For the 21st year, Florida Sportsman magazine will host the popular Florida Sportsman Expo the weekend of Oct. 12-13 at the South Florida Fairgrounds.
Visitors will be treated to a huge indoor “three-ring circus” of events for anglers, boaters and outdoor lovers. Each day brings fishing seminars from the region’s best experts, along with a 100-foot indoor cast pond, a kids’ casting pond and free prizes, hands-on rigging tables set up for 80 people at a time, free fly- and net-casting lessons, and the newest lineup of tackle, gear and boats for 2014.
“It’s a great chance for everyone from beginners to experts to pick up added skills and take advantage of show specials on boats, tackle, gear, gadgets and accessories,” Expo Director Doug Kelly said.
An added attraction each day is a free drawing for all attendees for a 42-inch TV donated by the Sportsman Channel. Editors from Florida Sportsman will also be on hand to greet visitors, along with many Treasure Coast TV, newspaper and radio personalities.
“We anticipate a jam-packed hall again this year with rows and rows of goodies,” Kelly said. “It’s the perfect opportunity to save big on Christmas presents.”
One of the displays will be a super-charged swamp buggy that’s sure to get the phone cameras clicking. Inshore and offshore boats of all sizes will be available at show prices. Four seminar stages will be going on simultaneously, with presentations on the Rhodan Inshore Stage and the Cortland Offshore Stage by Capts. Dave Justice, Mark King, Mark Nichols, Terry LaCoss, Stan Jarusinski, Eden White and Danny Barrow, Darryl Miele, Mike Dixon, Betty Bauman and Dr. Ray Waldner.
A partial list of the inshore and offshore stage seminar topics include: how to slow-troll live baits, rigging for smoker kingfish, tricks with downriggers, offshore fish-fighting techniques, new techniques with GPS and fish finders, targeting trophy snook, best tactics for fishing plastic lures, bass fishing basics, top methods to fish bridges and piers, the ABCs of kayak fishing, advanced kite fishing and latest local hot spots.
A favorite show attraction is the Riggin’ it Right Academy sponsored by Fins Tackle. Groups of up to 80 anglers at a time take turns sitting at tables with all supplies and tackle provided for free. Florida Sportsman experts Capts. Rick Ryals, Johnny Cassara, Tony Bozzella and Matt Davis give individualized, hands-on instruction on properly rigging the baits and lures that work best in the region.
In only minutes, even a novice can learn how to effectively throw a cast net in the cast-net pit with Capt. Terry Sturgeon. Those curious about fly fishing will receive free casting and fly-tying instruction at a 100-foot indoor pond. All the ABCs of kayak fishing are discussed and demonstrated with renowned authority Peter Hinck. Capt. Larry Finch discloses little-known tricks to better fish piers, bridges, jetties and beaches. Kids have their own events at a hookless spin-cast pond hosted by Carol and Bob Moran with free prizes provided by Zebco. There’s even a free kids’ face-painting booth by Tony Ryals, the famed quadriplegic artist who paints using just his mouth. The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will display exhibits of interest to boaters and hunters, and the Florida Sportsman Grand Slam Tank, a 500-gallon mobile saltwater aquarium will be on display.
Tickets at the South Florida Fairgrounds box office are $8. Kids 12 and under with an adult are admitted free. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct 13. For more details, see the current isssue of Florida Sportsman or visit www.floridasportsman.com/expo.