AKRON -- Spring temperatures in January are threatening the livelihood of a man who survives when lakes are frozen.
Ron Slater runs the Portage Lakes Bait and Tackle Shop, but has hardly seen a customer all winter. His business in the winter months is dependent on ice fishing, but with no ice, there has been no fishing, and no business.
"This has been the most unpredictable year that ever was," Ron lamented. "Every time you think you're going to get a good ice, it's gone in a couple days."
The Portage Lakes would normally be covered by ice eight inches thick by this time of year, but when temperatures flirted with 60 degrees on Tuesday, the few remaining thin ice floes on the lakes melted quickly.
And as the ice melted, so did Slater's business. "This has been just unbelievable," he told WKYC, "where you're bringing in two dollars, or five dollars a day." Slater recently posted on Facebook that he had made a $1.50 sale, and now needed only $998.50 left to meet the month's rent.
"I've never seen nothing like this," the veteran fishing pro and bait shop owner observed. "I've talked to other tackle shops and they're all hurting."
Slater says with virtually no income he can't afford to buy supplies to restock his shelves for spring and summer.
"It's like we're at the mercy of Mother Nature in a business like this."