Fishing-mad young South Shields businessman, 22, opens new tackle and bait shop after sport sees surge in interest during pandemic
Leonard Davies 22, from South Shields, has opened a tackle and bait shop in Prince Edward Road in the Nook area.
The young entrepreneur’s first business venture, Mr Davies is looking to make the most of the growing popularity of his sport during the pandemic, having identified what he believes is a ‘gap in the market’ locally for a new dedicated angling and fishing equipment business.
The new venture opened on Tuesday May 18, after months of planning during lockdown.
"It’s been brilliant so far – it was absolutely non-stop between 9.30am and midday,” he said.
“I’ve been fishing since I was 12 years old. We’re talking a good two or three times a week – I’m just obsessed with it.”
Thousands of people in Britain have been taking up angling as a convenient socially-distanced pastime during the pandemic months, with retailers that specialise in fishing tackle reportedly struggling to keep up with the recent surge in demand.
According to the Environment Agency, the annual number of rod licences in England and Wales rose by more than 120,000 in 2020 – up 15% on the previous year.
Mr Davies says he hopes the initial flurry of interest in the shop is a sign of good things to come, as many high street shop owners struggle to compete with online retail outlets.
“The community has cried out for a new tackle shop in the town for years now,” he said.
"I just decided to pick up the pieces and go for it.
"I think a lot of people like going into a shop and getting their fishing gear on the day. Plus, a lot of fishing is weather dependent, so some people might not be able to wait for online orders if they’re planning something on short notice.
"Especially if you're a novice and you don't really know what you’re doing, it’s invaluable to be able to go in somewhere and get advice.
"The reaction to the shop opening so far has been unbelievable, so fingers crossed things continue to go in that direction.”