A Fisherman's Dream on Washington & Third
A new tackle shop owned by an experienced fisherman opens just a few blocks from some of the best fishing piers on the Mississippi Coast. Meet Billy Ray Sanders.
- photos and story by Ellis Anderson
The twins are likely the first of many. If the location, location, location mantra proves true, there’s no way this business can fail. It’s situated on the corner of Washington Street and Blaize Ave (Blaize changes names to Third St. on the Waveland side of that intersection), only two blocks from the Washington Street pier and boat launch. The new Bay St. Louis harbor and the adjacent fishing pier are just several blocks beyond. There’s plenty of off-street parking and the building itself looks cheerful and well-kept.
Inside, walls and shelves are lined with lures, nets, hooks and lines. Dozens of rods stand in racks, while reels glint alluringly from glass cases. While Sanders carries some items found in big box stores, he stocks specialty tackle, rods and reels that can’t be found elsewhere locally. Okuma and Shimano and Penn are a few of the brands that he carries. Sanders will also stock someone’s favorite lure. All they have to do is ask.
Flounder lights are made in the store. They’re durable LED lights encased in an aluminum water-safe housing.
“All our lights are repairable,” Sanders says. “If they have a problem, they can come back to me and not have to ship them off.”
Currently, the tackle shop stocks frozen bait and may soon be offering live bait as well. Ice is available in either ten or twenty pound bags, and snacks and soft drinks will keep fishermen happy if the fish aren’t biting.
But probably one of the main draws for local anglers will be Billy Ray’s advice.
He’s been a serious fisherman since he moved over to Hancock County from New Orleans in 1981.
When asked how he became a go-to guy for fishing information, he points to forty years experience.
“I fish, that’s the authority,” he says, smiling. “I fish all week. If I can’t sleep at night, I walk down to the pier and fish. If I wake up too early, I get up and go down to the pier and fish. I’m in my boat too, at least once a week.”
“I tell people, advice is free. Don’t think you need to buy something to come in here to ask me a question. That’s not how it works. You can ask me anything, whether you’re an experienced fisherman and have questions about local fishing or if you’re trying to learn how to fish for the first time. “
And fisherfolk have plenty of opportunities to stop in and ask: the Tackle Shop is open every day but Sunday, from 7am – 6pm. The shop phone is 228.220.7114