Outdoors

Fishermen don't have to travel far to get bait in Gulfport anymore. Here's why.

Nate Allen, an employee at Gulfport Marina Bait & Tackle, is one of the employees at the new bait shop. The shop is open at Jones Park. Eddie Quinn and his family have leased a cottage that has housed a bait shop at the small craft harbor for years.
Nate Allen, an employee at Gulfport Marina Bait & Tackle, is one of the employees at the new bait shop. The shop is open at Jones Park. Eddie Quinn and his family have leased a cottage that has housed a bait shop at the small craft harbor for years.

Anglers who want to go fishing off the coastal waters of Gulfport no longer have to make an extra trip to get bait.

Gulfport Marina Bait & Tackle has opened at Jones Park, replacing a previous shop and under new management, according a city spokesman.

The shop is leased by Eddie Quinn and his family. They are giving the small craft harbor a bait and tackle shop for the first time since a previous shop closed three months ago, according to city spokesman Chris Vignes. It had closed in December 2016 when the lease held by Justin Roland expired, but reopened quickly after that.

The bait shop sits beside Moses Pier at the harbor’s south end, not far from the fuel docks.

"It's everything you could want at a harbor," Vignes said.

The shop carries live shrimp, fresh dead shrimp, frozen shrimp, squid, bull minnows and mullet, Vignes said. It is open seven days a week from 5 a.m. until dark.

The bait shop also offers cold drinks and souvenir items, he said.

Quinn, who runs the new family operation, says the family also runs a bait shop in Moss Point. He has been in the bait shop business for seven years.

"I learned everything I know from my father-in-law, who's been a shrimper all his life," Quinn said.

The previous bait shop at Jones Park, Moses Pier Bait, had been in business less than a year. Quinn said he went to the shop to retrieve a tank he had loaned the owner and learned the shop had closed.

Quinn said he and his family decided to take up the lease, and he bought a chilling system to keep everything cold.

The shop is in a cottage. Longtime Coast residents may remember that Ron Roland opened The Harbor Shop there in 1999.

Roland's son Justin took over the lease after the recovery from Hurricane Katrina, operating The Tackle Box until it closed in April 2015. Justin Roland said he didn't want potential conflicts because his father was running for the waterfront city council seat then held by Ricky Dombrowski.

The bait shop sat empty for months, until another businessman opened it was Moses Pier Bait. That shop was open for less than a year, and closed in February.

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews
  Comments