KEEPIN’ IT REAL in THE COV: Latonia Bait & Tackle

Outfitting anglers since 1963

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third of 5 articles naming the winners of the 2023 Authenti-City awards given by the City of Covington at a ceremony Thursday to mark the National Economic Development Week. More about the awards can be found at the bottom of this article.

COVINGTON, Ky. – Before you escape to the sanctuary of your favorite fishing hole, odds are you’ve wisely visited Latonia Bait & Tackle.

For 60 years, those who speak the language of baits and lures (not to mention hooks, lines, rods, reels, floats, feeders, nets, spears, gaffs, traps, wires, snaps, swivels, beads, spoons, blades, spinners, and more) travel to the little family-owned and -operated shop as they gear up to reel ’em in.

And that customer base is growing. By 2021, more than 44 million people in the United States identify as recreational anglers, making it second only to jogging in popular outdoor activities.

A respectable segment of those 44 million apparently know all about Latonia Bait & Tackle, a throwback to the old-school bait & tackle shops that is located at 3408 Rogers St., a block or so from Decoursey Avenue. Or at least Carol Breeze knows them.

“Mom and Dad opened the shop in 1963, and Dad worked up to the late ‘70s, when he had to quit because of health issues,” said Breeze, who with her husband, Dennis, bought the shop from her mother in 1996.

“We have some four generations of families who still come to us,” said Breeze, who said one of the best things about running the shop is satisfying the customers.

“There’s a lot of pride in it,” said Breeze, who has lived in Latonia all her life. “With any small business, the biggest thing is when you have people come in because their friend told them they got good service here.”

And those customers represent a variety of generations, the oldest being 100 years old but who, Breeze said, “…didn’t look a day over 80.”

“I’ve got one customer whose dad use to bring all his boys in every weekend – his grandpa used to bring his dad in and his dad brought him in,” said Breeze. “Now, he brings his kids in. That’s how the moms got a break, when dad took the boys fishing. They went through more sinkers, hooks, and worms than any family I know of.”

One thing is consistent about the customers: “99 percent of our customers are just super nice, said Breeze.

And to help make sure customers don’t get their ire up on days the store is closed and they just need to go fishing, there’s a vending machine outside stocked with bait instead of soft drinks and chips. And by bait, we mean all kinds of bait: red worms, meal worms, and wax worms … dried shad and flathead minnows … catfish and bluegill “balls” … grass shrimp … and chicken livers.

“We’ve had it for about five years,” said Breeze. “I felt really bad because I won’t open the shop once it’s closed, and, on Sunday, you feel guilty for closing.”

The Breezes also keep customers in the know about local fish and wildlife stocking schedules, and the shop’s Facebook page and in-store bulletin board are filled with fish pictures. In other words, it’s a whole fishing community.

And, if a massive grey heron has swooped in and consumed all the fish in your backyard pond that’s just for decoration and quiet reflection, you might find some worthy replacements right there at Latonia Bait & Tackle.

About the awards: The first-annual Authenti-CITY awards were unveiled by Covington’s fun and irreverent Economic Development team in 2021 to celebrate National Economic Development Week in an off-the-wall way.

There were no rules and no criteria – just staffers getting together after hours (maybe over a few drinks, maybe not) and debating fiercely about what businesses, places, events, people and organizations most “kept it real” in The Cov. The fervor had to do with this: Narrowing down the massive list (because, you know, Covington is such a cool place).


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