Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sportsman Show Hot to Shop

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sportsman Show Hot to Shop

Article excerpt

The seminars are informative, the exhibits entertaining, the

demonstrations helpful. But the main reason people go to the

Florida Sportsman Fishing Show is to buy.

Rods. Reels. Lures. Whatever.

"We did exit polls at all of our shows last year, and the No. 1

reason people came was tackle purchase opportunities," said

Robin Smillie, director of the seven statewide Florida Sportsman

shows. "Fishing boats was No. 2. It's becoming an annual

tackle-buying opportunity."

That opportunity arrives in Jacksonville on Saturday and Sunday

at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. Show-goers will be hoping

to find another competitive market situation such as the "shirt

wars" episode during last year's Jacksonville show. Two vendors

engaged in a game of one-upmanship, each trying to undercut the

other on the price of Bimini Bay fishing shirts.

"By the end of Sunday, shirts that started at $14.95 were down

to $6," Smillie said. "These vendors like to go back empty."

Two major discount tackle dealers will be at this year's show,

in addition to several local shops and various individual rod,

reel and lure manufacturers. Among the products being introduced

will be a new DOA Terroreyze lure and a fly reel offered by Old

Florida Manufacturing.

Ongoing seminars during the show will address everything from

bluewater trolling to flyfishing basics to taking care of live

bait. On the inshore stage, seminar speakers will dispense

information from the bow of a Ranger flats boat floating in a

10,000-gallon pool.

"You get the feeling you're fishing with the captain," Smillie

said.

The offshore stage this year will be the cockpit of a 20-foot

Henry O', tricked out with downriggers, outriggers, the works.

In addition, there will be the usual array of booths featuring

marine art, clothing, guide services, outfitters, filet knives,

etc. …

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