41st HOUSTON FISHING SHOW PRIMED FOR GREAT FISHING
A mild winter and an early spring are opening the doors to another great fishing season across southeast Texas. No major freezes along the coast protected inshore fish, and water readings already in the mid 60s are encouraging early shallow-water activity in freshwater lakes and ponds.
And, not coincidentally, the 41st annual Houston Fishing Show will open its doors Wednesday, March 16, for a five-day run in the George R. Brown Convention Center. The show, regarded as the largest consumer exhibition of its type in the country, will fill the entire 200,000-square foot Exhibit Hall A with fishing-related booths.
New rods, reels, lures, lines and accessories will be on display, many backed by guides, pro-class anglers and factory representatives. On-going fresh and saltwater seminars will be conducted daily, and Saturday and Sunday will feature the free Kids' Casting Clinic. The clinic, sponsored by Plano Tackle, the Two of Us Bass Club, and Fishing Tackle Unlimited, will give tackle boxes to all participants, and the young casters can aim for additional prizes.
Houston-based Fishing Tackle Unlimited is the largest tackle retailer in the nation, a major accomplishment and testimony to the popularity of fishing in southeast Texas. FTU's huge display floor will feature new gear from most of the big names in the industry. Bargain deals are available on select items _ a good way to stock up for the coming year.
On the subject of bargains, Hook Spit's large display of tackle will offer a line-winding booth. Show visitors can bring their own reels (no limit per person) to be filled for one cent per yard for mono, or five cents per yard for braid.
The big show typically boasts public unveilings of new items, and this year's extravaganza is no exception. Shimano is showcases two new casting reels. According to regional Shimano representative Hughes Andry, the compact Curado 70 features super-fast gear ratios. The 70HG is 7.2/1, and the 70 XG is a blazing 8.2/1 (approximately 32 inches per revolution on a full spool). The little reels weigh only 6.5 ounces, available in right or left hand models.
Shimano's new entry-level Caenan 150 is another switch-hitter retailing for just under $100. It has a functional 6.3/1 ratio. The pepped-up 150 HG is 7.2/1. Both spool approximately 90 yards of 14-pound mono.
Mainstream Marketing will be showing the 13 Fishing casting reels. Mike Haring said the low-profile reels are available in three grades, A, C , and E. A new entry-level low-profile Inception model also is available.
Mainstream also carries the hugely popular L&S Bait Company's lures. Among this star-studded, speck-catching lineup are the various MirrOlure and Corky models. Haring said new offerings include the C36MR, a hard-plastic plug, and Paul Brown's Soft-Dog. The latter is a floating soft-plastic dog walker, sure to be a heavy hitter in the trout market this spring.
Daiwa remains a major player in the reel market, and regional representative Jimmy Clapp will be backing several low-profile casting models. The new Daiwa Coastal is available in two grades, and either promises to chunk a new Soft-Dog far across the nearest flat.
The smaller, lighter Tatula CP also will be on display.
Clapp added that Daiwa has new open-faced spinning reels with a magnetic oil system to prevents salt from reaching the gears and bearings. The top-end Ballistic 2500 and 3000 models are expected to be big hits for light-line (less than 10- or 12-pound) inshore use.
PRADCO carries at least 15 major line of lures, but representative Russell Garner is mainly pushing Bomber at the show. The venerable old Texas company was famed for early bass crankbaits (old timers might recall Floyd Mabry, the "Crankbait Wizard"), but their crossover to saltwater remains strong.