Those We Honor

You’ll find more than just fishing celebrities in this list. One can make a significant impact
on the lives of many without ever being well known. It is important to honor all of
those who had a great influence on the great sport of fishing, whether famous or not.
Corporate advances tend to be much more visible to us. For it’s their products that
shape the evolution of the sport of fishing.

Wayzata Bait and Tackle

Wayzata Bait and Tackle

Inducted 2024

Hard to argue that any two Minnesotans spend more time in the fishing world than Tim and Bob Sonenstahl. Who else can say they’ve worked fishing, seven-days-a-week, for 48 years? Tim and Bob own Wayzata Bait and Tackle and have been sharing their passion since working as kids in the shop.

Wayzata Bait started in 1975 when Archie Sonenstahl rented space in artist Ken Zylla’s Wayzata strip mall shop. Archie eventually took over the space and opened a full- service bait shop. Bob and Tim started daily work there as teenagers. Tim, a few years younger than Bob, rode his bike to the shop and Bob would throw Tim’s bike in the truck at the end of the workday and drive them both home.

Tim eventually took extra shifts in the shop to cover so Bob could try and fish walleyes competitively. Bob won Minnesota’s Walleye State Championships in 1979 and 1980. Shop life would keep Bob too busy to fish much after those wins. Bob eventually returned the favor and covered a few of Tim’s shifts so he could chase bass as part of Minnesota’s Pro-Am Series. Tim also guided bass on Lake Minnetonka, fishing mornings and working the shop every afternoon. That would cement the Sonenstahl’s daily schedule. Bob would open the shop at 5am and work until 1pm. Tim would take over and work from 1pm to 8pm. They work the shop seven days a week. The only time the shop closes is for Minnesota’s deer opener.

During the shop’s busiest years, Bob and Tim would employ as many as a dozen friends and high school students to help bag minnows and share fishing reports. Bob would build the shop’s crappie jigs, spinner baits and walleye spinners. Retired Hennepin County Sheriff Deputy Russ Meuer taught Tim to repair rods and reels when Tim was 14 years old. Tim’s been doing the bait shop’s repairs since. You can also still find Bob’s custom baits for sale. The brothers also sponsor and help teach/coach alongside local school fishing teams.

After five decades, Wayzata Bait’s legacy is very near (too near) its end. The strip mall where the bait shop lives is essentially dying. Every one of the other businesses in the mall have been abandoned. Wayzata Bait is the only store front still open. A new, proposed car dealership has forced tenants out and will replace the strip mall in coming months. Bob and Tim expect to close the doors, for good, this fall. Tightening live bait restrictions and the price of a new freshwater well in the area (for live bait tanks) make the idea of opening a new shop in a new spot unfeasible.