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On the Water: Paulie’s Tackle Closes

Thu, 03/07/2024 - 09:53
Paul Apostolides has closed his popular tackle store in downtown Montauk.

The sad and subdued responses on Facebook told the story.

Hundreds of anglers, those who fish by boat and especially from the shoreline, were saddened to learn last week that Paulie’s Tackle Shop, located in downtown Montauk for over 20 years, had closed its doors forever.

Many will miss the wide assortment of lures and tackle for sale, expert rod-and-reel repair, as well as the jovial atmosphere and smiles that the owner, Paul Apostolides, dispensed from his small storefront on South Emerson Avenue, just a stone’s throw from the ocean, where striped bass and bluefish could be caught for dinner. His shop was a perfect starting point for many who loved to fish.

Whether it was a beginner with a newly bought rod and reel or a savvy surfcaster plying their trade off a rock at night on the south side, Apostolides catered to a wide audience. But a steady increase in rent, supply-chain issues making it harder to obtain numerous products and components, and other factors played a role in his decision to close.

“Montauk has also changed to a point that surfers and fishermen are not the norm anymore,” Apostolides wrote on Facebook. “Hotels have gotten out of control, 7-Eleven, the Sloppy Tuna, Surf Lodge, etc., have pushed the whole place into a direction away from the community it once was.”

Apostolides added that Montauk “had great people” and “local charm that was unmatched” but said “that will never happen again because the people moving in are never going to be a part of what this town was.”

“None of them will be volunteer firemen. None of them will give a hand to the locals. It saddens me, but I now had to lock my doors for good.”

The closure of Paulie’s means that there are no more tackle shops in downtown Montauk. Other stores like Johnny’s Tackle Shop and Freddie’s Bait and Tackle shut their doors a number of years ago. While several marinas sell bait and tackle to the large fleet of boats in Montauk Harbor, none focus heavily on repairs, fishing gear, and lures for surfcasters.

“For many, Montauk will always be the surfcasting capital of the world,” said Chris Albronda of Montauk. “And Paulie’s Tackle was the official headquarters. The closing of the store has sent shockwaves through the surfcasting and fishing community. Paulie’s shop was a place where beginners and pros would come to get the best tackle and tips.”

“The news of this is beyond sad,” remarked Brandon Sausele, a fervent surfcaster who greatly appreciated the help and guidance provided by Apostolides for many years. “This is a great loss for Montauk and so many others who fish here. You have no idea.”

Sausele, a resident of Lake Grove who has won numerous striped bass surfcasting tournaments that were coordinated by Apostolides, started to fish the Montauk shoreline regularly as soon as he received his driver’s license.

“Paulie’s was more than just a tackle store, it was a real hangout for myself and many others,” he said. “I grew up at the shop. Paulie brought me up and taught me right from wrong when it came to the surf scene.”

“I really don’t know where we will all go now,” he added.

In a conversation on Sunday night, Apostolides, who lives in East Moriches, said he is keeping an open mind on his next endeavor. “I may just be a truck driver,” he said. “But I will also continue to make and sell a variety of fishing rigs. I’ve already started talking to some other tackle-shop owners who are really interested.”

“Still, I’m going to miss many of the people who came into my store for so many years,” he added. “I met many fine people.”

A campaign was launched on Saturday as a last-ditch effort to help Paulie's stay open. The goal is to raise at least $30,000 to help with necessary upgrades, rent payments, and inventory issues. Those interested in contributing to the fund-raiser can visit

Fishing tips, observations, and photographs can be sent to [email protected].


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