July 10, 2019

Theresa Java/Free Press
Meagan and Eddy Cabrera offer an extensive inventory of fishing tackle, rods, clothing, marine supplies, ice, beer and snacks.

Theresa Java/Free Press Meagan and Eddy Cabrera offer an extensive inventory of fishing tackle, rods, clothing, marine supplies, ice, beer and snacks.

TAVERNIER — Through a wide grin, Eddy Cabrera likened the bait fish he keeps in his live wells to owning a dog. He feeds them twice a day and provides plenty of water.

The roiling tanks at Angler Eddy’s Live Bait & Tackle shop are more like a science lab. Cabrera installed an intricate piping system that weaves around the wells to give the fish plenty of oxygen. It helps combat the heavy sargassum that’s been clogging up his oceanfront shop lately, he said.

Cabrera nets a few pinfish from one of the big soupy tanks to check them out, avoiding the spines. He moves on to the pilchards teeming in another tank.

Theresa Java/Free Press
Eddy Cabrera spools reels by hand with help from wife Meagan until the automatic spooler arrives at their tackle shop.

“They have to eat too, and they’re what mahis are loving right now. Or, they may go for a fresh fish. Look at this. It’s got a good stink to it. This is ideal bait,” he said offering a ballyhoo.

The ballyhoo lying next to the cigar minnows and goggle eyes are all “freshly caught, never frozen” and stowed under the tiki hut service area.

Cabrera’s wife, Meagan, said they feed the bait fish chum, which they stock floor-to-ceiling in a walk-in cooler.

Angler Eddy’s Live Bait & Tackle provides dockside service. Bait can be offloaded right into a boat’s live well, the perfect scenario for any angler.

When the opportunity to own his own bait shop came along earlier this year, Cabrera, who has been fishing his whole life, jumped on it.

“I get to wear shorts, flip flops and listen to Jimmy Buffet when I come to work. I’m loving life right now,” he said. “I may get upset once a month but that hasn’t happened so far. No one is ever in a bad mood when they’re going out fishing. Everyone is always so happy.”

Inside the shop, Angler Eddy’s Bait & Tackle carries Pelagic and Aquaflage clothing, sunglasses, hats, bug spray, sunblock and supplies needed to be out on a boat for the day.

“We try to support locally made products here,” Meagan said. The waterproof pouches and lobster tickle sticks are a few she pointed out.

“And this is my room that I share with the rest of the world,” Cabrera said.

Theresa Java/Free Press 
Eddy Cabrera casts his net for pinfish in the live bait wells in the back of his shop, Angler Eddy’s Live Bait and Tackle.

The room is fully stocked with rods, reels, lures, hooks, weights, jigs, pliers, Vudu shrimp, diving and boating gear, and 50 pound bags of oats.

It’s here that Cabrera spools reels, makes ballyhoo rigs, or any other kind of rig upon request. He stares at his wall of tackle and wide selection of fishing poles.

A good fishing rod should be easily fixable by anyone, he said.

“This is the kind of rod that you can throw in front of a car and it wouldn’t break,” he said of the Penn rod. “The guides are ceramic, they’ll never rust.”

Every day is an opportunity to go fishing in the Keys, he said.

“We have really good help and great customers,” Meagan said. “We are truly living the dream.”

The shop’s motto is “Tight lines and lots of love.”

Angler Eddy’s Live Bait & Tackle shop is located at 90515 Old Highway in Tavernier. Store hours are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

For more information, call 305-778-7728, visit anglereddyslivebaitandtackle.com or find them on Facebook.

tjava@keysnews.com