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NY, NJ, CT, RI Edition
July 26, 2011
Volume 22 � Number 5


Trophy Fish Means “Trophy Tackle”
by Tony Salerno
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To be perfectly honest, when Editor in Chief Sal Amendolia handed me this assignment, I had no idea where Trophy Tackle was located. Once Sal informed me of where the shop was located, I was pretty certain the address was that of the former Augie's Bait and Tackle. With that in mind, I headed over to 450 Fire Island Avenue in the Village of Babylon on Long Island this past June. My question was answered, as indeed the new and bright Trophy Tackle has replaced the longtime Augie's. Upon entering the store, I was greeted with aisle upon aisle of offshore and inshore lures as well as tackle that glittered the aisles as brightly as the halls of Emerald City in the timeless classic, The Wizard of Oz. I'm sure my jaw dropped to the ground as I walked through the store in awe, as just about every new and innovative lure or piece of tackle could be found hanging on racks or resting on a shelf in this magnificent piece of paradise, which is why Trophy Tackle is deservingly our Nor' East Magazine Tackle Shop of the Year.


Several years ago, Captain John Nappo Jr., an avid angler and a professor at Maritime Technology at Kingsborough Community College in Queens, envisioned opening a tackle shop that would serve the novice angler, as well as the most proficient sharpie in the same manner, by providing the very best in state of the art tackle to fit everyone's budget. In 2005 that vision became a reality as Captain John opened the first set of doors of Trophy Tackle in Deer Park. By 2008, Trophy Tackle's soaring business and success convinced Captain John to seek out a larger store to stock all the goodies, when destiny struck, as Augie's Bait and Tackle was on its way out, opening the window of opportunity for Captain John and Trophy Tackle. Now in its third year in Babylon, Captain John along with his dad John Nappo Sr., a retired auto parts dealer, and friends Marc and Johnny Sweets run one of the most courteous and proficient tackle stores found anywhere along the Northeast.


It doesn't matter if you are a casual angler, or a dye in the wool diehard; a trip to this tackle center is a must for any angler. Whether you plan to pull snappers and crabs from the town dock just down the road, or a 1000-pound big eye tuna from the Hudson Canyon, this store has what you need and beyond. "People think we cater to the offshore fishermen, but the fact is we cover every bit of ground including the docks and the surf," explains Captain John. And boy, do they ever. In fact, just in fishing rods alone, the shop stocks over a 1000 different shapes and sizes at any given time. Some of the more popular brands include Lamiglas, Calstar, Seeker, G Loomis, Okuma and Tsunami. As for reels, you can find what you are looking for as the shop carries hundreds of styles imaginable. Some of the more popular brands include Accurate, Alutecnos, Avet, Daiwa, Newell, Penn and Shimano. If you need to upgrade those reel handles for those extra heavy-duty tasks, the shop carries Tiburon engineered big game handles and Cal's universal star drag and reel grease. Terminal tackle includes just about anything under the sun as well as belts and harnesses, gaffs and harpoons and a full line of AFTCO products.


Need that International spooled or for that fact, any big game reel spooled in the most proficient manner? Well Trophy Tackle will be happy to oblige. Actually, no tackle shop on the entire east coast spools and sells as much Spectra line as they do at Trophy. Spectra, mono wind on leaders and top shots by BHP Tackle are the line of recommendation at this shop.

Using innovative production methods, BHP tackle makes the strongest and smallest wind on and top shots available. A wind-on leader is attached to a fishing reel's main line via a loop-to-loop connection, allowing the angler to crank the leader through the rod guides and onto the reel. Conventional leaders force the angler to stop reeling when the swivel reaches the rod tip, leaving the remaining length of leader in the water and requiring the use of a leader man. A wind-on is typically 25 feet long, but can also be custom ordered in any desired length. While BHP is the main choice for spooling here at the shop, anglers with a personal preference can choose from an array of selections that include Jinkai, Momoi, Hi-Seas, Diamond Products, Power Pro, Cortland Dacron, Daiwa Saltiga Braided Line and Seaguar Fluorocarbon.


Aside from the long list of quality inshore and offshore lures available at Trophy Tackle, Captain John's dad, John Sr. ,innovates and designs much of the shops trolling lures and spreader bars better known as TunaFish Tackle Trolling Lures and Spreader Bars.

TunaFish Tackle Trolling Lures are the highest quality chrome over brass trolling lures manufactured today, produced using automated screw lathes and CNC machining, which makes the quality unmatched in the industry. The spreader bars are proven performers for all species of tuna. They are manufactured to the highest standards and use the best materials possible; Momoi Monofilament mainlines and teaser lines, Momoi Crimps, Roscoe Swivels, Mustad and Eagle Claw hooks. Squid Bars feature Ocean Lure Concepts Shell squids, and all bars come with Nantucket Bound Storage bags. Incidentally, if you would like to check out more on the homemade gizmos or for most offshore tackle; check out their website at Please be aware that although you can purchase a great deal from the website, the actual store is chock full of goodies more so than the Internet. Other popular name brand trolling lures you will also find at the shop include Braid Trolling Lures, Zuker's Custom Trolling Lures, Hooker Baits, Tormenter, Mold Craft, Teasers and Offshore Innovations.

