PELHAM, N.Y. – Richie Wingate took over as the owner of Al's Tackle Shop in Pelham in 1995. The store opened in 1965 and sells rods, reels, tackle and fresh and frozen bait to residents of New Rochelle and surrounding towns.
Wingate provides equipment for those who fish in both salt water and fresh water, which allows him to reach more consumers for a greater portion of the year.
"If it wasn't for the combination of those, this place would have closed around 9/11," Wingate said.
Though Pelham only touches a small portion of the Long Island Sound, Wingate said regular customers consider the shop to be theirs. Pelham, New Rochelle and Mount Vernon residents fish at the Kensico Dam and farther north in lakes and reservoirs.
Wingate did not have a father in his house growing up, so he entertained himself by fishing in the Bronx River as a boy. He still loves to fish today, particularly ice fishing, though his schedule limits his time with the rod and reel.
"I don't get to go out like I used to because I'm here seven days a week," Wingate said.
The summer is prime time for fishing businesses like Al's Tackle Shop. Wingate said the season begins in mid-April and tapers off in mid-November.
The shop offers rod and reel repairs, which Wingate said most other shops do not. Wingate also creates custom rods.
Al's Tackle Shop is tucked away on Lincoln Avenue just off the corner of Fifth Avenue. The location surprises some residents and passers-by who have never before seen the shop.
"People say, 'I never knew this store was here. Did you just open?" Wingate said. "I tell them, 'Yeah, 45 years ago.'"