Local Business News on the Southern Oregon Coast
Local Businesses on the Southern Oregon Coast Featured in the South Coast Shopper
The Bite’s On!
By Annette Langenstein, Staff Writer

Joe Cook, manager of The Bite’s On!, a bait and tackle shop in the Empire district of Coos Bay, spent 25 years working in the public housing sector. One day he was talking to the store’s owner, who asked him if he might want to start working at the shop. “I had been in Southwest Oregon all my life and I’ve fished almost all the waters that are fishable,” said Joe.  “I was ready to make a move.” That was about ten years ago, and Joe has never looked back.

I asked Joe to describe his customers. “The main reason people stop in here is for fishing tackle and information,” said Joe. “The guys that work here, Andy, Dave, and Sean, are knowledgeable about fishing conditions. Andy spent many years  doing golf course groundskeeping and maintenance, but he’s a gifted fisherman and catches a lot of fish. Dave spent time working in the oil fields in the Southwest and has come to this part of Oregon during the last couple of years. He’s done a lot of deep sea and other fishing. Sean is still in high school, working part-time. We like to have one youngster working here... this is a dream situation for someone in high school who likes to fish.  Sean’s getting work experience and is an avid fisherman...out there every moment he can be, and he knows his ways around fishing tackle.”


Joe Cook, manager of The Bite’s On! in the Empire District of Coos Bay, holds a rod while standing behind the reel case.

The Bite’s On! sells much more than just fishing tackle.  Their bait selection includes mealworms, salmon eggs, herring, sardines, anchovies, squid, crab bait, mackerel...it’s a long list. During salmon season they sell tons of herring. “Right now one of the main things we sell is sand shrimp; by the thousands,” said Joe. “They’re fish candy. We have a nice rich estuary here.“

Joe said he would like Shopper readers to know “we have something for every type of fisherman. After ten years of doing this, it’s become very much a teaching job. I love to deal with people who are having their first fishing or crabbing experience, getting them set up and giving them the kind of information they need to be successful.  That’s the greatest thing about this job: people come in after an outing and tell me what a great time they had. We get people from all over the world:  Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and Europe”.

I asked Joe how his Shopper Saver ad is working. “I think our ad works well. I appreciate what your salesman does, and it helps that he’s a fisherman.” said Joe.

The Bite’s On! is located at 750 Newmark Avenue. Their hours are Monday - Saturday 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, and Sunday 7:30 am to 3 pm, and their phone number is 541-888-4015.

When I asked Joe what the future holds for The Bite’s On!, he replied, “We’re going to be here a while. We have great community support and the folks that just want to stop in and give us information always help to keep us in tune with what’s  going on. There are new trends in tackle and experienced fishermen stop in and tell us about them, or they ask for something special. We’re a small shop and we can’t have everything but we can get anything. Some people just come in to talk...it’s a good place for getting fishing information.”

Joe had one more thing to add: “Around the holiday season, lots of folks think that getting a gift certificate from The Bite’s On! is a pretty cool deal!”

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