If casting and jigging tuna is more of your forte, rest assured that any jig from casting to butterflies can be found hanging from the racks, which include Sumo, TGT, Patriot, DB Hammered, Span-Ho, ProFish and Spro.


Anglers looking for that right darter or swimming plug to do some suds surfing will be in their glory here as the newest colors and designs flock the shelves. While I was strolling the aisles on my last visit, surf pro and store employee Johnny Sweets showed me some impressive new plugs from Strike Pro that will certainly make the grade among the Northeast top surfcasters. In addition to Strike Pro plugs, Gibbs, Super Strike Atom and Sebile are just a few of the broad selections you will find here. If you really want to broaden your horizons either in the surf category or any category for that fact, you need to check the selection of bucktails and plastic jigs. I am sure you will agree that some of these concepts are nothing short of shear brilliance that will stop at nothing in catching "Trophy" fish.


If you are looking for live killies for fluke bait, sorry but you'll have to search elsewhere as the shop does not sell them. On the other hand, if you need to satisfy your quench for trophy stripers, the shop has plenty of live eels and live spot available for your bass endeavors. And to make your bass affair an even more pleasant experience, the shop sells the spot at an unheard price of $3 apiece. Yes, you read that correctly - three dollars apiece. Considering that most suppliers are asking between 5 and 7 dollars apiece for the bass candies, grab a bucket and an aerator and stock up.

Although there are no live killies available for your fluke explorations that is no reason not to pursue the tasty flat critters since the shop does carry plenty of quality freshly frozen local spearing. And if you thought spot at 3 bucks was a bargain, how about a package of spearing for $2.50. Compare that to $4 to $4.75 per pack anywhere else. Aside from spearing, eels and spot, you will find a complete line of inshore and offshore baits and chums including rigged and unrigged ballyhoo for those feisty swordfish and tuna that abounds.


Great news, if you are a happy owner of an Avet Reel, Trophy Tackle is the only Avet Authorized Repair Center on the entire east coast. Therefore, any Avet in dire need of some TLC can be sent to the shop for repair. As a matter of fact, during my visit to the shop, John Sr. brought me to their reel repair center which is a separate building dedicated as a hospital for reels. Among the mechanical medical supply of inventory are shelves upon shelves of stocked reel parts to repair the most common issues concerning reel repairs. So impressive is this repair shop, Accurate and Shimano are also in the final stages of having the shop become an authorized repair center for the two corporations as well. If you happen not to own an Avet, Shimano or Accurate reel but require service on another, fret not as the shop will gracefully repair just about any brand available in the USA. All reels covered under warranty or COD can be dropped off personally or mailed to the shop.


For Captain John, the business goes beyond opening and closing the door each day. When not teaching classes, or attending to the shop, John is involved in fighting for fair fishery management. Captain John is a member of the New York Fishing Tackle Trade Association (NYFTTA), which is the voice of the recreation fishing industry. The organization, through the effort of its members, has earned the attention and respect of the legislators and advisory bodies governing our recreational fisheries. One of NYFTTA's main goals at this time is a fair share of the fishery, which will make a profound economic impact. "We really had to work for our current fluke regulations of 3 fish at 20 ½ inches; however, you know things are at disarray when the surrounding states can keep six fluke at 18 inches." states John. "People want to be able to go fishing and bring fish home," John adds. Which concludes that if Captain John had his way, he would like to see a season of May 1, with a 3 fish bag limit at a 14-inch minimum until the quota has been met and then they can shut the season. "This way you can put some food on the table, keep the bait shops in business and ensure future fisheries," he adds. As it turns out many families come to the shop purchasing bait and tackle and spend a day of quality time together by way of fishing. However, once these folks realize how stringent the regulations are, and go home disappointed with an empty cooler, they rarely return as they seek out other ways to create family values which in turn affects the industry as a whole.

As for striped bass, John would like to see a slot fish between 28 to 32 inches implemented, as well as the mandatory use of circle hooks for the stripers.

As for New York State's saltwater registry program, John would have liked to see the $10 Saltwater License stay in place since the feds would have had a more accurate account of anglers, whereas the current free registry will not be taken seriously enough to ensure a proper head count.

Well, there you have it. From the family of Nor'East Saltwater Magazine, to the entire staff at Trophy Tackle, congratulations on 6 years of dedicated service. May the coming seasons bring health, happiness and "Trophy" fish.

TROPHY TACKLE, 450 Fire Island Ave., Babylon, NY 11702, (631) 274-7042,

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