Conneaut bait shop lures callers with fishing weather forecast

CONNEAUT, Ohio – Enter Snug Harbor Bait & Tackle along Lake Erie and inevitably the phone will ring before you leave.

Now it’s the background noise for Jack Polchosky and his son, Alex.

Both mostly ignore incoming phone calls because, as they say, their customers are not looking to speak to them directly; they call to listen to Jack’s fishing weather report on his landline voicemail.

Jack Polchosky changes his voicemail greeting on a daily basis to match current conditions and what is to come.

“A lot of people call to find out the weather,” said Jack Polchosky. “Where the fish bite. We are not always right. No meteorologist is. I’m far from a meteorologist, but we just roll the dice and look at three to four different maps and scenarios and try to come up with the best possible plan. “

Jack Polchosky began offering daily weather forecast voicemails in May 1989, just as he moved the business to its current location.

Even though the Internet offers instant information at your fingertips, Jack Polchosky still attracts many callers.

” A weekend, [we will get] 500 to 1,000 calls, ”said Alex Polchosky. “It’s ringing right now. I wish I had a dollar every time it rings, I would be a millionaire. It benefits everyone. People from the Youngstown area and the Pittsburgh area.

News 5 spoke to several fishermen who admitted to calling the weather forecast regularly over the past 20 years.

“It’s really kind of funny because I’ve seen women come in here and say ‘the first thing my husband does when he gets out of bed in the morning, pick up the phone, have a cup of coffee, run to the bathroom, and I know he’s calling you, ”laughed Jack Polchosky. “I hear this story so many times.”

Because the phone rings almost constantly, Jack admits it can be difficult trying to record a new voicemail message.

We still see a bunch of walleye and here’s an incoming call and everything I said is dead, ”he said in an attempt.

But like his fishermen on the water, Jack Polchosky continues to try. Resilience runs in his blood like the line of a brand new pole.

“I had health problems,” he explains. “I have Crohn’s disease. My first operation for Crohn’s disease was at the age of 17, when I was in my final year.

In total, Jack Polchosky said he has had four major surgeries over the years. Despite all this, he still keeps smiling because an illness supposed to bring him pain has directed him towards a goal.

“This is probably another reason I got into this business,” he said. “It would be really difficult for me to have a job anywhere at Crohn’s. Being my own boss, I was able to support myself and my family.

To hear the Snug Harbor Bait & Tackle weather report, call 440-593-3755. But don’t be surprised if you get a busy signal.

“The phone never stops,” said Jack Polchosky. “Everyone wants to know why I picked it up, I didn’t pick it up. All you can do is keep trying, because it rings and rings continuously. I have people calling all year round. Even in the fall and winter and when the ice is there, they just call to see what’s going on. I think they just got into the habit of calling and that’s what it comes down to.


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Dale D. Schrum