Gerald Almy

Gerald Almy

While hunting seasons are still going strong, many sportsmen look forward to the fishing shows that take place in mid-winter. Two of the major events anglers may want to attend in early January are the Richmond Fishing Expo and the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival.

Both shows will take place just north of our state capital at Meadow Event Park, 15 miles north of Richmond. It’s reached by taking the Doswell, King’s Dominion Exit (98) off Interstate 95.

Let’s look at the Richmond Fishing Expo first, the largest of the two shows. We’ll run down the events and speakers at the fly fishing show in a future column.

This year’s Fishing Expo event hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 17, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 18, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 19.

Boats are an important component of this show. It offers a wonderful chance to look over the newest models in all varieties of fishing craft.

Every type of boat from kayaks to canoes, johnboats to offshore cruisers will be available to look at and step aboard. If you’re ready to buy, most of these boats will also be for sale at special show prices. Boat prices will range from less than $500 to $90,000-plus for ocean-going models replete with kitchens and beds.

Tackle will be one of the highlights of the show. Over 100 vendors will display the latest rods, reels, lines, tackle boxes and lures. Simply looking at all this angling gear is enough to draw many people to the show. All of these items will be available for sale as well, typically at discounted prices.

A Reel Kids Casting Competition will be conducted for various age groups of youngsters. Those who can cast their lure on target with the most consistency will win awards and go on to higher levels of national competition.

Young and old anglers alike can enjoy the Mountain Trout Pond, which will be filled with hundreds of healthy trout that you can try to catch with the bait and tackle provided by the show. You can either keep up to two trout to take home for dinner or release the fish you catch. These fish will range from one-half to three pounds.

Fishing experts and area guides will give presentations on a wide variety of topics, from crappies to striped bass, flounder to bluefish.

Bass Pros Buster Seabolt, Chase Devereaux, Gerald Swindle, and Wilson Frazier will be at the event talking to visitors and giving seminars about the tactics they use on largemouths. These are some of the top professional anglers fishing the tournament tours today.

Chris McCotter, an expert angler who focuses on Lake Anna, will give several presentations at the show. He’ll talk about tricks for this nearby lake’s bass, crappies and stripers. I have fished with Chris a number of times and can vouch for his deep knowledge of how to catch all of these species on Lake Anna and his concern that his clients have an enjoyable day on the water.

Well-known outdoor writer Bruce Ingram will give a talk on smallmouth bass. He’s published many articles about both deer hunting and smallmouth bass and is well known throughout the state.

Capt. 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.

Capt. Jimmy Price will reveal his secrets on how to catch giant flounder along the East Coast. Other fishing experts include John Crews, Dave Tilley, Max King, and Monk Wilson.

A feature you definitely don’t want to miss is tournament pros giving fishing demonstrations using the Oklahoma Bass Tub with large bass swimming in it.

This is by no means a full run-down on the speakers or events, but clearly there will be something for just about every type of angler at the Richmond Fishing Expo this year. All told, the event covers 110,000 square feet, encompassing four separate buildings.

Visit for more details or special lodging offerings. There are numerous motels very close to the show site. It’s about a 2 ½ hour drive from the Shenandoah Valley, just north of Richmond.

Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident.