Holiday gift guide 2013

A good place to hunt for gifts

By From page HGG5 | November 22, 2013

Cupid would be well served to stock his quiver with arrows from Mosquito Creek Outfitters in Placerville, if Apple Hill residents Paul and Mei Lin Martini are any indication.

“I gave Mei Lin a compound bow from Mosquito Creek one Christmas,” said Paul, adding that his wife was raised in Japan and had loved using a longbow while in school there. “I’ve been going there since they opened three or four years ago and I really appreciate the variety of fishing, hunting and archery gear they have available.”

The huge outdoor sporting goods store has 5,000 square feet of space, situated at the corner of Mosquito Road and Broadway, and it’s stuffed with virtually all the gear a lover of the outdoors would require.

And then some.

“Don (Rood), the owner, has fishing stuff that no one else carries,” Martini, 64, said. “They have some hand-made lures that work really well in almost all the good fishing spots in the area.”

Like any good fisherman, Martini wouldn’t reveal the exact location of his favorite fishing holes but he said the lures and flies he’s picked up from Mosquito Creek Outfitters have managed to coax many a trout onto his line in El Dorado and Amador counties, and even beyond.

The Mt. Aukum-raised Martini, who now owns Bodhaine Ranch in Apple Hill, added that his 51-year-old wife likes to shop at Mosquito Creek as well, giving her a break from “making all those homemade pies” that are a specialty of the popular Camino ranch.

“She’ll probably be shopping there for Christmas this year,” Paul added. “She knows what I want — a new, fairly expensive gun and she’s given me the OK on that.”

Mei Ling might have a specific firearm in mind for underneath the tree this year, as long as her eye isn’t distracted by the impressive inventory of sidearms and long guns available at Mosquito Creek Outfitters.

The store can procure the right gun for the right customer from a stock of some $3 million worth of guns, in store and online, according to store floor manager Brittney Houghton.

“Since we opened about four years ago, we have doubled the amount of products available here,” said the 21-year-old Houghton, who has worked at Mosquito Creek Outfitters since the beginning. The store is owned by Don Rood and his wife, Connie, lovers of the outdoors who were able to see their longtime dream come to life.

Employee Houghton said in addition to the store’s envious inventory, each holiday season they put together gift baskets for the sportsman or woman, such as archery kits that include sights and stabilizers and fishing outfits sure to please anglers of any fishy pursuits, be it fresh or salt water, lure, bait or fly.

John Budd, who lives in Sly Park smack in the heart of the wilderness that embraces El Dorado County, has been a loyal customer of Mosquito Creek Outfitters since the store opened.

“It’s a great gun store,” said Budd, 63. “I don’t go anywhere else anymore. I’ve purchased seven or eight guns there, at a very good price and from very knowledgeable, friendly people.

“If they don’t have an answer about a gun or something else you’re interested in when it comes to sporting goods, they will find it, or at least point you in the right direction,” he added. “They’re great to talk to, and sometimes I go in there even when I’m not purchasing something, just to chat. They’ve got one of the best gunsmiths around.”

Budd said he has recommended Mosquito Creek Outfitters to several friends and he added that if the staff at the outdoors store doesn’t think a particular purchase is right for the customer, they will say so, a fact he appreciates.

“I’ve known them to pass up a sale when someone wanted to purchase a firearm that was not the right fit for them,” said Budd. “They’ll make sure it’s right for the customer.”

Word of mouth, obviously, has accounted for the store’s success, even though Mosquito Creek Outfitters opened up it the pit of a plunging economy, owner Don Rood pointed out.

“I think it helps that we have good visibility from Highway 50,” he said. “We’ve had customers from Switzerland and Germany, and a lot of people on their way to Tahoe stop by to check us out. Even in the current economy, and we started when it bottomed out, we are seeing a 35 percent growth each year.”

Checking out Mosquito Creek Outfitters can be a tad startling at first, as customers are greeted by an African lion flanked by a Western Bongo antelope, another creature of the Dark Continent. The beasts were bagged by local hunter Cass Wilson, and the taxidermy work is impressively realistic. The store has other animals throughout, and children and adults alike find themselves mesmerized at the wonders of nature up so close. Be sure not to miss the rhinoceros, another of Cass’ contributions.

Cross that archer, hunter, angler and outdoors clothing lover off your list by making a trip to Mosquito Creek Outfitters, 3000 Mosquito Road in Placerville. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday. For more information call 530-621-4500.

Pat Lakey

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