“Welcome to Toledo Bend” helped shape this historic bait stand
In the late 1980s, a store outside Zwolle was first known as the only place at the time to buy an adult beverage in that region. But as the draw of fishing at Toledo Bend drew stronger, things changed.
J&J One Stop quickly became known as the go-to place to buy something to whet the appetite of crappie, bream and catfish at the nearby Reservoir that was teeming with fish. And it is still to this day the go-to place for many old-timers as well as newcomers who travel the roads to test the waters at Toledo Bend.
The long, low-profile storefront bears a sign faded by time and weather: J & J One Stop in large, red letters, with smaller red letters spelling out the words: Beer – Liquor – Wine – Groceries. In the lower right corner of a long, vertical window on the right is a sign with big, red block letters: Live Bait & Tackle.
Two windows away is a multi-colored sign reading: “Toledo Bend Visitors Welcome Here.”
Cashier Erika Baker’s great-grandmother, the late Ruby Ohler, and Baker’s grandmother, Charlene “Charlie” Baker, opened the store in 1987. Charlene Baker’s son, Steven Baker, will be taking over the store next year as “Charlie” celebrates her 75th birthday.
J & J One Stop evolved into a bait-based store serving the many travelers who fish Toledo Bend with fishing tackle for bass, bream and crappie available, as well as nightcrawlers, minnows, crickets, frozen bait, etc.
During the “busy season,” J & J sells 20 pounds or more of shiners daily, Baker said. Avid crappie fishermen like Ed Roberts, a long-time customer, bought a bag of shiners while she was talking about the bait shop. He smiled on the way out after hearing the customary “Have a good day!” from Baker.
Retired USFL and NFL quarterback Bobby “The Cajun Cannon” Hebert was a “steadfast,” regular customer many years at J & J One Stop, according to Baker, on his way to his nearby camp overlooking LaNan Creek.
“I just like being here and serving our customers,” she said. “They’re the people who make this lake thrive. Without them we would barely be a spot on the lake.”
Toledo Bend is a huge lake and there are many other popular true “bait shops” around it. One of Toledo Bend’s increasingly popular bait shops is Tale Chasers in Zwolle, located on 24142 LA-191, which opened three years ago and sells live and artificial baits and features a deli offering pizzas, po-boys, corndogs and more.
A mainstay on the lake is Toledo Town and Tackle in Many, established in 1981. It’s a tackle shop, gas station, and deli. Another bait shop that has been taking care of customers down around the dam area is Jeane Tackle Guide Service in Evans, 122 Emmitt Jeane Road. And there’s also Curtis Grocery in Toro, located at the intersection of Hwy 473 and Hwy 191, selling fish baits and feeding hungry customers — as their logo says, “Where Collards meet crawfish.”