Bait and Tackle of Apollo Beach recently expanded for the second time, offering even more products, from live bait to marine equipment.

Since 2016, JC Kruczewski has been helping the SouthShore boating community with his store, Bait and Tackle of Apollo Beach. Now, with a recent second expansion, the business offers even more, from live bait to marine equipment.

When Kruczewski first opened the doors to the store, it was 800 sq. ft. and only offered bait and tackle. The new expansion to 2,800 sq. ft. gives it the ability to offer much more.

“I was born and raised here in Florida,” said Kruczewski. “I moved to Georgia for 20 years and returned to my roots with a dream of opening a bait shop somewhere in SouthShore. There were no bait shops in Apollo Beach and, being a boating community, it was a perfect place to set up shop.”

The list of marine products offered in the store includes trolling motors, dock lines, boat plugs, safety equipment, life preservers, marine oil, electrical equipment, trailer equipment, spare tires, hubs, anchors, coolers, plumbing and gas tanks.

“If I don’t have it, I can generally have it to you the next day, as long as it is an item in stock,” said Kruczewski, who also partners with other local businesses, including brands like Salt Devil, Bullboy Shirts, Topless Hooker and Big Fish, to offer apparel for men, women and children from shirts to hats.

“We are a local small business that partners with other local businesses for the good of the community,” he said. “We are knowledgeable of the waters thanks to the partnerships with our local boat captains. They know the best places to fish and where to take family and friends on an excursion of Florida’s beautiful waterways.”

Community engagement is also encouraged with a Catch of the Month contest where residents can email a picture of their best catch to jckruczewski@gmail.com for a chance to be posted on Facebook. The best catch of the month is also featured in the Osprey Observer and is rewarded a bait bucket and two dozen shrimp.

“With the support of the community, my little bait shop dream has come true,” said Kruczewski. “We have expanded twice to accommodate the needs of the local fishermen and boaters. If it weren’t for these folks, we wouldn’t be getting ready to celebrate our 5th anniversary in this amazing community.”

The store is located at 6040 N. U.S. 41 in Apollo Beach and can be reached at 296-7735.

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.