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Angling to get 'Lucky' in fishing business

Woodbury native Matt Wiseman opened Matt's Lucky Bait in Lakeland. The shop is set to open April 1.

It's easy for fishermen to drift off into daydreams.

For Woodbury native Matt Wiseman, one day spent wetting a line brought dreams of someday opening a bait shop.

But after his life was turned upside-down last summer, those dreams were kicked-started into a vision he's now making his reality.

The 2003 Woodbury High School graduate on April 1 will open Matt's Lucky Bait - a Lakeland-based shop that will outfit St. Croix River anglers with live bait and custom lures. The shop is located about two blocks from the river on St. Croix Trail.

"We haven't had (a bait shop) in the area for quite some time," Wiseman said. "I thought it'd be good to give back to the community."

The new business represents something of a rebirth for Wiseman. Last year - around the same time he was laid off from his job as a mechanic - a fire destroyed his apartment in Hudson. Virtually all his and his children's belongings were lost in the fire.

"I walked out with my TV," he said.

The idea to open his own business, however, had been years in the works. Wiseman said his grandparents operated a boat store in Woodbury located where Golf Galaxy now stands on Hudson Road. Over the years, they reminded him that entrepreneurship could be a path to success.

Wiseman finally decided to seize on the opportunity.

"I wanted to go into business for myself," he said. "I think it's great."

Now that he has the chance, Wiseman said he's eager to cater to anglers like himself - those who don't fish exclusively during daylight hours. The thought became clear to him after he decided to go out fishing one night around midnight, only to realize the nearest bait shop in Hudson was closed up.

"So I vowed to have my hours extended - 5 p.m. to midnight," he said.

Wiseman plans on hanging a sign on the shop door encouraging late-night anglers not to give up if they can't find him there. He said he'll be happy to open up the shop if customers need him.

"I live two minutes from the shop," Wiseman said.

In addition to bait, Matt's Lucky Bait will carry locally made jigs and lures, including tackle from Hudson-based Venom Outdoors. He doesn't plan to be a major tackle outfitter - he figures stores like nearby Gander Mountain have that market cornered - so he expects to offer only "last-minute things you'll need."

For example, "the guy who breaks his rod right before he gets in the water," Wiseman said. "Sometimes things go wrong."

Matt's Lucky Bait is located at 178 St. Croix Trail in Lakeland. The shop has a "soft" opening on April 1 and a grand opening event April 6-7, where raffle and door prizes will be given away. More information is available under Matt's Lucky Bait on Facebook.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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