‘Fishin’ Frank’ finds new spot for bait and tackle shop in Charlotte County

Nearly a year after his business was destroyed, “Fishin’ Frank” Hommema in Charlotte County is moving into a new spot after his original store, Fishin Franks Bait and Tackle, was burned to ashes in a fiery crash.

“This wasn’t like, ‘OK, my store burned down.’ This was like my brother got killed,” Hommema explained. “So much of my identity was tied up in that location. I wasn’t sure I could be Fishin’ Frank anywhere else.”

In May 2020, a driver in a truck ran into an embankment and went airborne, landing on top of Fishin Franks Bait and Tackle about 50 feet away. It happened during early morning hours, causing a fire that ultimately destroyed the longstanding business.

If one good thing comes from losing his business, it’s that Hommema knows his identity isn’t tied to four walls or fishing supplies inside. It’s in all the people he’s met along the way.

“This has never been about the fishing,” Hommema said. “It’s been about the interacting with the people.”

Hommema’s family started the business 35 years ago. His fishing family keeps it going.

“It’ll never be the same as the old store, but I think the people in it will make it as close as they can,” said Rick Doll, a loyal customer.

“Fishin’ Frank” found a new spot at an old pizza shop about 0.5 miles south of the old bait and tackle shop. His longtime customers are coming together to get it in tip-top shape.

“I owe Frank,” Doll said. “Every time I’ve called him, he gave me advice … if I owe him five minutes for every time I’ve called, I won’t be able to work this off in a couple of weeks.”

“Fishin’ Frank’s” former manager planned to open his own bait and tackle shop after the fire. Frank told us he realized he has more connections, so he’ll bring his old manager back as a co-owner. They plan to open the new store in May.

Frank lost all of his merchandise in the fire, but he never lost hope.

“People say, ‘What’s your plan?’ I don’t have a plan,” Hommema said. “I’m just letting life take me where it’s gonna go.”

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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