Store a great catch for fishermen
SUN PHOTO/LOUISE BOLGER
Jennifer and Bill Lowman offer a convenient, well stocked tackle shop.
How would you like to have a job that requires you to not only know how to fish but to also talk about it all day? Well if that job is at Island Discount Tackle in Holmes Beach, your job description clearly states, "It’s your job to help people catch fish;" and for 21 years Island Discount Tackle has been doing just that.
In 1980, when Bill and Jennifer Lowman moved to Florida from Pennsylvania, they used their newspaper business background to publish a monthly fishing magazine.
Fishing Manatee Monthly and Fishing Sarasota Monthly ran for many years as a valuable aid to local fishers and visitors. By 1988, it was obvious to them that what Anna Maria Island needed was a convenient, well stocked tackle shop, prompting them to open their first shop. Although they continued publishing a monthly newspaper for five years distributed out of the store, their goal was to provide a one stop shopping spot for serious fishers where they could purchase everything from live bait to $1,000 reels.
Island Discount Tackle, now in its third location on the Island, has more than met the Lowman’s goals and also has turned into a family affair. The Lowmans are full partners in the business with Jennifer concentrating on keeping the books and maintaining their new Web site where orders can be placed online to be shipped nationally and internationally.
Their sons Greg and Aaron Lowman, who are both college students, have grown up fishing and working in the shop. Between the Lowmans, their three full time employees and part time staff, Island Discount Tackle runs like a well oiled fishing reel.
And if fishing equipment is what you’re looking for, Island Discount Tackle has it all and then some. It is an exclusive dealer on the Island and west Bradenton for Penn International Gold Label rods and reels, as well as the exclusive dealer for Shimano Top Shelf rods and reels. In 2008, Island Discount Tackle was the number one dealer in the world for the American manufactured Star Rods.
The Lowmans also carry Stella reels, Butterfly jigging rods, Calusa cast nets in three different sizes, 70 styles of hooks in a variety of sizes, soft plastic and hard plastic lures and live and frozen bait. Island Discount Tackle has a variety of braided lines including PowerPro and FireLine and the equipment to assemble the line on your reel. In addition, you’ll find fishing tools, knives, tackle boxes, dehookers, marker buoys, venting tools and gaffs, marine batteries, life jackets, dock lines and other safety related boating equipment. Rod and reel combos start at $19.95 and if you require a special order ,it can usually be accomplished within two days.
For nine years, the Lowmans ran the Fishing the Islands Tournament, which was open to everyone with categories for offshore and inshore fishing. All of the profits were donated to kids’ sports at the AMI Community Center and was a great community event raising well over $10,000 annually.
Bill reminds everyone that grouper season started on April 1 and that as of June 2008, everyone fishing for grouper is required to have a venting tool. Also required are fishing licenses, which only can be purchased on Anna Maria Island at Island Discount Tackle. License requirements for Florida residents and non-residents vary based on where you are fishing, age and number of days, all of which can be explained by th Lowmans or their staff members.
Island Discount Tackle calls itself the biggest little tackle shop in Florida. So the next time you’re heading out to sea, head on over to visit the Lowmans first. Their motto is "Forget the sale, make a customer." They may also make a first rate fisher out of you.
Island Discount Tackle
5503 Marina Drive
at Catcher’s Marina
Daily: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Major credit cards accepted