John Sagal live bait vending

John Sagal, owner of J and J Bait, LLC, in Frostburg, shows one of two live bait vending machines he owns and operates. One is at the bait shop and the other in Paw Paw, West Virginia.

FROSTBURG — You wake up in the middle of the night with a sudden urge or need to go fishing and act upon that impulse, knowing there is an hour or more drive to your favorite stream or lake.

You pack up and start out and then it dawns on you. You have no bait.

Two live bait vending machines owned and operated by J and J Bait, LLC (240-727-1932), can alleviate that immediate problem.

One of those machines, according to owner John Sagal, is at the bait shop at 75 South Grant St., Frostburg. It has been active for only a couple days.

“The other is in Paw Paw (West Virginia) and it will open (Wednesday),” Sagal said during a phone conversation.

The Paw Paw machine is at the former Ellie’s Ice Cream at 251 Henry W. Miller Way, on the left, a couple hundred yards after entering West Virginia from Maryland.

“The machines have nightcrawlers, minnows, wax worms, meal worms, maggots and tackle such as hooks, bobbers, lines, sinkers and things like PowerBait and salmon eggs,” Sagal said.

Customers can use cash or credit cards.

A dozen nightcrawlers cost $3.50 and a dozen minnows go for $3.

Sagal said the fathead minnows are small- to medium-sized. “About right for trout fishing,” he said. 

“Nightcrawlers will stay fresh for six or seven months when refrigerated, but if they are there that long then business isn’t very good,” Sagal said. 

Although the minnows will stay alive and active for 72 days, Sagal said new ones will be swapped into the machines weekly.

The machines are purchased from Live Bait Vending of Morgantown, Pennsylvania. lists locations of the machines. Many are in Pennsylvania, but none relatively close to Cumberland. There are two other Maryland locations, Annapolis and Cambridge, and two other West Virginia locations, Horner and Grafton.

“We’ve already had some customers at the Frostburg machine and it has been open just two days,” Sagal said, adding that it and the machine in Paw Paw will be open 24/7/365.



Mike Sawyers is a staff writer and the outdoor editor at Cumberland Times-News. Call/text him at 304-639-4277, email and follow him on Twitter.

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