The Lure of the Big City Fishing Tackle Shop


Richard Collins bought Capitol Fishing Tackle in 1974 after working there. His 28-year-old son, Eric, is a full-time employee, and his wife, Robin, and his daughter, Meredith, help out.

Inexplicably, Capitol Fishing Tackle Company is in the garment district, between a dress shop and a check-cashing store. (Just a few blocks away is Urban Angler, a seller of fly-fishing gear.) For the record, Capitol does sell some practical apparel, notably branded T-shirts and foul-weather duds.

It announces itself boldly with the neon sign that has been part of its facade since 1941.

Its displays are no frill. Rods stand at attention in the central aisle, reels are lined up in utilitarian glass cases, and accessories, from lures and lines to nets and hooks, hang on a wall.

Photo

Capitol Fishing Tackle Company is in the garment district, between a dress shop and a check-cashing store.

Credit
Justin Gilliland/The New York Times

Stuffed deer heads, which would seem to have nothing to do with fishing, are mounted high around the room. Eric Collins mentioned that there are more of them in the basement.

The wall behind the checkout counter is decorated with a pair of sailfish, tours de force of taxidermy. Scores of grin-and-fin photos taped to the shelves show customers and their catches.

The images captured the attention of 4-year-old Bridgette Michiels, a catch-and-release angler for a good part of her life, who was visiting the shop for the first time with her father, Maurice.

In June, while fishing on a lake in Wayne, N.J., Bridgette caught a pike that was almost as big as she is.

Mr. Michiels, who works in commercial real estate, showed it off on his smartphone then allowed Bridgette, who had grabbed his hand, to reel him toward the tackle wall, where she selected a bunch of shiny lures and handed them to him.

As he put them back, he reminded her that they came to buy big bobbers so they could catch catfish.

“I brought Bridgette here to see a piece of history,” he said, snapping a photo of her next to a reel the size of her head. “It was either this or a museum.”

Daniel George, who lives in the Bronx and fishes in the East and Hudson Rivers, came in to get a rod, but he got drawn into all the fish talk.

“Sure, there are fishing stores in the Bronx, but I prefer to come here,” he said. “I can always get the answers to my questions.”

Mr. Ginandes had been watching intently as a staffer deftly disassembled his unreliable reel.

“I hope it can’t be fixed,” he admitted. “I’d like to buy a new one.”

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