What is arguably the longest continuous business enterprise on the Edmonds waterfront has called it quits. Yet unless you have been a saltwater fisherman sometime during the last 53 years, you may never have heard of it.
According to the Port of Edmonds, Bud Christianson, owner and founder of Bud’s Bait, has been a marina tenant for over a half century. The original Bud’s Bait goes back to 1964, just two years after Senator Henry M. Jackson cut the ribbon opening the first part of today’s marina, what we now call the south marina.
At the time, the waterfront was a hodgepodge of crumbling shingle mills, boathouses and an industrial building or two. Out near the end of one of the early uncovered docks was what was quite literally a shack — a bait shack. To the young owner, however, it was a way to be near to the life he loved, and he was also hopeful it would be a way to make a living. Well, it worked.
A few years later — in 1969 — the port expanded to its current size with the construction of the north marina. As time progressed and the port flourished the commissioners decided to provide Bud with new and larger quarters nearer the middle of the marina. But Mother Nature had other ideas.
In December 1996, before the new Bud’s Bait float could be constructed, a 100-year storm dumped some 3 feet of heavy snow on the marina and all but one of the covered docks collapsed from the weight. Three hundred boats were sunk and hundreds more were damaged. The plans for a new Bud’s Bait facility all but vanished from the project list.
Remarkably, 14 months later, the marina was completely rebuilt and the new Bud’s Bait float was finally in place adjacent to the boat launcher. Bud has operated it continuously ever since, but as of Jan. 31, Bud’s Bait is officially out of business and Christianson begins a new life as a retiree.
The port will be removing the facility and will use the space for additional high-demand boat moorage. The marina will not be without a place for fishermen to get ice and bait, however. According to Port Executive Director Bob McChesney, All Season Charters, located on the ground level of the building housing Arnie’s Restaurant, will have both available.
“The port wishes Bud the very best in his retirement,” McChesney said. “His ongoing contribution to the port and its users has been exceptional. I know that his many customers over the years will miss him and we will too. Thanks Bud, and have a happy retirement.”
— Courtesy Port of Edmonds