Hooked on retail therapy


If we’re all honest, we have at least one thing that we have a lot of. I’m not talking about hoarding, but by “a lot” I mean more than we need.

“Need” being the operative word. Want and need are not interchangeable, unfortunately. I may want more Cadbury Mini Eggs, but I most certainly do not need more Cadbury Mini Eggs. (Note: the chocolate minis, not those gross chocolate egg-shaped things with fake candy yolk.)

Before I continue, can we all agree that “need” is a four-letter word — LOL?

All that preamble to defend my ever-increasing lure collection. In all fairness, every fishermen who fishes consistently has to replace numerous lures every year, because lines break, lures chip and crack, bluefish slice through braid and mono in a blitz, and lures fall to the ocean floor like pennies in a fountain; or we cast too far or too short, and get caught on something we probably shouldn’t have been casting near, but the fish were in front of us and we had to at least try.

Fact: It’s essential to replenish a lure supply merely to continue fishing. 

Now, it’s also true that some fishermen, and I’m admittedly one of them, owns more lures than he or she will use in a season. 

If you’re reading this column and you’re not a fisherman, and you’re shaking your head at my lure confession, first, I thank you for being a reader, and second, I ask you: Why did you buy that new purse? Your 12th or 13th purse? You only need one, right? Or that 16th golf club you needed to perfect a shot? Or that new game app because you need to have more than 50 apps on your phone? I’ll take 50 lures over 50 phone apps any day of the week.

OK, so we’re all in agreement that a little retail therapy is good for the soul, especially when we set a budget and stick to it. Now we can chat with joy about the new flies and lures I bought at the New England Saltwater Fishing Show. 

After entering the Striper Cup, I walked over to Joe Calcavecchia’s Saltwater Custom Flies. I asked Joe to recommend his best striper, albie, and bonito flies. After a discussion on colors and reasons, I bought a beautiful Striper Dragon, a white bonito bullet with a few strands of pink, and a chartreuse Epoxy Bait Fish for false albacores. I’m super-excited to try my slowly developing fly-fishing skills with the Striper Dragon this spring. The other two will have to wait until August, when the hardtails arrive. You can check out Joe’s flies at saltwatercustomflies.com.

I made multiple stops at the Striper Maine-iac’s booth. Not only do I love Ron McKee’s lures, but Ron and Lee Boullie are two of the most fun people. Ron was selling plenty of lures as I hung out at his booth with fellow M.V. Surfcasters. “Striper Junior swimmers and my skinny swimmers were the top sellers. Then it was a tossup between my 3-ounce Rocket pencil poppers and my 2½ striper Spooks,” said Ron. “Sales have been very good, and have improved each year for the past four years. It helps when so many decent stripers and blues are being seen landed on the plugs. Plus, people know I only use my plugs, and see how successful I am with them.”

If you want to purchase Striper Maine-iac plugs, you can shop at Coop’s or Larry’s on the Island, or email Ron at stripermaineiac@yahoo.com.  

After a pitstop at Striper Maine-iac, I went in search of lunch, and instead found Mark Lewis. I’d met Mark a few years ago during the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby at Ron McKee’s Vineyard house. Mark stood in front of LewDog Lures, and I could only smile. I had no clue he made and sold lures.

Mark shared that COVID gets the credit for his lure business. “We were all at home together, and I thought we had to do something good,” said Mark. 

Something good meant Mark and his twin sons, Stephen and Griffin, “made a ton of lures. The boys helped me create the website,” said Mark, a former U.S. Marshal.

LewDog lures look incredibly lifelike because he uses photos of bait fish on the lures. “We tested a lot of blanks fishing on the Vineyard. We picked out the best for New England. Then we wrap the blank with a photo of a bait fish. Then we hand-coat with two coats of epoxy,” said Mark.

All the lures have stainless rings and VMC 4X strong treble hooks. “Squid is my favorite,” said Mark. “Everything eats it. Albies and bonito love it.”

I took Mark at his word and bought a 4.75-inch squid. You can check out Mark’s cool LewDog Lures at lewdoglures.com

I made one impulse purchase. I was walking by the Born to Fish Lures booth, and saw rows of pink bucktails. I have enough bucktails. I even have pink bucktails, but the 1½-ounce rose gold Bucktail Swivel Jig was too pretty to pass by. We’ll see how it works when the blues show up. You can buy a rose gold jig for yourself at borntofishlures.com. Let me know if you do, and we can compare notes.

I also made one “regret” purchase. I stopped by the Game On! booth because I love their Exo lures. I have all the colors in all sizes. (Remember, no judgment.)

My friend Tammy King pointed out their new lure — its official name is Lime Time, after an Instagram naming contest last week. Lime Time is striking (pun intended), a white bottom with a true Key lime top. The lure all but screamed, “Buy me, I’ll be your favorite Derby lure this year.” 

Of course, I had to buy it. I bought one in each of the three sizes. And therein lies my regret. I should’ve bought at least three in each size. Buying only one is like heading into a marathon with only one bottle of water and 26.2 miles of road ahead of you. Foolishness. 

I asked Dan Orefice, owner of Game On! Lures, how he came up with the new color combo. He replied, “Pete from Larry’s [Tackle Shop] suggested it.” Of course! Why wouldn’t a tackle shop owner on Martha’s Vineyard create the new Lime Time lure?

I texted Peter and asked him about the color combo. “Bone (white) is always a go-to color for me,” he said, adding, “And chartreuse gives it a nice contrast.”

My teammate Dave also bought three Lime Times, which means we both need more. Fortunately, Peter received a shipment this week, so everyone can stop by Larry’s and pick up the new Lime Time. Just save me a few, please! 

If you’re an Electric Chicken fan, so is Dan. He fishes the classic Game On! Silver, and its Electric Chicken. Honestly, we need them all.  


Chappy beach access updates

For the thousands of us beachgoers following the NOI process with the Edgartown conservation commission, last week the ConCom voted to continue the Self NOI to March 27. On Monday night, Peter Sliwkowski, president of M.V. Beachgoers Access Group (MVBAG) texted me to let me know that the TTOR had refiled its Leland NOI, and the ConCom moved the date to April 10. 

The reasons for the updated NOI are super-important for OSV, even though it extends the process for another month. This morning Peter posted updates on the MVBAG Facebook page:

“Earlier this month, MVBAG leadership discovered that the OSV access path to the Leland property had an issue. Working with the TTOR leadership, the Leland/Wasque NOI was modified such that the parcel (10 Lighthouse Road) that includes the Dyke Bridge Causeway, access to the inside road and road to the outer beach was removed from the Cape Poge Refuge application, and added to the Leland/Wasque filing.

“The concern was that if the Leland/Wasque application was approved and not appealed, and the Cape Poge Refuge application was approved and appealed, there would not be a legal way to access the Leland properties. Adding parcels to a Notice of Intent requires renotifying abutters and readvertising the application in the local papers.”

The next M.V. Surfcasters meeting is Monday, April 1, at 7 pm at the Edgartown Rod and Gun Club. Free pizza for dinner, and fishing show and tell. All anglers will be sharing a secret, or a trick, or an invention, or a favorite lure. It promises to be a great night. 

Until then, I have two gift certificates to Coop’s Bait and Tackle shop waiting to be spent on spring fishing needs. I’m certain there are a couple of Savage sand eels hanging on a rack with my name on them, and maybe Coop also has the Lime Time in stock, so I can stock up before the rest of you buy them out.

I hope to see you on the beach, or at the Surfcasters meeting on April 1.