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Interview & Event Articles

The Origins of Cal's Path to the Darkside Revealed : Hi's TackleBox New Location Grand Opening

Date: 2/18/08
Location: South San Francisco, CA
Event Date: 01.24.09
Reviewer: Team TackleTour



Introduction: In today’s age of electronics where immediate gratification is the rule and product information and availability has become a twenty four by seven affair, neighborhood tackle stores are quickly giving way to e-retailers. Customers want to find the information and products they need online from the convenience of their home, office, or even mobile phone, and while the convenience of this instant access is obvious, the downside is anglers begin to lose touch with hot tips and techniques in their local waters.

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Throw in the state of our current economy and it is all the more impressive what a little shop originally out of San Francisco, California has and continues to accomplish. We say originally because on January 24, 2009, after more than twenty years in San Francisco, Hi’s Tackle Box held their Grand Opening celebration at their new location on 40 Chestnut Avenue in South San Francisco. TackleTour was on hand for the event.


After more than 20 years, Hi's Tackle Box, formerly of San Francisco, leaves the confines of the City by the Bay to head to their new location in South San Francisco.


Background: Most who remember Hi’s Tackle Box’s recall the store’s former location at 33rd and Clement Street in San Francisco, but the store actually got its start in a very small retail location one and a half miles away at 10th and Geary – just a fifteen minute walk away from where our very own Enthusiast Tackle Editor, Cal, grew up. In fact, it was in this very store where Cal’s taste for high-end tackle was nurtured. Who was responsible for this training you ask? Hi’s current owner, Jonah Li. It was he who, on one fateful day in the late 1980’s placed in Cal’s hand, a brand new Shimano Chronarch 100a mounted on a G.Loomis CR721 IM6 and the rest is TackleTour history.

What was the draw? More square footage and better parking!

Our very own Cal is not the only tackle enthusiast to be born out of Hi’s Tackle Box. BASS Series Elite Angler and certified tackle enthusiast, Ish Monroe also got his start at Hi’s where there is an open door policy for anyone wanting to come in, hang out, and learn about fishing – any type of fishing. Witnessed by sponsored events on Southern California’s Royal Polaris long range fishing vessel and organized events down to South America for the vaunted Peacock Bass, not to mention the daily and weekly salt water trips for salmon, striped bass, halibut and more when those species were thriving in local waters, Jonah and the crew at Hi’s cover, teach, and most importantly, fish it all, so they are in tune with the latest techniques no matter if the bite is hot or cold, local or down across the equator.

The new store features twelve, 42" Plasma Television sets hooked up to sound domes isolating sound to patrons standing in front of the monitors.


The New Location: Having seriously outgrown the confines of their previous location at 3141 Clement Street, Hi’s Tackle Box’s new location at 40 Chestnut Avenue in South San Francisco is not only more accessible with easy freeway access from Interstate 280 or Highway 101, there is ample parking at this new location as well. With the extra retail space and parking, Hi’s plans to hold quarterly, themed events bringing in representatives from different manufacturers to highlight product, educate anglers, and of course, offer special pricing on products to all who attend. If the Grand Opening was a sampling of what to expect at future events, you might want to get on the mailing list for the schedule!


Hi's Tackle Box carries everything from trout gear to tackle for big game such as marlin.

Case in point? At the grand opening, we were present for the special one hour sale on all G.Loomis fishing rods (10% off and no sales tax). We’re told, after we left, there was a similar sale on all Costa Del Mar sunglasses. Not only that, but as patrons walked through the doors, they were handed raffle tickets that they had the option of dropping in either the Saltwater or Freshwater raffle box for prizes given away every fifteen minutes! What types of prizes you ask? How about Shimano inshore reels, St. Croix Mojo bass rods, G.Loomis Swimbait sticks, swimbaits, Daiwa products, free fishing line and more! Of course, you had to be present to win.

Cliff Liddy of Persuader American Tackle was on hand to show us some of his new baits including their new E-Chip swimbait.

Hourly seminars were held by staff and manufacturer representatives covering topics from halibut fishing in the Bay to bass fishing in the Delta to top shot leader connections using hollow braid. On hand were representatives from Shimano, Phenix Rods, Lucky Craft USA, Penn, Persuader American Tackle, Blackwater International/Toray, Roboworm, Lamiglas, the list goes on and on.

Lucky Craft debuts their new Skeete Reese Redemption Spinnerbait.


Highlights of the new store itself include the raised reel case displays putting the latest and greatest fishing reel offerings at almost eye level making it easier and more comfortable for the consumer to admire and drool over, and twelve, forty two inch plasma screen monitors throughout the store sponsored by different manufacturers to highlight product and techniques. In front of each monitor is an innovative sound dome that isolates sound from each monitor to the area directly beneath the dome so you can walk around the store undisturbed by the constant loop videos, or stand beneath the domes and really take in what’s being discussed on each monitor.


Roy Gray was on hand to show us the latest and greatest from Lucky Craft.

On hand to show us some new gear was Roy Gray, regional sales representative for Lucky Craft USA. Roy showed us the new Redemption Spinnerbait by Lucky Craft featuring a polycarbonate shell over a tungsten weight system. This innovative approach allows Lucky Craft to apply their fantastic finish schemes to the heads of the spinnerbait – the same finishes now featured on all their hardbaits. There were none available on hand for sale, but they will be available soon for $13.99 to $14.99 each.


Lucky Craft enters the trout market with their new 48, 50, and 65 sized pointers.

Another new product from Lucky Craft, at least in the US market, are the 48 and 50 sized Pointers specifically designed for trout. The 48 sized Pointers are floaters while the 50 series are sinkers. The finishes on these products are of the traditional Lucky Craft level of excellence and they are available immediately for $13.99 each.

Hi's new location is easily accessible off both Highway 101 and Interstate 280.

Product wise, Hi’s carries a very diverse assortment of tackle ranging from bass and trout gear on up to big game rods and reels and just about everything in between and if you cannot find it in the store when you’re there, Hi’s can certainly bring it in for you to check out before you buy.


Looking for that trip of a lifetime or just want to learn how to catch fish in local waters? Drop in and see the folks at Hi's Tackle Box. They not only sell the tackle, they teach you how to use it.


Conclusion: The physical improvements in their new retail surroundings are highlighted, of course, by the always friendly and helpful staff at Hi’s who are always up to date on the latest and greatest product offerings and techniques as well as the current bite situation in local lakes, the bay, ocean, and California Delta. At the grand opening, Jonah hinted to us he’s not done with the store’s look, feel, and stock. Especially after more than twenty years in the industry, he knows the fishing business, just like an actual bite itself, is in an ever evolving state and he strives to remain flexible enough to respond to this continual state of flux. We look forward to another twenty plus years of Hi’s Tackle Box at its new, more easily accessible location in South San Francisco.

You can also visit Hi's Tackle Box Online Shop for the latest products











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