Starting out the founder of Superior Saltwater Bait, Mark Bordelon went to work during the summers when he was on break from attending Stephen F Austin. He had a roommate in college whose father had a Gulf Shrimp Boat in Galveston, Texas. Mark and his roommate would go out on the boat to work on the back deck and would fish all night as gulf shrimping is done mostly at night. After cleaning up they would then sleep during the day and about five six o’clock pm get up, eat supper and then start again. They set out and would start dragging the nets, making two or three drags per night.
Initially they would haul the boat to Bayou La Batre, Alabama and fish their way back from Alabama to Texas when the Texas Season would open up about July 15th. Mark explains, “The majority of the boats in the Gulf would come and fish Texas because it’d been closed for three months and shrimp are piled up deep and everybody gets out there.”
They would shrimp for a couple weeks and everything that they caught, they froze it on board using a brine water system. Shrimp hit the deck and they would picked the shrimp out, head some and others leave the head on, wash them, put them in a basket, put them in an onion sack and then put them in a brine freezer on the back of the boat.
The brine freezer is a freezer with salt water in it and by continuing to add salt, it would stay minus 5 degrees and stay liquid but freeze the shrimp like peanuts in a bag.
This phenomenal process keeps the unbelievable quality of the seafood. Once frozen, the shrimp would then be removed from the brine freezer and placed in the hold of the boat that was a freezer kept at approximately minus five degrees. Once froze with this method, the shrimp will be unchanged for up to six months and when thawed will be as fresh as it was the day it was caught.
After arriving to the docks, they would offload at a fish house, the fish house would most of the time they thaw the product out, grade the sizes and then pack them in five pound boxes to freeze them again and pack them 10 of the 5lb boxes per case. Many times however, they would sell shrimp right off the boat, this was refereed to as a “Boat Run”.
After attending Stephen F Austin, Mark had a few office jobs but alway seemed to make his way back to the shrimp industry selling shrimp as a side gig, buying shrimp from the boat in Galveston and selling to anyone who would buy from him. Eventually in 1991 he began selling shrimp full time going to Bayou La Batre, Alabama in the winter time and hauling shrimp back to the Houston / Galveston Area. Mark quickly became known to be the source for shrimp when no one else in the area had it which was a huge key to the success of him starting Superior Seafood and then Superior Saltwater Bait.
Mark built relationships all along the Gulf Coast in order to provide the freshest seafood possible to anyone who needed it. His customers would range from restaurants to small shrimp peddlers. His business would continue to grow till 1996 when he purchased the building he is currently in and had literally two shipping containers as his first freezers. The business continued to grow from 1996 till about 2000 where they would sell millions of pounds of shrimp and a few other species they added to their product line. They began supplying packing plants with products from the boats by developing into seafood logistics and distribution company. They would travel to the different locations where they had built relationships with boats, load up on the product, take it back to their freezers in Alvin and then distribute the product to the packing plants who had a huge need for the raw product to run the plant.
By early 2000, Mark had 5 – 18 Wheelers running shrimp from Florida to South Texas and anywhere in-between and beyond. Eventually Mark decided to pass the logistics of the company to another group who would then handle all the freight for Superior Seafood so that Mark could focus on providing a wider variety of seafood to his customers. Mark hired on Scott to come on board to handle the accounting department and help streamline Superior Seafood to enable them to become even more efficient to better serve their customers. From that time, Superior Seafood and Super Saltwater Bait has grown to supply the Gulf Coast with over 100 type of seafood and bait from fisheries all over the country.