Dave Henault has left us.
For the winter and for Southeast Asia.
Dave’s the owner of Ocean State Tackle in Providence, a very well known figure in the fishing community and a total character. This winter, he’ll be riding his bicycle across three countries for exercise, pure enjoyment and to raise money for Pan Can, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. While we shovel, drive like we’ve never seen snow before and change out treble hooks for singles, Dave will be riding for a cause and we will follow him through this epic adventure.
Ocean State Tackle is an iconic castle on the corners of Branch Avenue and Charles Street that opens long before most have even made the coffee, let alone had one. He deals in rods, reels and lures but Dave excels at offering tackle made by local companies and selling fresh bait. Look for the giant squid and Buddha on the second floor exterior. Both are nods to his business and his faith.
Tibetan prayer flags fly above the door and a giant striper painted on the wood siding greets everyone. It’s not unusual to see Dave greeting customers, calling the police for the occasional car wreck or telling a new customer exactly what they need for a new rod and reel, right to the model numbers. The facade is a classic and has character, just like David.
To get all the details, we sat down with Dave and Captain Rene Letorneau of On The Rocks Charters at the Gourmet House on Providence’s Hope Street.
My arrival was a few minutes tardy; it’s always tricky and time consuming to pack properly for a trip north of Tower Hill. In a nod to his prior travels to and appreciation of southeast Asia, Dave had already ordered food for the table. If you haven’t enjoyed a tall plate of lort noodles from Gourmet House, it’s worth sneaking your car into the neighboring CVS lot when street parking is tight. They are small rice noodles bearing striking resemblance to three inch Slug-Go Albino Shads, and typically are stir-fried with green onions, bean sprouts and Chinese broccoli. They are dynamite, as was everything we ate while Dave explained his travels and how the ultra hip urbanites next to us ordering Crab Rangoon, drive him nuts. “No one over there eats that stuff,” he said, casting a disparaging look at table four.