Visiting the Spring Fishing and Boat Show
The Toronto Spring Fishing and Boat Show took place at the International Centre in Mississauga Feb 14-17 2014. As a WFN Top Ambassador I attended the show to see the latest and greatest gear and products from some of the biggest companies in the industry. I was also on hand to check out the WFN booth and meet with Mark Melnyk, the host of WFN's "Guided".
The show opened to the public at 12pm on Friday and there was a large crowd lined up at the doors well beforehand. Each guest, upon entry, received a bag with an issue of Just Fishing magazine, a special offer from Outdoor Canada, a show guide, and a Boater's Guide, courtesy of the CSFL. There were 2 halls available to guests, the second containing the pontoon boats and a rock climbing wall. Two stages were used to present seminars and product demonstrations by the likes of Big Jim McLaughlin and JP DeRose. Later in the afternoon Chef Beny tantalized the audience with a walleye cooking demonstration.
An array of vendors were selling fishing apparel, electronics, gadgets, baits, lures, lodge packages and other items geared towards the outdoors loving shopper. Many of the brand name companies that anglers are familiar with were well represented at the show. I spoke to representatives from several companies to find out was was new and exciting for 2014. Live Target is excited to be unveiling the new line of Bait Ball lures, which are anatomically correct crank, jerk, and top water baits that are crafted to replicate a swimming school of bait fish. The effect is not unlike the Alabama rig, but much easier to cast and maneuver. Live Target is also releasing a Sucker lure specifically for pike and muskie anglers that comes in 8 1/4 and 6 1/4 lengths.
Humminbird had many electronic devices on display, even going so far as to have a life size boat tricked out with the latest in angling electronics. The friendly and approachable staff were pleased to talk about the new model 859 sonar unit that has come down in price to a very affordable $750 and includes the mapping card. At the Angler's Choice booth, I spoke to the owner, Dave McCready about his new line of Kill Shot soft plastic baits. The scented drop shot bait has just been released and is named "Reno's Magic" in honour of celebrity angler Reno Viola. I spoke to Mr. Viola, who expressed his approval and support of the bait, saying that he uses them and endorses them....and he does so for free. Rolly Beenen of Rovic Rods showed me his line of custom made rods, featuring Microwave Guides. A fascinating technique that gives the line guides a beautiful iridescent sheen, yet is so hard that a metal file taken to the guide will leave it smooth and unharmed.
Alongside the vendors were lodges offering fishing packages, government and environmental groups passing out information useful to anglers, and several angling associations. Front and center in the main hall was the OWAA, the Ontario Women Anglers Association, which is a newly launched group formed specifically to help bring more women into the sport of fishing.
All the major marine dealers had their newest models of boats, engines and trailers on display, including Lund, Tracker, and Legend. A paddle pond was set up for kayak demonstrations. A trout pond was available for children to try their luck, as well as fly tying and fly casting lanes. A Kid's Zone was set up in the Pontoon and Power Boats hall, making this event truly family friendly. Those who attended the show will have left feeling like spring, and the open water, can't possibly come soon enough.