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Date of Issue: July 09, 2008

Bait shop in business

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Now serving
Rotten Ralph's on the Pier manager Mike Cosby shows the variety of frozen bait in the bait shop and concession stand operated by Rotten Ralph's on the Historic Bridge Street Pier. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

The bait shop at Rotten Ralph’s on the Pier is now operating on Rotten Ralph’s time.

“Ralph gets a half-day off at Christmas,” said owner Dave Russell. That means that 365 days a year, from about 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., the bait shop and concession stand will be open on the Historic Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach.

Russell said the shop had a soft opening, starting with informal hours and the sale of snacks and treats, including chips, soft drinks and ice cream.

“We’ve been open and trying a few things out to see what’s going to go,” Russell said. “It’s been building up a little as people find out we’re here.”

On July 3, in anticipation of a bustling July 4 weekend, the bait shop opened with souvenir Rotten Ralph hats and T-shirts for sale, as well as fishing rods for rent and frozen bait on sale.

“We’ve got frozen bait right now,” Russell said. “We’re going to run that and see what kind of demand is out there.”

Rotten Ralph’s on the Pier opened last September following a major renovation of the pier structure, which was damaged in 2004 by Hurricane Frances.

Along with a contract with the city to operate the restaurant, Rotten Ralph’s secured the contract to operate the fishing kiosk.

The Rotten Ralph name also is attached to Russell’s original restaurant in Anna Maria.