By MAGGIE SCHUETTE-VOSS
Minnows, crappies, fatheads, suckers, shiners; they're all swimming around in a tank at Radtke Bait and Tackle, ready to be hooked and offered to bigger fish.
Danny and Charlene Radtke have opened their bait and tackle business in a building at their home, south of Winsted on McLeod Co. Rd. 1 (old Highway 261).
"With the new city limits, I think we're just a half mile from town," Danny said.
The Radtkes wanted to offer a local service to the fisher-people. "If you wanted to fish, you had to run to Howard Lake for bait," he said.
Danny and Charlene started thinking about opening a bait and tackle shop after Dave Mochinski closed his retail business, Santee Archery.
"Dave's been great. He's helped us find vendors and given us a lot of tips and advice," Danny said. Their bait shop will carry Mochinski's tackle, which he sells under the name "Maynard's Tackle."
The Radtkes are starting small, carrying the basic needs for local anglers.
"We're open to suggestions," Charlene said. "Tell us what you want."
When one goes to the bait shop, Charlene is probably the one who will be getting the minnows.
"Last year she wouldn't even touch wax worms. Now she's in there counting them," Danny said.
The shop is open Monday through Thursday 6 to 9 a.m., and again 3 to 7 p.m. It is open all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
"The fun part of this job is people are in a good mood," Danny said. "They're going fishing, they're happy. It's not like when someone is coming to you because their car is broken down," he said.
The couple is finishing the paperwork so they will be able to sell fishing licenses and will have a propane tank exchange.
The Radtkes, who have four kids, have also found they have their own live-in customers.
Danny said the kids now do their chores without
complaints so they can get their allowance. Then they come into
the bait shop "and give their allowance right back to us."