• Dale Bowman

Booth 14: ``Gonna Need a Bigger Boat''

In the Internet Age of Fishing--for these purposes the past 15 years--I haven't seen anything quite like Saturday in outdoors shows around Chicago.

I knew enough to get there early for the 10 a.m. opening of the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel and Outdoor Expo. But even at 9:20, there were a couple hundred people in line. I settled into Booth 14, Stray Casts' booth to the immediate left as you enter, then went out to check the line at 9:50. To capture the extent of the line, I climbed well up the stairs to the second floor and still do not do the photo justice.

The line snaked around on the outside of the main show hall, then stretched back into the connecting hall to the hotel. I am gusessing a couple thousand were in line for the opening of the doors.

It was a something.

Scott Fricke channeled the famous quote in ``Jaws'' when he responded to my photo on Facebook, posted: `` `Goona need a bigger boat.' ''

In all seriousness, show promoters are going to have to consider options for expanding next year.

With all the people coming by Stray Casts' booth, I did not get out much on the floor.

But here are a couple things I caught.

Something of note, especially for those who want to get into taxidermy, Marty Shimkus at Fish Specialties Taxidermy offers the Fish Specialties Taxidermy Training Center and has some cool mounts and neat backgrounds for his mounts.

In his booth 201, there is also fabled fish taxidermist Doug Petrousek of Douglas Taxidermy.

A faithful reader/listener/viewer (I am not sure what term I need to use in these times, Sun-Times) recommended Anubis Tactical Supply in booth 524 for their flashlights.

These are not just flashlights, they adjust the spread of the beam and have intense light in a very portable light. Papa Bruce Bergren recommended the headlamp, which he bought.

By the time I got to the booth, they were already sold out of the headlamp and a couple of the flashlights.

It's that kind of show.

By that kind of show, let me tell you about the pickle guy. Remember yesterday, I said that he told me he brought 100 5-gallon buckets of pickles to the show.

His has the busiest booth at the show, which is just down the line from Stray Casts' booth. So when I saw the line finally go down late Saturday, I went and stood in line, and it was still 15 minutes in line to get my pickles (hot garlic). By that point, they were already sold out of horseradish pickles and bread and butter pickles.

It's that kind of show.

And I would be remiss if I did not pay homage to Stray Casts' very own ``Bobby B'' Bergren up on the Hawg Trough, I believe in his first major show appearance.

Go Bobby, go.

Today is the last day for the show at the Schaumburg Convention Center. I expect another banner crowd, especially since this is more of the family or kids day.

We shall see, leaving soon for booth 14, Stray Casts.

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