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The busiest phone in Ohio: Conneaut bait shop reels in callers with fishing weather report voicemail

Jack Polchosky Bait Shop
Posted at 4:47 PM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 18:30:14-05

CONNEAUT, Ohio — Step inside Snug Harbor Bait & Tackle along Lake Erie, and inevitably, the phone will ring before you leave.

By now, it’s background noise for Jack Polchosky and his son, Alex.

The two mostly ignore the incoming phone calls because as they put it, their customers aren’t looking to directly talk to them; they’re calling to listen to Jack’s fishing weather report on his landline voicemail.

Jack Polchosky changes his voicemail greeting daily to match the current conditions and what’s to come.

“A lot of people are calling wanting to know the weather report,” Jack Polchosky explained. “Where the fish are biting. We’re not always right. No weatherman is. I'm a long way from being a weatherman but we just roll the dice and look at three to four different maps and scenarios and try to come up with the best plan we can. ”

Jack Polchosky began offering the daily weather report voicemails in May 1989, right when he moved the business to its current location.

Even as the internet offers instant information at our fingertips, Jack Polchosky still attracts quite a few callers.

“On a weekend, [we will get] 500 to 1,000 calls,” Alex Polchosky said. “It’s ringing right now. I wish I had a dollar every time it rang, I'd be a millionaire. It benefits everybody. People from the Youngstown area and Pittsburgh area.”

News 5 spoke with several fishermen who admitted to calling the weather report on a consistent basis for the past 20 years.

“It’s really kind of comical cause I've had ladies walk in here and tell me ‘the first thing my husband does when he gets out of bed in the morning, grab the phone, a cup of coffee, run to the bathroom, and I know he’s calling you,’” Jack Polchosky chuckled. “I hear that story so many times.”

Because the phone rings almost consistently, Jack admits it can be tough trying to record a new voicemail.

We are still seeing a bunch of walleye and here comes an incoming call and everything I said is dead,” he said during one attempt.

But like his fishermen out on the water, Jack Polchosky keeps trying. Resilience runs through his blood like the line on a brand new pole.

“I’ve had issues with my health,” he explained. “I have Crohn’s disease. My first surgery with Crohn’s was when I was 17 years old, a senior in high school.”

In total, Jack Polchosky said he’s undergone four major surgeries over the years. Despite all that, he still carries a smile because a disease meant to bring him pain, pointed him toward purpose.

“That’s probably another reason why I got into this business,” he said. “It would really be tough for me to hold a job anywhere with Crohn’s. Being my own boss, I've been able to provide for myself and my family.”

To hear the Snug Harbor Bait & Tackle weather report, call 440-593-3755. But don’t be surprised if you get a busy signal.

“The phone never stops,” Jack Polchosky said. “Everyone wants to know why I have it off the hook, I don't have it off the hook. All you can do is keep trying, because it continuously rings and rings and rings. I have people calling year round. Even in the fall and winter and when the ice is on, they just call to see what's going on. I think they just got into a habit of calling and that’s what it boils down to.”