You devise a tactical approach to fishing, why not think strategy when it comes to the fishing shows?
The 2017 show season is officially underway, and weather not withstanding, there are fishing-hunting-boat shows almost every week or two that provide extraordinary opportunities to see all of the new products displayed by equipment manufacturers, to handle them and learn about them directly from the manufacturers and their regional sales personnel. These are the folks that know their products’ performance and abilities and can tell you how they will fit into your needs or can tell you just which models would be right for whatever needs you have.
If you have an interest in a new item that you saw in The Fisherman for example, or talked about by friends at the club or online, this is the chance to get the information you need directly from the people with the answers. When it comes to fishing tackle this is the time to handle that rod you want to use for plugging stripers or that reel you plan to use for slow pitch jigging. You’ll know precisely how that rod loads or how comfortably that reel fits in your hand in an instant.
These are things that are really hard to achieve when wandering about online. Use the web and advertisements to learn about new items that are becoming available for the new season; this will help you to pre-shop the tackle and accessories that appeal to you and your techniques. Thoroughly check out manufacturers’ websites for any equipment that fits your needs and look for new tackle that might be of interest.
But when it comes to the show, then it’s time to get a feel and maybe even steal a deal – that part’s up to you!
Handling the Goods
Rod and reel makers will be showing their most popular current items for each region and all of their newly introduced products with the latest functions and features. New high performance reels with powerful and smooth drags to match the requirements of the newest super braid lines will be available to function and handle to determine if they may be right for you. Rods built with the newest high tech materials and construction techniques can be checked to find a match for your current or new model reel, too. The personnel manning these exhibits can help you select the best match for you.
The ability to get the true feel of a new reel on the proper rod is something that can help make your decision for you in seconds. Whether you are setting up matched sets of trolling outfits or selecting an ultralight setup for use in small, clear streams, you have a terrific opportunity for some face-to-face expert advice at the show. With this, you’ll come away with even greater confidence in your selection.
Particularly important to fly anglers is the fact that most shows offer a casting pool to allow them to make actual test casts with pre rigged fly outfits. This is particularly true at the fly fishing only shows throughout the region. The fly tackle exhibitors at these shows frequently offer many different line weight outfits in various lengths for test casting. This permits potential purchasers to test and compare the casting performance of a wide variety of fly rods and reels in one place and at one time. Again, this assures a much more confident decision on that next purchase of rod or reel or both. These pools are also used for casting instruction and demonstrations.
Line manufacturers show their best and newest of monofilament and super braid lines. They’ll help narrow down the wide selection of each to fit your exact needs, tackle and techniques used. Anything you need for backing, casting, trolling or jigging can be found at these shows. Factory personnel can narrow down the choices to what will work best in your particular situation. Remember, the line and test selected can help make your reel choice easier, too. If you need 330 yards of 30-pound test, why select a too-large reel that will need backing installed before the braid can be wound onto the spool?
The time to refine your choices is there and then at the show. Use the knowledge and talent brought together for just that purpose and specifically to your benefit.
Gain a Tactical Edge
Taking advantage of the opportunity that show season presents isn’t limited to examining products but also includes plenty of chances to learn about techniques and tactics and locations. Almost any show you attend this winter will offer a wide variety of seminars, demonstrations and classes on regional tackle and techniques from guides and captains that know what and where and how in the waters of that area. Many seminars or presentations are that specific. They can be as focused as striped bass in Raritan or Jamaica Bay or as general as how to read any beach from Cape Cod to Cape Henlopen.
Learn everything from knot tying to fly tying, boat rigging to tackle rigging with an emphasis on what you may need to learn fresh or to just brush up on. Show directories will contain the schedule of presenters, times and topics throughout each show day. That should be the first thing you check when you arrive at the show. It will help you to allot your time for best efficiency to check out exhibits and classes and seminars. It is a good idea to bring some paper and a pen to take notes on anything important that you might hear or see. But, remember that use of recording devices is most often discouraged; be sure to check with the speaker beforehand.
There are also exhibits and presentations from guides and camps in distant, exotic areas to stoke your imagination. You can learn of the seasonal opportunities and species available to sport anglers. These folks can give you the details on how to prepare for the trip and how best to get there at the time you select. They’ll even be able to help make your selection of tackle to be used.
Boat shows can be overwhelming. But, this can work to your advantage, too. There are many individual boat makers represented with several of their boats best suited to the given region and waters. Engine manufacturers can also be exhibiting but often the boat exhibitors do double duty here. They will show their boats with pre mounted power options for a complete package offering. But, that’s not the only package available. The exhibitors will gladly take the time to adjust the hull, power, trailer choices to your exact needs. In this case, it is better to narrow your selection down some before attending the show.
Advertisements or word of mouth can point you in a more focused direction before you start talking how this hull handles quartering seas or the fuel efficiency of that power option at three quarter throttle. There are usually plenty of kayak choices available, too. Not just the hulls but the myriad specialized accessory items to choose from to make them a complete and efficient small boat angling platform.
Let’s Make a Deal
Plenty of retailers are represented at these shows, too. They are typically the same tackle shops that you and your friends frequent during the regular season. They know the region and its fisheries and are at the show to offer attendees an opportunity to “close the deal” then and there. These retailers usually prepare for the show event by working closely with manufacturers and their sales forces to build an inventory of the best standard items and the hottest new products for the coming season.
After whittling your choice down to the rod, reel, line, lure, tackle storage bag and on and on at the manufacturers’ display, this is the first opportunity you’ll get to immediately make your purchase and go home with that new part of your fishing arsenal. Most retailers have special pricing in place for the show event, while many of the exhibiting manufacturers could have a special premium offer for purchases made at the show. Some offer a lure, others offer sunglasses or fishing pliers or hats but most often, the premium is a useful addition to your tackle or accessories. Be sure to check this out, too, when you are working with the folks at the manufacturers’ exhibits. Not only can you save on the at-show purchase but add other goodies to your arsenal.
Wander the aisles with an open mind. The odds are that you will see something new that can fit your fishing or make rigging easier or spot a new lure that is right for one of your favorite pieces of water. Talk with the exhibitors to increase your knowledge of tackle and gear. Handle and try out new rods and reels to see how they fit you, your style and techniques. Give boats, motors and trailers a thorough look over. Check out guides, lodges and destinations for that dream trip you have been considering. Make sure to take advantage of all of the valuable information available at classes and seminars. Go home confident that you made the best choice of tackle or gear by making the most of sport show season opportunities.
Practically all the shows have websites where you’ll find everything you need, from ticket pre-purchases and online deals, seminar schedules and bios of speakers, featured demonstrations, exhibitor listings, special show offers, sometimes there are even giveaway offers and driving directions can be accessed on these sites. Pay particular attention to the seminar schedules to take advantage of the learning opportunities that come along only once or twice a year and typically only during the winter show season.
The regional outdoor shows offer a great opportunity for you, your buddies and the entire family to get out of the house for the day. But with a little bit of strategic thought and basic preparation, there’s a good chance to make all of these opportunities work in your favor when it’s finally time to wet a line.