While it may be bitter cold out and hunting seasons are winding down, there are still plenty of things for the outdoor sportsman to do during mid-winter. Among the most popular activities for this "off season" is visiting the many fishing and hunting outdoor shows throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
One of the biggest of those devoted strictly to fishing will take place at the Farm Bureau Center at Meadow Event Park, 15 miles north of Richmond. This is located at the Doswell, King's Dominion Exit off Interstate 95. The show is called the 2014 Richmond Fishing Expo.
Hours of the show are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan 19. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors. Those 6-12 years of age get in for $5, while children under 5 are admitted for free. Admission is good for all three days if you get a return pass.
A huge selection of boats will be on display at this event, which is put on by North Carolina Boat Shows. Everything from kayaks to offshore cruisers will be available to look at and step aboard. Most will be for sale at special show prices. Whether you want a basic aluminum fishing boat for a few hundred dollars or a $20,000 fiberglass bass boat, you'll find it here.
That's also the case for the fishing tackle. Hundreds of displays will showcase the latest rods, reels, lines, tackle boxes and lures. Just looking over all this gear is enough to draw many people to the show. But there are plenty of other attractions as well.
A Reel Kids Casting Competition will be held for various age groups of youngsters. Those who can cast their lure on target with most consistency will win awards and go on to higher levels of national competition.
A Mountain Trout Pond will be filled with hundreds of healthy trout. You can either keep them to take home for dinner or release the fish you catch. New this year, scrappy channel catfish will also be swimming in the indoor pond, adding to the excitement.
Speakers will give presentations on a wide variety of topics, from catfish to largemouths, flounder to red drum.
Bass Pro David Fritts will be at the event for all three days talking to visitors and giving seminars about the tactics he uses on largemouths.
Monk Wilson will also be at the show. He's an author and guide who uses multiple rods for crappie fishing, employing a technique called Spider-Rigging. In states where it's legal he sometimes sets out 16 rods at a time to catch the tasty speckled perch.
Mike Jones is an expert at plastic lure fishing and will tell his secrets for catching big bass on these offerings. He mostly guides on Virginia lakes and rivers, but during the summer leads clients to Canada for multiple-day outings.
Chris McCotter, an expert angler I've fished with several times, will also speak at the show. Chris is one of the best guides in Virginia. He's extremely patient with his clients and a good teacher. He'll talk about tricks for Lake Anna's bass, crappies and stripers--his three favorite gamefish.
Outdoor writer Bruce Ingram will also give a talk. He's well known in the state for his deer management articles and smallmouth fishing expertise.
Local angler John Hutchins, of Warrenton will also be at the show. He's a tournament pro with several wins under his belt, including one on the Potomac River.
Pofessional angler Wilson Frazier will give a seminar on lures and bass fishing. He makes his own crankbaits by hand.
Catpain Rick Bennett will give a talk on inshore light tackle fishing. He'll cover red drum, black drum, flounder and trout, as well as Bonita, king mackerel and cobia.
Captain Jimmy Price will reveal his secrets on how to catch giant flounder along the East Coast. Other fishing experts include John Crews, Dave Tilley and Randy Howell.
This is by no means a full run-down on the speakers, but its clear there will be something for just about every type of angler at the Richmond Fishing Show this year.
Visit ncboatshows.com for more details or special lodging offerings.
Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident.