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Mike (Hack) Patterson, left, talks fishing on a rainy day with the new owner of Hack’s Tackle and Outfitters, Phil McGrath.

SARATOGA – Hack’s Tackle and Outfitters, a Saratoga fixture for 26 years, has been sold by its owners Mike and Connie Patterson.

This long-established guided fishing trip service and fly and tackle shop company changed hands the first week in March, with local fishing guide Phil McGrath becoming the new owner.

When asked why he sold, Mike, also known as Hack, said, “Forty years of rowing, (fishermen) is enough. Managing a drift boat or raft on this river is a young man’s game.”

Mike started his business “from scratch” in July of 1993 when there were already three other guide shops in Saratoga. All those shops are gone now. “I’ve been the only shop (in town) for the last four years.”

Mike, a Carbon County native, transferred from Rawlins High School to Saratoga High School at 16 for his junior year and never left.

When asked if he would leave the valley now that he is retired, Mike responded, “Why would I leave? There is not a better place to be.” “I’ll work some for Phil.”

McGrath quickly agreed.

“Hack will be an important part of the business going forward,” he said.

McGrath is a native of North Carolina and the owner of his own fish guiding service, Medicine Bow Anglers, for the past 15 years. He said he would combine the two businesses but keep the name Hack’s Tackle and Outfitters.

“So much good will and reputation goes with that name,” McGrath said.

The shop building and the land it sits on, along with the Hugus Restaurant next door are owned by Val Evans, but the location for the tackle shop and business will stay the same.

McGrath will continue to operate on the North Platte River and its tributaries ,including the Encampment River as Hack’s Outfitters has always done. “From 6-mile Gap and Prospect Creek on the Big Creek Ranch down by the State Line to the Miracle Mile below the Seminoe Reservoir,” said McGrath.

Hack’s Outfitters will continue to offer:

n Guided Float Fishing both full and half day trips

n Guided Wade or Lake Fishing both full and half day

n Guided Scenic Floats both full and half day

n Unguided Raft and Canoe Rentals by the day

n Vehicle Shuttle Service for parties that own their own boats

McGrath now owns six canoes with trailers, eight 12 &14-foot rafts and 7 drift boats with which to provide these services.

The fly and tackle shop will remain “much as before with a few more flies,” said McGrath. Considered a serious fly tier and custom lure maker, he will also display some of his own creations.

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