Bait and Tackle of Apollo Beach owner J.C. and ‘Papa’ Kruczewski have worked together to expand the shop over the last seven years.

By Melissa Hartmann

J.C. Kruczewski, owner of Bait and Tackle of Apollo Beach, is celebrating seven years in business.

“It seems like yesterday when we started with 750 sq. ft. space and only one small homemade tank for bait,” said Kruczewski,

Today, Bait and Tackle of Apollo Beach has expanded to over 3,000 square feet with 22 feet of fiberglass shrimp tanks with small, medium, large and jumbo shrimp for bait and a separate tank for pinfish bait. There are also three freezers full of frozen bait.

Kruczewski likes to make it easy for his customers when they’re trying to park their boats to shop for their fishing needs.

“Customers can call in their order the day before and pull up in the back, ring the doorbell and we will deliver their order to them,” he said.

The shop carries a large selection of tackle and rods for beginners, weekend fishermen and every level in between, along with a wide variety of merchandise and apparel. 

“We carry a large assortment of fishing rods from companies, including Redbone, Tsunami, Okuma and Penn. We also carry Bull Bay Rods, high-quality rods made right here in Lakeland. They offer a special lifetime warranty on their rods,” said Kruczewski.

Rod repair is also available in the shop.

One of the newest ventures for Kruczewski is boat rentals. Boat rental is $600 for a full day. Boats will be dropped off at E.G. Simmons or Williams Boat Ramps. Boating experience is a must for prospective renters.

“The difference between us and the larger boat rental companies is there are no up-front fees, no monthly fees and you can rent anytime depending on availability,” explained Kruczewski.

“My dad, Julius Sr. — or ‘Papa,’ as he is known to everyone — has always been the biggest supporter of my shop since day one. He used to come work a few days a week or just come in and talk with me. Recently, his health has not been good and he hasn’t been in the shop, but that hasn’t stopped him from worrying about me and the success of the shop.  He talks about the shop to me just like we were sitting behind the counter,” reflected Kruczewski.

Bait and Tackle of Apollo Beach strives to be the best bait shop on this side of the bay and will continue to bring in the newest merchandise and the freshest bait for customers.

The store is located at 6040 N. U.S. 41 in Apollo Beach and can be reached at 813-296-7735.

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