After nine years on the island, Whitney Jones decided the island needed a great bait and tackle shop with a friendly atmosphere.
He chose the empty building at 1554 Periwinkle Way as the ideal location and on Dec. 12 Whitney's Bait & Tackle opened its doors to serve Sanibel fishermen.
"I wanted a place where people can feel welcome," said Jones who also is a full-time fishing guide. "People can feel comfortable coming in the store because we have local knowledge of fishing and they will get great customer service."
Whitney Jones stands on the deck of his new bait & tackle shop on Periwinkle Way which just opened on Dec. 12.
Walking into the store is like not being indoors at all. The huge double sliders and wood deck across the front of the building lets in plenty of fresh air and sunlight as a cooling breeze flows through the customer area.
"I wanted a place where people could come in and be 'wowed' by the staff here and the atmosphere," said Jones. "This location just fits with the island. I like the openness of the building, it's a perfect spot. We all fish and we all know the area."
Jones and his staff freely and openly discuss fishing with any customer inquiry. The store stocks an ample supply of rods, reels, artificial lures and other tackle items, clothing, live and frozen bait, and displays hand-tied flies for fly fishermen. Jones can custom make rods to order as well as repair all rods and reels.
"Most of the time our repairs are done on the spot, and same day service on custom rods," said Jones.
This is not the first venture into the bait and tackle business for Jones. He owned a similar store in Kitty Hawk, N.C., before moving to Sanibel.
"I came for the 12 months of beautiful weather and the great fishing year round," said Jones, who was employed at Sanibel's Bait Box for eight years before striking out on his own, again. "I am a full-time fish guy."
Whitney's Bait & Tackle is open 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, 365 days a year.