Business Buzz: Bounty Hunters Custom Baits

Published: May 31, 2019 at 06:30 am


Business name: Bounty Hunters Custom Baits

Address: 129 South Main Street

Owner: T.J. DeFelice

Manager: Eric Lockwood

Background: “We’re fishermen who started a business,” said owner T.J. DeFelice and manager Eric Lockwood almost in unison when asked during a recent visit to newly opened Bounty Hunters Custom Baits, a bait and fishing supply store at 129 South Main Street. Mr DeFelice says he has been fishing since he was able to walk and hold onto a fishing pole. During and after his 20 years as a US Marine and Special Ops service member, he has been competing across the country in fishing tournaments — particularly for bass. While tournament fishing in the Carolinas, he began creating custom tackle and has developed some of the most sought after custom hand-poured and hand-tied baits by top national and international competitors and fishing enthusiasts. Both Mr DeFelice and Mr Lockwood said they both live in Sandy Hook, and it was important for them to start their first retail business in their home town, although Mr DeFelice also operates a fishing guide service based at Candlewood Lake (

Business focus: Bounty Hunters Custom Baits, which was formerly and antiques and collectibles business, has been cleared and is still being stocked with tackle, equipment, and merchandise to supplement the nationally known custom lures, jigs, and other “baits” that are meticulously designed and created by the store’s owner. Under Mr DeFelice’s guidance, Mr Lockwood has learned how to design and create their custom baits as well.

“So may tournament guys and fishermen wanted our baits that we eventually outgrew the basement and decided to open a shop,” Mr Lockwood said. “We found this store, and the rest is history.”

“We carve our own baits out of woods and wax to make our custom molds, and we custom pour your plastic baits in four or five colors at a time,” Mr DeFelice added. “Tournament guys come to us all the time to create custom designs that can combine two, three, or more features of other lures they think will work better if combined in to one lure.” The shop serves occasional anglers and weekend fishermen as well, with trout river baits, Rooster Tails, trout niblets, night crawlers, hand tied flies, and baits, tackle, line, and many other accessories.

Promotions / Events: The Bounty Hunters Custom Baits owners are working on forming a Newtown High School Bass Fishing Team beginning next school year. And as superfans of Night Hawks Football, the store owners are donating 50 cents from every weekend store purchase or order to the NHS football team. Mr DeFelice is also available to advise anglers about the best way to fish dozens of lakes, streams, ponds, and rivers across the region and can arrange or advise on fishing guide services locally or across the country.

Hours: Monday-Friday, 6 am to 6 pm; Saturdays, 5 am to 5 pm; and Sundays, 6 am to 3 pm


E-mail: (directly through website):

Social Media:

Phone/Reservations: 910-381-8304

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