Now that the holidays are behind us, it’s sport show season and time to hit the road again. I’ll be at the Ultimate Fishing Show in Novi, Mich. today and head to Florida Sunday to do a training seminar for Bass Pro Shops associates.
I’ll stay busy with sport shows and appearances right up until the Bassmaster Classic and somewhat thereafter.
The sport show season can be draining, but I do enjoy getting out to various parts of the country, meeting people and seeing new products on display.
I saw a lot of new stuff at ICAST last July, but these shows give me a chance to examine them closely and check out the unique or hard-to-find goodies that are only marketed in local outlets within specific regions of the country.
There’s no question that the Internet provides anglers a bird’s-eye view of new products, but sport shows give you a chance to put your hands on a lure, piece of equipment or a rod and reel and decide if it’s for you. The shows also give you the opportunity to talk to sales or manufacturing experts.
It’s at these local and regional shows where you find booths representing little known lure makers who build very cool stuff but don’t have the advertising budget to promote their products.
It’s also a good time to stock up on the popular gear and get what you want. As you know, many retailers are out of stock on the hot items once the fishing season gets underway.
Also, don’t discount the closeout bins that retailers have on display. You can paw through the miscellaneous lures that may not sell well for the retailer but that are offered in a color or size that you really like.
There may not be a better place to shop for major purchases, like boats, electronics or a premium rod and reel that you can’t find locally.
Prospective boat buyers will find multiple benefits. First, you can usually find just about every major brand and size of bass boat being displayed by a variety of boat dealers. The shows allow you to compare features, examine the quality, talk to salesmen and shop prices.
And here’s another thing – a lot of dealers are eager to bargain early in the year. Some of them may be sitting on last year’s product that they’d like to move before the new orders arrive. Furthermore, there are special financing terms available as lending institutions partner with the dealers to get you good pricing and financing at the show.
And you don’t have to be shopping for a new boat. Many dealers carry used boat inventories of rigs they took on trade and may have a photo album of those boats. It’s a good time to inquire with the dealers let them know what you’re looking for and see what they might have available.
Of course, most outdoor shows offer seminars and give you a chance to learn something about fishing in your local waters. I know a lot of the Elite pros will be attending shows around the country over the next several weeks, but many sports shows bring in local experts as well.
In addition to all of the aforementioned benefits, the sports show season helps close the gap between winter and the next fishing season. That draws us a little closer to what we really want to do – get out fishin’.
Remember, it’s all about the attitude!