Here at Sports Unlimited in Gulfport, Mississippi we feature over 4,000 square feet of display space with 10,000 items for sale, including over 600 rods and reels in stock. We also boast a full scuba department — complete with an onsite classroom — and a custom archery section and hunting department.
And with our prime location on Mississippi’s magnificent Gulf Coast, it's no wonder Sports Unlimited boasts the most extensive saltwater tackle selection in the state.
We believe Sports Unlimited is the only fishing, scuba and hunting store of its kind in the world. Search where you will in this great country and you are unlikely to find the combined experience and expertise of owners Tony and Tim Deas, and it’s reflected in the products you’ll find in our store.
Brothers Tony and Tim Deas grew up playing sports and were raised in a family that cherished the fishing and hunting experience. Tony was near the end of his first stint in the military after playing college football for Army at West Point, when he and Tim decided to open the first sporting goods store of any kind in Gulfport in 1974. The store had it all from bats to basketballs and specialized in team uniforms.
Meanwhile the brothers pursued their first love: the outdoors. Tony and Tim both ran fishing charter boats and while Tony became a certified scuba diver and instructor, Tim became an expert at bowhunting and bow setup and repair, while also learning the ins and outs of reel and rod repair.
When new technology made the store's uniform equipment outdated, they had to make a choice whether to invest in the new machinery or change the store. They opted to follow their passions.
“We basically gravitated to what we liked best: fishing, diving and hunting," says Tony Deas. “I think you would have to go 100 miles, probably all the way to New Orleans, to find anything close to a true fishing tackle store like ours.”
Be sure to drop by the store, which is located at 215B Pass Road, or check out our catalog pages for the incredible selection of fishing, hunting and scuba gear, as well as the apparel and accessories needed for those sports.
Sports Unlimited Knows Gulf Coast Fishing
Raised on local waters, Sports Unlimited owners Tony and Tim Deas still make at least one trip a week out on the Gulf or in the marsh.
The brothers started running sportfishing charters in 1975, then found that their time was better spent developing Sports Unlimited into what it has become: the store with the most extensive saltwater tackle selection in the state.
Working in the store didn't keep Tony and Tim off the water and both own 22-foot bay boats for the light tackle marsh and inshore fishing they love best. They also learned that anglers headed to the Gulf Coast all have their own fishing favorites and dreams.
"I was the first one to offer light tackle trips to the Chandeleur Island, but I had to learn that those boys from Tennessee, Texas and upstate who
booked charters wanted to fish the reds on light tackle,” notes Tony.
“Redfish sure do pull a lot harder. I guess fishing specks is something I grew up with.”
While like most locals in this part of the country the Deas brothers are speckled trout fanatics, the brothers and our staff have fished for just about anything that swims and Sports Unlimited stocks everything from the latest speck-catching crankbaits from Yo-Zuri to the burly two-speed reels and rods that will put the brakes on billfish and tuna.
Tony Deas breaks down the local saltwater sportfishing opportunities into three categories: inshore, green water and offshore and the combination of the three means there are only a couple months (January and February) of the year when fishing is slow.
Otherwise you can have your pick of bull reds or giant yellowfin tuna, blue marlin or kingfish (the kingfish national championships are often held in nearby Biloxi) cobia or speckled trout. The fish don't mind the brutal July and August heat if you don't, although climate and great action are the reason spring and fall are the most popular months.
Don't forget the many lakes and rivers and the freshwater fishing options for bass, crappie, bream and catfish. Sports Unlimited hasn't.
"We have tackle for everything from blue marlin and sailfish to catfish in a pond,” he says. “I know the names of 50 percent of my customers. I thought that was a good thing, but my buddy said it just means I need new customers. I will say we have a great bunch of regulars.”
The experience of the Deas brothers and their staff and the constant input they receive from their time on the water and their customers mean that fishing tackle inventory carried by Sports Unlimited has just what you need to get bit, whatever your favorite target species. Sports Unlimited also has trained service technicians onsite who offer complete rod and reel repair. Be sure to drop by the store or check out our online fishing catalog and see for yourself.
Scuba For Beginners To Adventure Seekers
It gets hot along the Gulf Coast in the summer and the best way to beat the heat is to get in the water — deep underwater with the help of our expert scuba instructors and staff at Sports Unlimited. What you’ll discover is a world of unique beauty and wildlife, and an incredible experience only hinted at by even the best photography.
Tony Deas, who heads our scuba department, became an open water scuba instructor in 1978 and was selected to Scuba School International’s Platinum Pro 5000 membership in 2004. He has completed more than 6,000 scuba dives and trained more than 2000 all the way up to instructor level.
Sports Unlimited offers everything from basic courses, including Nitrox, to specialty courses that include oil-rig diving, a popular attraction for spearfishing enthusiasts.
“I’m a big spearfisherman and most of our spearfishing is scuba diving the rigs for snapper, cobia, amberjack and grouper,” notes Deas. “We’ve got a little bit of a freedive market, but the water that is suitable for that is about 100 miles off Gulfport. That’s where you’ll find the Might Lumps, one of the best places in the world for shooting big yellowfin tuna.”
Many of Sports Unlimited’s customers are happy enough to get in the water and observe fish and that requires certification in order to use scuba. After basic pool and classroom training is completed, the store offers trips to Panama City once a month in the summer for boat dives and open water certification. With that level of training achieved, Sports Unlimited students can then take part in the store’s trips to destination sites like nearby Little Cayman or far-flung dive dream spots like Indonesia.
Sports Unlimited offers complete repair of all scuba equipment for which they are authorized dealers, tank inspection and fills, and has a partial pressure blending facility for mixing Nitrox tanks onsite. You can find a complete offering of classes and trips here on our site and everything you need to dive is here in the store or in our online catalog.
Too Many Deer And Just The Right Gear
When you walk into the vast Sports Unlimited complex you will find yet another feature that sets us apart from other stores, a complete custom archery and hunting department.
“Tim’s a big bowhunter, he’s been setting up bows since the 70s,” says Tony Deas of his brother. “He’s been doing it longer than anyone on the coast and he has trained a couple other of our guys.”
While waterfowl, pig and turkey hunting are popular, too, the healthy population of deer, actually bordering on overabundant, in Mississippi and adjoining states is the top target for Sports Unlimited’s customers, and bowhunting offers the advantage of special and longer seasons and is particularly effective in the tight, densely wooded areas that hold most of the animals. Sports Unlimited will set up your new bow and get you outfitted with everything you need from a tree stand to the right camo.
Mississippi also offers special seasons for primitive firearms, which are any firearms built according to a patent secured prior to 1900. Sports Unlimited carries a special collection of primitive firearms and all the licenses needed to take advantage of special hunts.
While local forests are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, our staff can help you find a location to hunt upstate where the deer are both bigger and more numerous due to the better feed and mineral content found farther from the coast.
In addition, our full online catalog makes it possible for you to order anything needed for hunting. (Items, such as firearms, that require a Federal Firearms License when sold must be picked up at the store.)
From the day Sports Unlimited opened, Tim and Tony Deas have been dedicated to providing customers with the best product, the best training and the best opportunity for a safe, successful outdoor experience. We've spent a lot of time stocking the shelves at our store here on 215B Pass Road in Gulfport with the right stuff and nothing would make us happier than if you joined our loyal group of regular customers. You can also take advantage of our expertise right here and now thanks to our online catalog items. Good luck and have a great time enjoying the outdoors!