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20 Years ago, way back in 1996, CharkBait became an Internet destination.  I’d been an early computer type guy, incorporating use of a small primitive home computer for use in business, keeping things straight for my salesmen and manufacturers while engaged in business working for Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese firms in the consumer electronics field. When I moved from private business to education, the computers came with me and I made use of those skills both in the classroom and while pursuing my masters and work on the doctorate degree. It was while working in education that I came up with CharkBait, the nickname Chark having been given me by an old buddy who I’d worked with (and who also helped me out once I started my business). Natural enough to start a fishing website as CharkBait! Meant something to me and those who knew me. The real reason behind CharkBait’s start was a bit more devious. You see, once I became a private boater I came to a realization… FINDING FISH WASN’T EASY!  So, I put 2 + 2 together and came up with an idea – NETWORK with other private boaters and figure out where to head out with a greater degree of success. So, CharkBait began as a private boater website, a destination for folks to share their fishing stories and trip reports. While we started up at the tail end of ’96, 1997 was really beginning for CharkBait.

During those early years, I’d go out on my own meager boat and post trip reports. On my time off from work I’d monitor radio traffic, communicate with boaters while they were on the water. CharkBait became an Internet destination for folks sharing their trip reports and it proved helpful – I certainly learned a lot from others, fishing success improved, and I didn’t waste so much fuel locating areas worth prospecting.  I still have many friends from those early days, and that’s very gratifying.  I met a lot of wonderful folks, and I got invited to fish from much better boats and more experienced anglers.  We got quite a bump in traffic to CharkBait when we were written up by the L.A. Times and Orange County Register, visitors increased to the CharkBait website (first hosted on…AOL). I’d always wanted to start a business, but lacked confidence as well as resources. I’d had some opportunities, but lacked confidence to strike out on my own. Heck, I certainly lacked the money to start a business, but timing can compensate for many other shortcomings. I was pretty good on the ‘puter, had a good business background, why not figure a way to start a business. After all, the Internet at that time put almost everyone on equal footing. I liked to say back then that when it comes to the Internet, I’m bigger than Bass Pro Shops…because I was already on-line, and no one else was in terms of promoting saltwater fishing. So, in 1998 CharkBait became a real business.  I cashed in some IRA’s, used credit cards to help fund inventory (a very stupid move, but I’d always thought that retailers should actually hold inventory – that was unlike a lot of ‘net based retailers then and even now). At first I worked out of my home, before and after my “day job.”  In 1999 I got hold of a small warehouse space behind a shopping center. I’d open that barn up one day each month. Folks drove from San Diego to Santa Barbara to visit my barn and grab gear.  Within a year’s time I was opening up the barn each weekend. (pictured the Rube and Mark at our first Fred Hall Show in 1999 - Rube worked with me in a job after college, helped out some more once I started the business. Also served as best man a decade later when I finally got married. The old barn pictured right - I'd open up once a month for folks, then twice a month, then every weekend...).

There had been a space in the shopping center which had been vacant for years – no one could make a go of such a small shop in such a crappy location. But, CharkBait had some loyal friends & clients who looked as us as a destination worth traveling to visit. Those guys couldn’t care less about the space, they appreciated what I was trying to accomplish, knew that we offered very good deals based upon our efficiency of operation.  So, little CharkBait grew. In 2001 I grabbed that space, and we’re still working out of that small storefront. But, now we have many times more warehouse space as well as a shop in San Diego, our second store opened in 2009. Back to 2001, I needed some help to pull off the shop. Again, friends helped out big time. There was a gal I knew from my stint working at a Jr. High who was not a good match for teaching, but was a hard worker and hire-able. She could cover the phones and invoicing, didn’t have to know fishing to contribute to the business in her role. Another fishing friend volunteered to help cover the shop while I was at work. And, I began to talk a fishing friend, Tom Harman into joining CharkBait. So, I had a three people who could live on minimum wage while I tried to build up our sales volume…and I still had my day job, so I could pay them from my wages if worse came to worse (I wasn’t married, didn’t need much beyond gas, grub and darg food)...  . (Picture from 2005 Fred Hall Show with Beth, Matt, Mike and Tom)

That’s how I began CharkBait, not much to work with other than debt and sweat. But, we had the good will of a lot of folks.  There are a few more chapters to our book, but this is the background from which we came. We didn’t go into business with anyone’s deep pockets to help, we all worked hard, I saved, leveraged, risked all that I had to build a business from scratch. That’s something many people do, though perhaps we’ve had a bit more success than others who have tried. Timing does help, as does persistence, and having friends to assist. (pictured right, our San Diego shop - opened 2009).

