Unattended fishing gear an easy target for thieves

A thief or thieves made quick work of stealing expensive rods, reels and fishing tackle from two unattended boats along Mentzer Trail in Chisago Lakes Township July 18 and 20.

Chisago County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Keith Hoppe said a monetary estimate of how much was stolen hasn’t yet been ascertained, but he postulated the fishermen could have had quite a bit of money tied up in their now-missing equipment.

“Even Shad Raps cost about $6 apiece, and if you’re into muskie fishing, (lures) are more expensive than that,” Hoppe said. “If someone stole my tackle box, I’d be out more than $1,000.”

That $1,000 amount is an important number, Hoppe noted.

“Over $1,000 and it’s a felony,” he said. “It used to be $500, but they upped it recently.”

Insuring fishing equipment

Rob Sanvik, an agent with American Family Insurance in North Branch, said if fishing enthusiasts are concerned about their equipment being stolen, there is a relatively-inexpensive insurance policy that covers angling gear.

He said watercraft owners could purchase boat policies and add “additional equipment” and “boating accessories” categories to cover fishing tackle, rods, reels and other items, like trolling motors.

Typically, he said the insurance is under $100 a year, but that price is dependent upon the value of the boat and equipment insured.

Sanvik also noted most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover boats or fishing equipment.

Hoppe said the best way to protect expensive fishing equipment is to remove it from the boat at night, even if an angler thinks his or her home or cabin is in a relatively crime-free area.

“I just say to lock everything up,” he said.

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