As usual, the 2013 edition of the Fred Hall Show in Long Beach, CA truly lived up to it’s billing as “The ultimate outdoor experience”. From the moment my fishing buddy and travel partner for the day, Mark “Chief” Torrez, and I walked in the door of this massive show that inhabits every single inch of the Long Beach Convention Center, we were immersed in a sportsman’s nirvana. From hunting, to camping, to travel, to boating, and of course fishing, there were countless opportunities to indulge one’s outdoor passions. Whether you want how-to seminars, new equipment displays, incredible bargain shopping, or quality entertainment, you will find plenty to pique your interest.We strolled the myriad aisles of fishing equipment manufacturers, distributors and vendors checking out the latest wares, picking up needed (ie wanted) items as we went, and chatting with many of the familiar faces that we encountered … saltwater legend Capt. Mike Gardner, Ronnie Kovach sidekick Sergio Fainsztein , and Pure Fishing mainstay Bob Hoose, to name a few. Then we came across an old friend from Fred Hall Shows past, a guy I refer to as the So Cal Saltwater Rock Star, Abu Garcia Pro and guide Capt. Jimmy Decker. If you ever want the lowdown on the ocean action south of Pt. Mugu, this is the guy you want to talk to. Needless to say, if you are ever in the Newport Beach area and want to catch some fish, jump on board Jimmy’s vessel for a guaranteed good time. I had just finished reacquainting with Jimmy when I turned around to see the Yo-Zuri booth, manned by regional manager Christopher Bishop. Being a part of their Pro Staff, I was very interested to hear what the near future had in store for Yo-Zuri fans. You’ll be happy to know that several new additions are in the works for both their lure and line offerings. I also lamented with Chris that the color offerings really could use something akin to the Threadfin Shad that inhabit most of California’s famous reservoirs. That’s when he showed me the latest color combination added to the Rattl’n Vibe line … Ghost Pearl Blue (GSPB). While not an exact Threadfin representation, my initial results are very encouraging. He also promised to pass along the Threadfin suggestion to the “proper authorities” … and since So Cal is a big target for the company, we can expect it not to fall upon deaf ears! Chief and I didn’t walk much further before happening upon our mutual friend, the nicest guy in fishing and the host and namesake of the Jarrett Edwards Outdoors fishing show, as seen on WFN and the Sportsman Channel. While hearing about his new baby boy and updating each other on our fishing and personal lives, another Fred Hall regular popped over to join the fray after one of his seminars on the tank … Bobby “Frog King” Barrack.
After an intensive discussion regarding the tenuous California water situation, we made a few more quick stops, including one with finesse fishing Godfather Don Iovino (who we almost didn’t recognized clean shaven and minus about 50 pounds!), and the obligatory stop at Rick Grover’s Angler’s Marine display. Unfortunately, time constraints didn’t allow us to stick around for the Fishing Hall of Fame induction presentation to the legendary Mike Folkestad. Nor were we able to cover the entire show in our allotted time. But, that’s just how huge the Fred Hall Show truly is.
For those of you saying, “Sounds great, Cave. But, now we have to wait until March 5-9 2014 to check out this incredible show!”, I remind you that the the San Diego edition runs this Thursday through Sunday (March 21-24) at the beautiful Del Mar Fairgrounds. And, yes, it is well worth the trip!