A “pre-season” status report for the 2021 boating and fishing shows in the New Jersey, Delaware Bay region.
The COVID-19 pandemic has us all reasonably excited to see the year 2020 come to a close. But as local anglers enjoy a solid run of stripers on sand eels along the Jersey Shore this month with the final weeks of black sea bass until the winter closure at the end of December keeping coolers filled, the New Year regrettably will not be completely free of Coronavirus interruptions.
Several popular boat and outdoor shows have already pulled the plug on 2021 events due to ongoing restrictions associated with social distancing and large gatherings. Earlier this fall the Jersey Shore Surfcasters officially announced that Surf Day 2021 has been cancelled but will return again in 2022.
Also making a formal cancellation announcement was the Outdoor Sports Group which runs the Garden State Outdoors Sports Show (and Northern Illinois Sports Show). That event which was originally slated to run for the 38th year from January 7-10 at the New Jersey Convention & Expo Center in Edison, NJ is expected to return in 2022.
On December 9, the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey (MTA/NJ) announced that due to the increasing spread of COVID-19 and the current restrictions throughout the state, the New Jersey Boat Sale & Expo held annually at the New Jersey Convention & Expo Center in Edison must be postponed until 2022.
“We have been fully committed to delivering a successful show this February but unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to move forward at this time,” MTA/NJ said in an official announcement. A great event for boat buyers over the past 10 years, the New Jersey Boat Sale & Expo also regularly features a full lineup of fishing seminars presented by The Fisherman Magazine and the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA).
Regrettably, our full lineup of seminars will also have to wait until 2022 to return to Oaks, PA as the Philadelphia Fishing Show slated for February 19-21 has also been postponed. The second annual “Philly Fishing Show” in 2020 was a huge event which featured over 40 different freshwater and saltwater seminars presented by The Fisherman making it one of the largest regional fishing events heading into year three. Show organizer Dave DeGennaro said he’s already working on the 2022 event in Oaks, PA and expects the ’22 event to be huge.
As of early December, organizers at the Saltwater Fishing Expo and Atlantic City Boat Show have not yet made their final decision as to the status of the winter shows. “The health and safety of everyone involved in producing, exhibiting, and attending our shows is of the utmost importance,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and presenter of the Atlantic City Boat Show. “Following a thorough market-by-market analysis regarding the feasibility of producing safe and successful NMMA winter boat and sport shows in 2021, we are making significant modifications to our show schedule in the first quarter of 2021,” Hugelmeyer said on October 28.
According to Hugelmeyer, the Progressive Insurance Atlantic City Boat Show is proceeding as scheduled for February 24-28, 2021, with the option to delay the show to early April 2021.
Many of the local fishing flea markets and one-day expos are also either in a “wait and see” phase at this point or have made tentative plans to postpone events until later in 2021. Be sure to check back at TheFisherman.com or look for the printed editions of The Fisherman in January, February and March for regular updates on show status.