Moe’s Bait and Tackle Shop – A Rather Unusual Sight in Jersey City Heights – Is Preparing to Close After 50 Years

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Moe’s Bait and Tackle, 10 South Street, The Heights, Jersey City. Moe’s is selling the property, fishing gear, and even an old sled. Photo by Caren Lissner/Jersey Digs.

People are often surprised to come upon Moe’s Bait and Tackle Shop when walking on Palisade Avenue near the light rail elevator in The Heights neighborhood of Jersey City — since a store that sells bait, fishing gear, and even fishing magazines seems a little out of place among the more urban landscape.

“I’ve seen the Moe’s Bait and Tackle sign for the past few years while riding past on the bus but thought it was either closed or a joke,” wrote a young woman on Yelp in 2014. “Nope, this place is legit! Need bait? Moe got you. Need tackle, Moe got you!”


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A fish story — Moe’s Bait and Tackle Shop in Jersey City Heights has sold supplies for almost 50 years. Photo by Caren Lissner/Jersey Digs.

Now, after anchoring a spot near the corner of Palisade and South Street for almost 50 years, owner Mauro Mazzilli, 72, says he is close to completing a sale of the land and closing up shop.

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Moe sells weights, tackles, bait, fishing magazines, and more at the shop, but not for much longer. Photo by Caren Lissner/Jersey Digs.

“It’s time,” he said Friday. “I want to retire while I still have some bounce in my step.”


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Moe sells bait, gear, and even fishing magazines at the Jersey City Heights shop. Photo by Caren Lissner/Jersey Digs.

A Zillow listing shows his three buildings up for sale for $2.3 million. He said he has “three irons in the fire” and will see which one of them plays out.

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After 50 years, Mauro Mazzilli of Moe’s Bait and Tackle Shop in Jersey City Heights has decided it’s time to fish or cut bait. He’s selling his property and closing the store. Photo by Caren Lissner/Jersey Digs.

Before his father Nick started the business around 1970, he said, the spot was Palisade Casket Company and sold wooden caskets.

“I kid around sometimes,” he said, “and I say, ‘South Street was a dirt road when I started.’”

The neighborhood sits atop the Palisade hills overlooking Hoboken. Mazzilli’s shop is a five-block walk from the elevator down to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and three blocks from the Union City border.

Mazzilli said his family has a house in Pennsylvania on a lake, and he will retire there (to fish). He will also spend time in Florida (fishing).

“It’s getting too cold to fish here now,” he said.

Typically, Mazzilli sits behind a desk in his driveway during the day, greeting customers. Behind him is a garage full of supplies, including weights that start at under two dollars, fishing magazines, and a cooler full of bait.

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Mauro Mazzilli, 72, has been greeting customers for decades from behind this desk at Moe’s Bait and Tackle in Jersey City Heights, but he’s decided to retire. Photo by Caren Lissner/Jersey Digs.

He said he still gets a steady stream (so to speak) of customers, and that some of them fish in the Hudson River. A webpage for the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association quotes him as saying that the north side of the pier at the Chart House restaurant in Weehawken is a good location.

“Right now the striper run is pretty good,” he said. (He means striped bass, for the uninitiated.) He said he doesn’t recommend eating the blackfish from the Hudson.

He said he doesn’t mind the changes in his neighborhood. “It’s all for the better,” he said. “This was always a decent neighborhood.”

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The handmade signs have caused some passers-by to think Moe’s Bait and Tackle shop in Jersey City Heights is closed, but it’s still open — at least, for a little while longer. The owner’s three lots on South Street and Palisade Avenue are up for sale for $2.3 million. Photo by Caren Lissner/Jersey Digs.

He said fishing is a good antidote to stress.

“Whatever problems you have, they’re gone,” he said. “It’s like therapy. It’s like that for a lot of people, not just myself. It gets you out of your head.”

He said that depending on the sale of the property, he will close for good anytime from a few weeks from now to some time next year.

Moe’s Bait and Tackle is located at 10 South Street. Look for the old-fashioned sign on the corner of Palisade and South Street.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Best wishes to Moe and his family upon his retirement. He should keep in mind that upon selling the properties he should do a 1031/DST exchange so as not to needlessly pay exorbitant taxes to the government.

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