INWOOD, Iowa (KELO) — Temps are starting to warm, which means anglers may soon hit the water. With that comes finding the right bait to lure in that perfect fish. In this week’s Flashback Friday, we take you back to 1987 and show the vending machine that gave anglers bait at a Northwest Iowa gas station.
When customers pull into Dave Wallenburg’s service station in Inwood, Iowa, they can get more than just a tank full of gas and a bug-free windshield. They can also buy bait, live bait, by popping a few quarters into what could become the ultimate consumer convenience for fishing fans, a Vend-A-Bait machine.
Wallenburg and 2,400 other gas stations convenience store operators in 32 states, believe the idea will catch on. They’ve hooked up with a Vend-A-Bait company of Des Moines, Iowa, and paid from $1,800 to $3,800 each for the machines, in hopes of luring more traffic to their businesses.
“People will pull in and buy gas. Come for bait and pull up to the pumps and buy gas at the same time.”
“Many times, people come up when I’m filling the machine, and they’re real curious as to how you can keep the minnows alive in a machine. They don’t understand that. They think there’s a lake or something inside there.”
But there’s no mystery how they do it. Vend-A-Bait treats them with a laxative-like chemical, cleans them up, then puts them into a bag filled with pure oxygen.
The Vend-A-Bait machine represents a real revolution in automated bait-buying, but you still have to go out and catch a fish for yourself. Next thing you know, they’ll cross these things with a fishing video game that dispenses live trophy trout when you win.
For an extra 25 cents, maybe it’ll even come up with a fish story about the one that got away. Mark Ferree, KELOLAND News, Inwood, IA.