During his 13 years in the oilpatch, Craig Hutton probably day-dreamed about spending his days surrounded by fishing gear and bait.
Such a setting has become a reality for the avid angler, who recently opened a fishing shop called Hooked Up.
Located in Red Deer at No. 2, 6858 Gaetz Ave., the business carries tackle, bait, licences and other fishing gear and accessories. It reflects Hutton’s passion.
“That’s what I love to do, is fish.”
With the downturn in the energy sector, he decided the time was right to put his money where his mind is. The fishing supply business, he reasoned, was also a good choice for other reasons.
“I just looked at the economy, and was hoping that I could do something that’s fairly stable and been around for a while.”
The sport is inexpensive enough that people can remain active in it even when their budgets are tight, he explained.
Hooked Up will focus on walleye, pike and trout — fish that are common in this region.
So far, he said, reaction from customers has been positive.
Hutton realizes he’s in a competitive market, with retail heavyweights like Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire vying for anglers’ business. He’s counting on Hooked Up’s specialized equipment, and perhaps more importantly his own expertise, to attract customers.
“I’m knowledgeable when it comes to fishing and I can tell them what to do and what to use and where to go.
“I notice a lot of people appreciate that. They want to know what’s good, they want to know what’s new, they want to know what works, they want to know where to fish, they want to know how to fish.”
Hutton even plans to offer fishing classes through his store. He might also guide fishing trips.
Originally from Elk Point, Hutton has lived in Red Deer for five years. Fishing has been a lifelong pursuit.
“Since I was old enough to hold a rod.”
He realizes that passion alone isn’t enough to build a new career. Details, like choosing the right suppliers, are important for success.
“It’s just like any other business. You’ve got to have your ducks in a row.”
Hooked Up opens at 9 a.m. daily and closes at 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 9 p.m. on Friday, 6 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.