 

Thru the years, folks visiting CharkBait have shared tales with us, as I've shared personal milestones with our on-line friends. When my dad passed away, one of our early supporters helped me understand how the hospice service operates (nothing short of incredible, wonderful people and family assistance) and guidance. When first meeting and later courting my future wife in 2005, those travels (to Crimea) were shared. And, when she and my son Sergey arrived here, a welcoming party was held with CB friends. When I finally got married, that too was shared as was the birth of our son Mike (a Pic of the Week). CharkBait has been a bit different than most businesses I'll suggest, the connection with clients is personal.  
(pictured left, first trip with wife Nadiya and son Sergey 2005. Picture right, wife with #1 and #2 sons - 2008) 

Great Stuff<
Mark Smith

p.s. It should be noted that back in 1996 I did in fact have hair! Perhaps not as much as was the case in the '70's, but it did exist in contrast to the current state. This may indeed add some measure of fact to the notion that grass does not grow on a busy street...or perhaps that's one more cost associated with owning a small business in the late great state of California.



Any questions?
Please e-mail us, click on the image-button link below or give us a call:

Internet
Sales & Service

Product Information,
Order Processing
& Shipping


Office Hours:
8AM-4PM
Monday-Friday

(office closed on major holidays and weekends)

Staff: Mark, Leeana,  Nadiya, Ryan & Tom

Phone Toll Free
1-877-424-2751
1-714-840-4500
Mailing Address:
CharkBait Sportfishing
16561 Bolsa Chica St. #105
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

If you are trying to reach us after 5pm weekdays or weekends, our Huntington Beach shop staff can assist. *
1-800-823-4243*
 

Please note: We're closed major holidays, both our offices and our shops.
New Years, Independence Day,  Thanksgiving & Christmas. We reserve the right to take off early if there's a great local bite...

On-Line Operations, Policies, Practices & Shipping

ONLINE SALES & SERVICE CONTACTS
Click on one of the characters below to email us.

Retail Shops

Shop Hours Change September.
Our stores will be closed Sundays and Mondays beginning 9/1.
Internet Sales & Service is open  Monday-Friday


Huntington Beach
Chark
Shop
Hours
Tuesday thru Friday
10AM-6PM
 Saturday
10AM-5PM
Closed Sunday & Monday

Huntington National
Shopping Center
16561 Bolsa Chica St. #105
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
1-714-846-6452

Staff: 
Beta
Manager  ,
Lawrence & Sergey
Store Map
Tour our shop
click link above
----------------
San Diego
CharkShop
Hours
Tuesday - Friday
10AM-6PM
Saturday
9AM-5PM
Closed Sunday & Monday

Midway Village
Shopping Center

3166 Midway Dr. #101
San Diego, CA 92110
1-619-224-1112

Staff: Manager
Eric Prather Mgr.,
 Jeff, Justin &
and for a limited time engagement
Megan is Back
 for the summer!
Store Map
Tour our shop
click link above

Product Info&Sales

Mark
Product Advice
& Technical Assistance

(Owner/Operator)
Mon-Fri

Offshore Private Boating & Long Range
Private
Boating


Beta
Local Fishing
Assistance


Inshore, Surf & Offshore  Private Boating
Customer Support

Tom
Order
Expediting & Technical Assistance

(Warehouse  Manager)

Inshore & Long Range
Customer
Support


Ryan

Shipping & Tracking
(Shipping Dept.)
Mon-Fri

Trout & Bass... knows nada about saltwater fishing
...but we'll work
on that...
Customer
Support

Leeana

Invoicing
& Billing Questions

Office Manager
Mon-Fri

Doesn't fish, nor play Candy Crush or Angry Birds...and if you ask if she's one of the models on our site you stand a good chance of being double billed.

skype us @ CharkBait-USA 

Skypen wir. Senden Sie uns ein eMail mit Ihren Kontaktinformationen und zur zeitlichen Planung der Kontaktaufnahme.

