Eyes Have It owners retain love for fishing

ALL ABOUT FISHING: Jolynn Hildrabridle stands in front of the Eyes Have It bait shop in Leroy. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)
ALL ABOUT FISHING: Jolynn Hildrabridle stands in front of the Eyes Have It bait shop in Leroy. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

LEROY – Fishing in Osceola County is a fun topic for Craig Walters.

Walters owns the Eyes Have It bait shop in Leroy and is assisted by his girl friend, Jolynn Hildabridle. They’ve had the shop since 12 years.

He had a garden in the area where they built the store.

“We both thought it would be a good idea to have a bait shop around here,” Hildrabridle said. “There’s a lot of little lakes around here.”

It’s mostly fishing supplies, including live bait. but there’s some hunting.

“Him and I are both in poor health and are trying to sell our shop,” Hildrabridle. “We have a lot of reliable customers that come from downstate. They love our bait shop and they’re afraid about it being sold.”

They’re open year-round.

“We get a lot of locals but we also get a lot of tourism,” Hildrabridle said. “Rose Lake campground is really an awesome camp. There’s a lot of places to fish around here.”

This summer, “fishing has been awesome,” Hildabridle said. “Even though the weather has been goofy...and lot of people are fishing. The bass have been biting. Rose Lake has a lot of walleye in it. They’ve been catching a lot a of walleye there now. They’re catching some nice perch out of there too.”

Fishing over the years, “has improved with some of the lures they’ve come out with,” Hildabridle said.

Center Lake is also popular for fishing, she noted.

“Center Lake has the trout,” Hildabridle said, adding that other good fishing spots include Sunrise Big Long, McCoy and others. “There’s a lot of nice little trout stream along the Pine River.”

The hot weather has slow the trout fishing down somewhat, Hildabridle indicated.

“People would go out when the weather would cool down,” she said. “But the fish are biting. They had a bass tournament at Rose Lake (recently). One guy his biggest bass was a 5.57. It’s a three-bass limit and his three bass added to 13 something.”

Bass tournaments in the area have been popular. Hildabridle in the past has been involved with the Hog Hunters club for bass fishing action.

“There’s a lot of outdoor interest here,” Hildrabridle said. “That’s why we bought an extra lot. We were going to try to phase in some hunting stuff, but that’s not going to work out for us. There’s a lot of trappers were too.

“It gets a little slow in the spring and fall. And we get more salmon fishermen in the fall.”

Fishing tends to slow down during the thick of hunting season, she added.Hildabridle also is an active morel mushroom hunter in the spring.

“I be have lot of people come here and ask me about morel picking,” she said.