Tom’s Tackle Continuing Great Reputation with New Ownership
Aug 8th, 2021 by Keith Worrall
Modified Aug 8th, 2021 at 12:52 PM
It’s sometimes funny how the world works. One day you are on a fishing trip to Lake of the Woods and happen to see a posting on a board at a resort that says “Business for Sale”. The next thing you know, you are owners of a well known and respected tackle company that caters to fishing Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River which of course is Tom’s Tackle.
Todd and Sharon May purchased the company November 27, 2020 just in time for a robust ice fishing season. From the Fargo area, the couple has been coming to Lake of the Woods for years fishing. “Lake of the Woods always had the best fishing. Numbers of fish and size of fish can’t be beat. We just love the area,” explains Todd May.
When it comes to owning and running a new company, let alone, a tackle company, there has been a lot of learning. “You never really know what you are getting into until you are into it,” explains May who throughout a good part of his life was in construction management. “Each week we are better understanding the business and all of the nuances that go along with it,” he explains.
Todd oversees the manufacturing process while his wife Sharon does much of the painting, the distribution and sales from their Baudette, MN location. Sharon’s background was in international trade or import / export.
Tom’s Tackle, being a local company, provides very specialized service to the tackle shops, stores and resorts whom they serve. Sharon has a regular route, keeping shelves stocked for customers with the most popular items for the time of the year. “Customers often tell me to manage the tackle so they don’t have to worry about it. We swing by on a regular basis or as needed to make sure there is a strong inventory of jigs, spinners and miscellaneous items this time of year,” explains Sharon.
Tom’s Tackle distributes tackle from Greenbush to the west to International Falls to the east and south as far as Blackduck. Customers can also purchase tackle on their website, www.tomstackleinc.com.
The tackle industry is competitive. In today’s world, having a small tackle manufacturing company certainly is not the norm. Tom’s Tackle has focused on a niche of designing and producing fishing tackle geared for Lake of the Woods, the Rainy River and the north country. If you are an angler who fishes the area, you have probably used and appreciate the tackle, regardless of knowing who produced it.
The little things often make the big difference in fishing. When you chat with anglers who have spent time in these parts, many of them realize and have learned to save at least a portion of their tackle budget until they get up to Lake of the Woods as there are lures, jigs and other fishing tackle here you just can’t find in other parts of the state. Shapes, sizes, colors and styles that absolutely are proven to catch fish on LOW but are effective on other bodies of water as well.
If you notice, the colors are geared towards stained water like Lake of the Woods, the Rainy River and other waters in the north country. Some of the lures have rattles that can be effective calling in walleyes. Walleyes have a lateral line that senses vibrations and often times will assist them in finding prey in the dark waters. Other lures they design and produce simply have the right size, color or action to them that make them effective in catching fish. Some common names you may have heard of are pink charmer, stop sign, rock n roll jig and jig o bit.
Tom’s Tackle, Inc designs and produces their own unique brand of lures and fishing accessories. The original company started in 1959 and has been passed down as a family business throughout the years. The business was purchased from owner operator Dave Wiersma along with his parents Dean and Shirley Wiersma who have been producing Tom’s Tackle’s unique line of tackle since 1998.
Sharon will continue to service customers pulling their well stocked Tom’s Tackle trailer. They purposefully chose a trailer that will allow them to access small resorts as well as larger retailers. The people in Northern Minnesota will continue to reap the benefits of Tom’s Tackle making it’s regular stops into bait and tackle stores, resorts, and local gas stations.
How did Tom’s Tackle, Inc gets its name?
It was originally started in 1959 by a Baudette resident, Tom Nichol. After just two years, Tom and his wife moved to Alaska. They sold the business to Adolph Marhula and along with his two sons, operated the business until 1969. Adolph then sold the business to Henry Sindelir who kept it going until 1998 when Dean, Shirley and Dave Wiersma purchased the business until the recent sale to Todd and Sharon May on November 27, 2021.
The next time you make your way to the Lake of the Woods area, keep your eyes open for some cool looking tackle in local bait shops and at resorts that was custom made with Lake of the Woods, the Rainy River and north country waters in mind.