Skype мы. Пошлите электронную почту для данных по контакта и к контакту план-графика.

Skype nous.
La Marque de Courrier électronique pour notre compte appelle et programmer le temps.

Skype εμείς. Στείλετε το ηλεκτρονικό ταχυδρομείο για τα στοιχεία επαφής και στην επαφή προγράμματος.

Skype noi. Trasmetta il email per informazioni di contatto ed al contatto di programma.

Skype私達。連絡先情報のためのそしてスケジュールの接触への電子メールを送りなさい。

Skype nosotros. Envíe el email para la información de contacto y al contacto del horario.


Orders over $150 are shipped FREE!* Orders less than $150 are billed for shipping. Upon placing your order you'll receive an immediate confirmation via email. You are not billed at that time, the confirming email may not reflect oversize or overweight charges or other issues requiring direct contact. We process orders manually, preferring to have a human actually check things over and contact you should there be questions. Within 24 hours of placing your order you will receive a follow-up email confirmation and final  invoice (pdf doc) reflecting your total charges (Monday-Friday). You are not billed until we actually send you your final invoice.  Orders shipped to CA addresses will have California Sales Taxes applied, out of state orders are tax free. During the ordering process you can select expedited shipping if required. (Within the USA we usually ship via Federal Express ground. International, and oversize/weight items will be billed for shipping and you will be sent an emailed invoice reflecting total charges prior to actual billing. We will not ship without you having had a chance to review the invoice). Hawaii and Alaska shipping will be accomplished using USPS Priority service, and our standard shipping cost policy will apply unless the item ordered does not fit in their standard size boxes. If additional shipping fees are required we will contact you.)

Visit us on our YouTube channel: CharkBaitUSA

As a means to reduce spam, we change the above incoming email addresses regularly. 
Please don't bother adding them to your address book.  
We do apologize for any inconvenience this policy creates. But, it's the only way we've found to post an email address on-line and not receive so many solicitations from some family member of a deceased "Nigerian" leader trying to move great sums of  $ out of the country...


Thanks for visiting and supporting...
CharkBait! Internet Sportfishing

 

CharkBait is a member of the American Sportfishing Association - your voice for the preservation of our fishing rights.

City of Huntington Beach Business License: A179880, A207574

All rights reserved © 1996-2016
All rights reserved: All Original Images and Creative Content are the copyrighted property of CharkBait/Mark Smith.
The CharkBait name, logos and other content of this website are trademarked
, as well, the names of our proprietary lures and travel rods are tradmarked and our exclusive use is reserved by us. These registered
names include: Toro Tamer, Surf Explorer, Offshore Explorer, Inshore Explorer and of course CharkBait!

Infringement upon our legal rights to exclusivity of use will be vigorously prosecuted. That's a promise.


CharkBait makes no guarantee on merchandise, product safety or suitability beyond those claims offered by the respective manufacturers. We only offer products that we believe in. CharkBait maintains a significant inventory of the products we represent, that saves shipping time for our clients, and proves our belief in the products we represent. We stock the gear we sell, we don't depend upon a third party to handle your order.  Your order with CharkBait is given personal attention. 

We do not provide any personal information regarding our visitors and clients to anyone. That's our privacy policy. We do have banner advertising on many pages.  We are the host for that service, the ads reside on our server. We do utilize "cookies" in order to increase user friendliness and functionality of this site. Cookies are required for building your "shopping cart." Bottom line, CharkBait respects our visitors and clients. 

We maintain the site daily, but please don't hold us liable for tyyppooographical errors or price changes which are beyond our control.  All transactions are confirmed prior to shipment.  All opinions expressed are those of the author, you can take 'em or leave 'em.  Shoes and shirts are not required for service. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.  I think that about covers it.