Below are some notes and things that caught my eye or readers/listeners/viewers recommended on Day 1 of the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo.
Twice I did tours of the show floor. Here are some things of note.
Jim Templin at FISHTECH (booth 526) proudly noted, ``We are the largest guy who carries the local stuff.''
And they had a nice variety of locally made things.
New and making its first show appearance are the Mammoth Rager, an eye-catching muskie bait by brothers Ben and Dave Albano. They are carpenters by trade and make the baits of Mammoth Custom Lures out of Algonquin.
I may do a story on them later on them they make cool stuff and seem interesting.
Another local product of note at FISHTECH are the Muskie Attacker bucktails made in Plainfield. The company was originally started by Tony Krizek and his father in 2000. Notable is that their ``Frenchie-sized'' bucktail is the hot bait for muskies at Busse. The buctails come in five sizes, eight standard colors and five custom colors.
Krizek also does Tony's Spot On Fishing podcasts.
Larry Conn in the Plano/Frabill booth (227) said there was so much new stuff that he hadn't seen some of it before he unpacked it for the show. Frabill has a roomier ice-fishing tent--Citadel--out, which actually feels civilized rather than clastrophobic; the Guide Series wraps bag for plastics is back; actually there is a good bit of new in the Guide Series line.
KIDS NOTE: Plano has a neat stop for young kids (or for their parents) with a ice fishing hole set up to fish with magentized washers for ``fish.'' If you have young ones, you know the value of that.
Captains and husband and wife--Gary ``Turbo'' and Beth Mol--of Dunlap's Fishing Charter Service on Lake Erie out of Marblehead in Ohio had the coolest prop.
It is the kind of prop that I think serves a good role at shows.
``Turbo'' was out casting from shore on Christmas Eve and landed a pair of 10-pound walleye.
They are on ice at the show and in front of their booth (707) and what I would call impressive.
A couple rows over is the Slip Lock Bobber system (Clearly Outdoors booth 415).
This is pretty cool and they are easier to use than the ordinary slip bobber. There is a show special of $10 for three bobbers and two packs of stops, 32 stops in total.
It is worth a stop to watch and buy.
One of those gadgets that makes sense after you see it operated is the Skinny Dipper (I can't find the booth number).
It is a kind of tool for scooping water while ice fishing or keeping beverages cold or checking ice deptsh and some uses I will let inventors Steve Hall (guy with the Skinny Dipper on the right) and Sheila Keeton explain. It sells for $19.95 online, but they are running a deal at the show for $15.
Busiest booth I think was the pickle booth (booth 17). It fascinates me: the draw of the guzzied-up cucumber.
As for today (Friday), Mike Iaconelli headlines the show, which runs through Sunday at the Schaumburg Convention Center.
The Stray Casts booth is 14, which is immediately to your left on the wall as you come in.
Pat Renwick and I are the primary people manning the booth, though ``Bobby B'' Bergren is just a few booths away at the Shimano booth and pops in regularly. We had a good flow of people past our booth and stopping to get info on the debut of Stray Casts Cartoon Outdoor Television on Feb. 24 or just to talk.
Here's Pat hanging with the roaming Cast Crew guys on opening day Thursday.