Tradition continues at Ted’s Bait and Tackle as Big Bear takes ownership

Tradition continues at Ted’s Bait and Tackle as Big Bear takes ownership

Town Councilman William Worthy of Big Bear Hunting and Fishing at the newly acquired Ted’s Bait and Tackle Shop in Pascoag. Worthy said Big Bear is grateful to be trusted to carry on tradition at Ted’s, which has been a staple in the fishing community in northern Rhode Island since 1955. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

BURRILLVILLE – Ted’s Bait and Tackle at 660 Reservoir Road in Pascoag has been a staple in the fishing community of northern Rhode Island since the 1950s, and now under the ownership of Big Bear Hunting and Fishing, the tradition should continue for decades to come.

Town Councilor Will Worthy, who co-owns Big Bear with Andre Mendes, said the Breault family approached Big Bear owners several months ago about taking over the shop after family members could no longer handle the store.

Ted’s was family-run since 1955, and Worthy said the remaining family members no longer wanted to run the small tackle shack located on the family’s farm, but hoped to still serve northern Rhode Island.

Original owner Ted Breault handed the business down to his nephew, Raymond “Ted” Breault, who ran the shop until his late 90s when he died in 2019.

Within walking distance of the Pascoag Reservoir, Worthy said many of the young anglers who have frequented the tackle shop still live near the reservoir, and multiple generations patronize the shop for their live bait and tackle needs.

“There are pictures in the shop, lots of pictures with the original owners and customers that go through generations,” Worthy said.

One of the first orders of business for Big Bear in taking over Ted’s was to purchase a new polaroid camera to continue that tradition. He said Big Bear considered changing the name to Big Bear Jr., but they decided not to “tarnish the relic.”

“We want to continue the legacy of Ted and Ray,” Worthy said.

Members of the Breault family continue to live at the property, Worthy said, saying that much about how Ted and Ray ran the shop over 70 years will remain unchanged.

“There’s stories of Ted or Ray waking up and coming out in their skivvies to get people bait. They were quirky and well-liked. We want to keep that sentiment going,” Worthy said.

The sign for Ted’s on Putnam Pike, for example, is grandfathered into being allowed on state property along the road. Chipped and showing signs of rust and wear, Worthy said it can’t be changed and he has no plans to repaint it anyway.

He said the shop will remain largely unchanged as well.

“It’s a perfect little shop. People lined up in the driveway for bait for decades. Why change the tradition?” he said.

Also continuing tradition, Worthy said he soon hopes to run a youth fishing tournament, much like Ted’s.

Worthy said running the event is perfect for Big Bear, which already supplies fishing bait and tackle at the 401 Putnam Pike shop in Glocester. Both shops will be stocked with everything needed for freshwater trout and bass fishing, including live bait, tackle and gear, Worthy said.

Only a few miles apart, he said if one shop is out of an item or closed, the other will be stocked or open. He added that he hopes his son will staff Ted’s over the summer.

Under new ownership, Ted’s had a soft opening last weekend, and will have a grand re-opening this weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Ted’s will remain open weekends until June, when it will expand hours of operation to Thursday through Monday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., through September.