’ve seen anglers come in for their gear, buy maybe one roll of fishing line, then just kinda hem and haw, mention that there’s a better deal on down at the liquor store, and take off. Fancy that!”
McCarthy contacted Alpine to ask them to explain themselves, or at least send him some free beer to compensate his business losses.
“I told them I can hardly eke out a living if they’re gonna be stealing all my customers,” he said. “They haven’t replied yet but I hope they’ll do the right thing.
“And if they don’t, I’ll sue the living daylights out of them!” added McCarthy, spitting on the ground. “My great-great-great-grandfather invented the fishing lure, and I coulda sworn I’ve got his patent papers lying around here somewhere. If I can find the damn things, there’ll be hell to pay!
“And if that doesn’t work, I’m not too proud to resort to begging. My great-great-grandfather once got down on his hands and knees to beg for a raise, and it’s thanks to him that I inherited this very tackle shop.
“But…say that doesn’t work,” he continued. “Well, boys, I got plans within plans like a slippery lamprey eel. I’ll boycott Alpine and tell all my friends to do the same!”
Tired of McCarthy’s ranting, our reporter wandered down by the river to get the scoop from thirsty fishers themselves. We found several groups of men and women by the shore, tying the lure-cans to their lines, casting, and chatting as they waited for a nibble.
Among them was Debbie Smith, who has been fishing the mighty Miramichi since childhood with her parents and brothers.
“Mum and Dad always had a case of ‘pine in the cooler — almost as important for fishermen as nightcrawlers or waders,” she recalled. “We always got our gear at Buck’s, but these days it just doesn’t make sense to buy beer and lures when this one can right here fools the fish hook, line and sinker.”