How ‘Plan B’ helped this fishing crew haul in a victory, number of awards

Russell Baisch, Dan Baisch and Gradyn Baisch were the big winners in the Spanish Derby, held out of the Mullet Hut last Saturday in Murrells Inlet. Gradyn Baisch was the angler on a 4.78-pound Spanish mackerel that was the largest caught in the tournament.
Russell Baisch, Dan Baisch and Gradyn Baisch were the big winners in the Spanish Derby, held out of the Mullet Hut last Saturday in Murrells Inlet. Gradyn Baisch was the angler on a 4.78-pound Spanish mackerel that was the largest caught in the tournament. Submitted photo

If you’re looking for advice on catching full-grown Spanish mackerel out of Murrells Inlet, the results of the inlet’s annual Spanish Mackerel Derby indicate Baisch Boys Bait & Tackle is the go-to place.

For the third time in the last four tournaments, one of the two Baisch brothers who operate the bait and tackle shop in the inlet finished in the top two.

This time, Capt. Russell Baisch, fishing with his brother Dan Baisch and Dan’s son Gradyn Baisch aboard Superstitious, weighed in a 4.78-pound Spanish to win the coveted Big Fish award Saturday along with the aggregate and Youth Angler awards.

Russell Baisch, the youngest of four Baisch brothers, is co-owner of the shop with his oldest brother, Capt. Jay Baisch, who was among the tournament’s winning crew in 2014 and finished second in 2016. The tournament, based out of the Mullet Hut on the Marshwalk, was canceled in 2017 due to rough seas.

Superstitious is a 28-foot catamaran owned by Chad McIntosh of Murrells Inlet, and it was a good day to be on a big boat, as a stiff northeast wind churned up dicey seas for boats competing in the tournament.

Russell Baisch didn’t want to be specific on the area he chose to fish, but the Baisch trio headed to a hard-bottom area located east-northeast of the Murrells Inlet jetties, right into the teeth of the wind.

The crew had intentions of live-chumming with finger mullet to get large Spanish mackerel fired up, but nixed that idea.

“We had 2,000 finger mullet in the live well and didn’t even throw ‘em out,” said Russell Baisch. “We thought the ocean wasn’t good enough for it - 15-20 out of the northeast with three-foot seas and choppy.”

The Baisch boys wisely had a Plan B - slow-trolling cigar minnows.

“Because of the sea conditions, a lot of people resorted to spoons,” said Russell Baisch. “We kept trolling bigger baits, hoping for a big one.”

The big one came in the form of a nice 4.78-pound Spanish, with 13-year-old Gradyn Baisch serving as the angler.

The fish wound up winning the crew the Big Spanish award, earned Gradyn the Junior Angler award, and was key in the winning 10.32-pound aggregate (three fish).

In all, they caught four Spanish and one king (17.76 pounds).

“The first (Spanish) we caught was 3.5 pounds, so we knew we had something decent,” said Russell Baisch. “The second fish was the king, the third fish was the 4.78. After that we caught a pair of Spanish at one pound each.”

Eddie Fisher aboard Warrior finished second with a 4.15-pound Spanish, followed by Brian Reynolds aboard Outcast with a 3.95-pounder.

Russell and Jay Baisch opened their bait and tackle shop after the building was left vacant following the death of David Altman, known as Big Dave, who passed away unexpectedly in January and was owner/operator of Big Dave’s Bait & Tackle at the location.

The Baisch boys saw a need to fill the void left in Altman’s untimely absence. And, like Altman, they are happy to offer quality fishing advice to their customers.

“We just wanted somewhere locals could come and have a family atmosphere,” said Russell Baisch. “We’ve got a big local base of friends that fish, and we wanted to bring local back to the bait business, really just give good honest information. Every day we have someone come in here and thank us for the info.”

Marlin Quay Shootout

The 2018 Marlin Quay King Mackerel Shoot Out is set for next weekend out of Marlin Quay Marina and Murrells Inlet.

The tournament marks the fourth and final event in the Southern Kingfish Association’s Division 3 (South Carolina).

“Kingfishing has been excellent,” said Chris Lawhon of Marlin Quay Marina. “Hopefully it holds through next week. We’ll see.”

Lawhon noted fishing teams don’t have to be members of SKA to compete in the tournament.

First place for the largest king mackerel weighed in is $15,000 guaranteed.

A mandatory captains meeting is scheduled for Friday (Sept. 7) at 6 p.m. Fishing is set for Saturday (Sept. 8), with scales closing at 6 p.m., and the awards ceremony to follow at 7 p.m.

Lawhon noted all proceeds of the tournament go to the Garden City Chapel Youth Ministries.

For more information, call 843-651-4444.

SALTT’s Back

School is back in session for the 2018-19 school year across South Carolina, and that means Coach, or Capt., Rayburn Poston is in action.

Poston’s Student Angler League Tournament Trail, well known as SALTT, is about to get rolling into its fifth year of youth fishing tournaments.

SALTT features divisions for red drum and largemouth bass, with middle and high school anglers competing against each other.

The SALTT, as Poston calls the trail, has consistently grown since its inception in 2014.

“We expect to have over 100 kids representing about 30-35 schools in mainly Horry and Georgetown counties, and the Charleston area,” said Poston.

The trail officially begins with the first tournament on Sept. 15, with other fall tournaments set for Oct. 20 and Nov. 3. All SALTT tournaments are held out of the Carroll Campbell Marine Complex on the Sampit River in Georgetown.

But first, Poston has a doozey of a pre-season event set up for Saturday, Sept. 8.

Poston’s Student Angler Pre-Season Kickoff Tourney will be held out of Bucksport Marina, with bass divisions for both high school and middle school anglers.

The prizes to the top three two-angler teams in each division will be substantial.

For more information, visit www.SALTTFishing.com or contact Poston at 843-902-4274.