A “Little” History on
Little Jim Bait & Tackle
It was 1926 when they built the first bridge out here from the mainland. The original bridge was replaced in 1942 with another narrow wooden bridge. A piece of it still stands, jutting out between Little Jim's marina and the concrete two-lane bridge built in 1963.
Little Jim’s dates back to World War II, when thousands of sailors and soldiers were being trained on North Hutchinson Island. Only authorized personnel could go to the barrier island and the building that is now the bait shop was the guard shack and checkpoint at the bridge.
Among those men being trained were members of the Navy Combat Demolition Units, later called the Underwater Demolition Teams or Frogmen and then, even later, Navy Seals. A fascinating museum about the Navy Seals is on the beach just across this bridge.
After the war, the abandoned guard post quickly was opened as a bait shop and it’s been selling cold beer and live bait ever since. Along the way, those WWII vets who came back to visit their training site, often stopped by and Little Jim’s acquired all sorts of Navy Seal signs and memorabilia.
Arrive at Little Jim’s by land or by boat, get your order to go or relax here and enjoy the view. Little Jim’s serves fish tacos, shrimp baskets, cubans and some of the best Fish dip available on the Florida East coast in a general-store sort of atmosphere. There’s outdoor seating, a great view of a mangrove-lined bay called Shorty’s Slough and live music some afternoons and every weekend. When, a few years ago, the city (which owns the property) looked to replace the bait shop with a business that would bring in more revenue, the locals rallied and the city decided to let Little Jim’s live on.
Little Jim’s not only is a good place to buy bait, sandwiches, cold beer and Ice but also a great location to put in a kayak and explore the wildlife-filled waters and shore of the lagoon. The bay is a quiet spot, with much of the land belonging to Fort Pierce Inlet State Park.