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“I don’t get out fishing as much as I like to,” said Lodi, a former tournament fisherman. “But I enjoy helping people catch fish on the lake.”

Lodi also said he enjoys painting custom lures. He has a growing list of lure painters he uses, but in the past year Lodi has started painting some himself in his back shop. He said he has a lot of unique patterns, and knows that purples, pinks and oranges have seemed to attract fish on Winnebago in recent years. “I enjoy doing painting,” Lodi said. “It’s fun, it’s creative.”

Custom lure painting is just one of many new additions at Rippn-Lips in the past year. Another hot selling new addition has been equipment for bowhunters, including bows, crossbows and arrows. The list of wholesalers for that equipment has grown steadily. Equipment is available year-round but volume grows and takes a prominent spot in the store around mid-August just prior to the start of the bow season.

T-shirt and other apparel sales also have taken off quickly, and Lodi said three new designs of shirts will be coming out soon. A sturgeon shirt he had produced just prior to that season sold out.

Speaking of sturgeon season, having a bait and fishing equipment shop in the “Sturgeon Capital of the World” turned out to be a good move as Lodi said it was “crazy” at Rippn-Lips. “I was prepared, but I wish I had the decoys in sooner like late November. People like to Christmas shop for decoys.” Several spears still sit along a wall in the shop and were hot items in February for those spearers who needed a new one for any number of reasons.

Services provided

Lodi also said the shop now does rod tip repair, line spooling, sells custom made jewelry and fishing theme shirts for women, and also is getting into more camping equipment as three campgrounds are within a few miles of Rippn-Lips.

“I’m happy,” Lodi said in assessing the store’s first-year performance. “It’s grown faster than I thought. Internet sales have been strong.” Check out www.rippn-lips.comto see what the tackle company has to offer and/or to shop online.

Lodi said he is getting both repeat and new customers. From his repeat customers he said he loves to hear how something he sold them helped them catch a fish. Conditions continue to be great on Lake Winnebago, he said. Big walleyes can be caught and, as of a couple weeks ago, jumbo perch were picking up. Smallmouth bass are an underfished species on ‘Bago, Lodi said.

To help him keep up with his busy schedule, Lodi has added the part-time services of Pipe area fisherman Dennis Totzke in the store. Totzke brings a lot of knowledge about area lakes and camping opportunities to Rippn-Lips.

Rippn-Lips is open seven days per week starting early in the morning for fishermen to get their live bait and other gear before heading out for a day on a lake.