Did you ever think about moving closer to the water?

No, not really. By being in a location where everything is paid for, we can keep our costs down and our overhead low. That's how we can offer competitive prices.

The number of fishing licenses being sold in Maryland has leveled off. What's needed to prime the pump and get more anglers on the water?

The one thing the state could do is offer some more free fishing weekends instead of just three free days for the whole summer. A father today, if he can have some free weekends, chances are he's going to get a license so he can take his kids out for more fishing. Right now, if a father wants to take his 16-year-old son out, he's going to spend $50 just for licenses.

You're pretty picky about your staff, aren't you?

People have to be able to go in the shop, tell the salesman what they're going to be fishing for and what their budget is, and have that salesman be able to come up with the right thing. If you get a great deal on a fishing outfit but it's not the outfit you should have for what you're doing, it's a waste of money at any price.

The Tochterman centennial is just four years off. Did you ever think 100 years was within reach?

I was sure the company would make it, but I wasn't sure about me [laughing]. No, there was never a doubt in my mind. We're proud of what we've accomplished. We were proud of what our parents did before us and their parents did before them. It was just a natural progression — what do you want to do with your lives? We knew what we wanted to do with ours.

Do you get fishing much?

Not as much as I'd like. I've fished all over the world, and Dee and I will be able to spend more time on the water now because we've got a great staff. But it's like parents who take their kids fishing:They'd rather see the kids catch one fish than to catch 100 themselves. Well, I have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of customers, and it's more important to me that they catch fish than how much time I spend on the water.

candy.thomson@baltsun.com

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