Causeway Sporting Goods
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History

Causeway Sporting Goods has been providing fishermen with all of their fishing needs for almost 60 years. This business was made possible by Dan Galbincea, a World War II veteran, dedicated angler and legendary lure inventor.

Growing Up

Dan Galbincea grew up close to the Mahoning River in a manufacturing town called Liberty, Ohio. He developed a love for fishing at a young age, which carried on with him throughout his life. In 1936, when he was only fourteen, he would wake up at 4 o'clock in the morning and fish in the Mahoning River for carp with dough balls that he made from scratch.

At eighteen years old, Dan served the United States in World War II in the 17th Airborne division. When he returned from the war, he began work at Mullin's manufacturing as an arc welder in his hometown. As a side job, Dan would seine for minnows in the river and then sell the bait to local bait shops for extra cash.

A hometown woman, Helen Kachenko, caught his eye and he told his friends, "that is the girl I am going to marry". Sure enough, on June 21, 1947 Dan wed the love of his life and over the years had five children. The children's names are Janice, Dianne, Linda, Cathy, and Dan III.

Starting a Business

On a Sunday drive through Mecca one day with the family, Dan came across a newly completed Mosquito Creek Lake. While driving across the causeway, he saw cars parked and many fishermen casting from the shoreline and thought that would be a perfect place for a bait store. Causeway Sporting Goods It was from there that Dan turned his hobby into a business and truly enjoyed what he was doing. He gave the owner of the land $1,200 for a little more than an acre of swamp. Dan's boss at Mullin's was in disbelief at his decision to quit his job as a welder and provide for five children by selling worms and minnows.

In 1953, Dan and Helen opened their own bait and tackle store what is known as Causeway Sporting Goods. The Causeway sport shop was not only a store that sold fishing supplies, but it was also home to Dan, Helen, and the five children for many years. The bait store remained open 365 days a year, even in the winter months. During the winter season, Dan provided ice fisherman as well as bought and sold fur. He was a fur buyer for 25 years to make money during the cold "off" season for fishing.

Inventing a Legendary Lure

While Dan and Helen were running the business, Dan also managed to make trips to Lake Erie and learn the ways of walleye fishing. At the time in Lake Erie, fishermen were using a standard type of spinning lure. Dan thought of a way to improve the spinner by adding a weight-forward feature. The weight gave the lure a very realistic "swimming" motion and when it was tipped with a juicy nightcrawler it brought in the walleye time after time. In 1956, he called his new lure "Old Reliable". He would hand out his hand-made lures to his favorite customers to try out as he continuously tried to improve on the lure.

To perfect his lure invention, Dan would reel it through the minnow tank at the Causeway Sport Shop and continued to shape the lure until he liked the result. After many trial and errors, he finally was satisfied with the invention and in 1960 began to manufacture it and called it "Erie Dearie". To his surprise, the lure gained popularity in Lake Erie and was the only lure that seemed to bring in remarkable sized walleye.

Becoming a Captain

Dan decided to share his knowledge about fishing and start a Charter boat on Lake Erie. This also gave him an opportunity to teach fishermen how to use the Erie Dearie and also gave him an excuse to fish. In the late 1970's, Dan bought a house in Port Clinton and would stay there during the summer months to fish. While Dan was away, Helen would stay at home and run the bait store. 

Helen was a big part of the success of the business as she would take care of five children and manage the bait store and the Erie Dearie Company.

Dan used to bring coolers of walleye home from his trips and dumped them out on the sidewalks of the Causeway to attract fishermen to the store that were driving by. On Dan's charter boat he would take five or six fishermen at a time. Lake Erie at the time did not have a limit for walleye and the charter boats would literally catch hundreds of walleye per day.

In 1977, Captain Dan became a founder of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association. In 1984, Dan's professional team won their first fishing trophy and continued to win from there on out. During that year in 1984 Linda Finlaw, the daughter of Dan and Helen, took over the duties of running the Causeway bait store. Linda was now the manager of the store to allow for Dan to spend more of his time fishing and promoting at Lake Erie. Helen ran the Erie Dearie Company while Dan was gone. 1986 was the year that Dan won first place in the Pro-Am tournament with an all woman team, including two of his daughters, Janice Thomas and Dianne Trevena.

In 1994, Captain Dan Galbincea was inducted in to the Ohio Sportsmen Hall of Fame for his invention of the well known and used lure of Lake Erie...The Erie Dearie. The lure made Lake Erie the walleye capitol of the world.

One Last Time

In early 1996, Captain Dan suffered a minor stroke. After recovering, he made a rare outing to Lake Erie in June with daughters, Janice and Dianne, their husbands, and captain Jack Bolduan, Dan's best friend. Lake Erie that day had perfect fishing conditions and Captain Dan was on the bow of his boat slamming the walleye with his very own lure. Pictures of his walleye captured the moment forever as Dan suffered a heart attack while on the lake. He always said he wanted to die on Lake Erie with a fishing pole in his hands. It was a fairy tale ending to a life great lived. Lake Erie was where he started his life long fishing career and where it ended. Although he has passed on, his legend carries on.

Honoring Captain Dan

In the spring of 1997, a member of the Inventure Place in Akron, Ohio asked the Galbincea family if they could acknowledge Captain Dan in an exhibit. The Inventure Place was recognizing local inventors throughout Northeastern Ohio and Dan Galbincea was featured for his pioneering skills.

His accomplishments were further recognized on July 2, 1998 in Port Clinton, Ohio. A memorial park was opened on the shores of Lake Erie to remember Captain Dan's contributions to walleye fishing and the revolutionary lure that made Lake Erie famous. He was also recognized for his career of over 30 years as a Charter boat Captain.

A memorial sign was made of the original Erie Dearie, which stands in the middle of the Erie Dearie Park to honor a man who made Lake Erie the Walleye Capitol of the World. His legend lives on through the lure he created over 50 years ago.

Causeway Sport Shop in 2011

They say that behind every great man is a woman, and Helen Galbincea proved that statement true. From the start of the store in 1953 , Helen had  dedicated to all of her husband's ventures. Linda Finlaw remains the manager after 27 years. At one point in time, almost every family member...aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren have worked for the businesses. It remains a family owned business. 

We would like to honor Helen Galbincea for her lifelong dedication to her family and the business.  Although she past away on September 15, 2006, she will never be forgotten.