Larry Scholz

Larry ScholzOur interview with Larry Scholz. Larry opened Unc’L Lunkers Bait & Tackle nine years ago in Bridgton, Maine. As shop owner, he knows as well as anyone that fishing in Maine relies on soft plastics.

Do you use soft plastic lures?

Absolutely. My whole business is about teaching kids to fish and making them better outdoor citizens. Fishing allows them to do something outside rather than being on their cell phones. We have camps up here where they take kids out for fishing lessons using soft plastics, which makes it easier for a kid to have a great time and catch something.

Were you aware the state of Maine threatened to ban soft plastic lures two years ago?

Yes, I am but my customers weren’t really aware of the possible ban. My personal opinion is that environmental groups from out of state don’t want any fishing to take place, not just fishing with soft plastics. By not pushing the issue, people who proposed this ban are trying to keep sportsmen in the dark.

What would you be willing to do to stop a ban?

We’re borrowing the environment, we’re borrowing the lakes. These belong to our kids and our kids’ kids. I talk to my customers to make sure that they don’t litter, period. I have a bucket in front of my shop with a sign that says, “Recycle your used and broken monofilament line and plastic and rubber baits.” I’m the original in this area doing that. Over the past nine years, I’ve sent back a couple of cartons of this to Berkley. I now recycle lead for people, too.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife sees soft plastics as a litter issue, but there is still a threat of a total ban. If this occurred, how would your business be affected?

My business would be affected fairly greatly. I think I would lose half of my business. And as far as I know, all my competition around here all sell soft plastics, too. When you really look at it, people are coming up here to Maine to catch a bunch of smallmouth and largemouth bass and they’re going to do it with soft baits, not with a spinners or rooster tails.

Do you have any other comments?

I’m a proponent of doing the right thing so people don’t trash our area. I worked hard to build a reputation. A lot of the stuff I sell has my name on it. I don’t want Unc’L Lunker stickers all over the ground and water. That’s not how I want to be remembered.

 

Join Larry in committing to release fish, not lures. Sign the Pledge to Pitch It today. To learn more about the threatened ban on soft baits, click here.