Outdoors Notebook: Fishing Expo this weekend

‘Hillbilly’ TV stars among attractions

CorrespondentJanuary 10, 2013 

With temperatures in the 70s forecast for this weekend, fishing fans might be tempted to spend time on the water.

But many will spend time exploring the Bass and Saltwater Fishing Expo being held Friday through Sunday at the State Fairgrounds at Raleigh.

More than 100 companies will display products – baits, lures, tackle, apparel, publications and electronics – and services in more than 150 booth spaces, and more than 20 marine dealers from the coast to Greensboro will display boats.

“After about three years of a really flat economic situation, the marine industry is showing some great rebounding – last year and this year. The dealers are stocking more products now than they were,” said Les Gray, vice president, treasurer and show manager for Southeast Productions of Greensboro, which conducts the annual event in Raleigh that begins the boat show season in the region.

A big draw is expected to be the TV duo of Skipper Bivins and Trent Jackson, stars of “Hillbilly Handfishin’ ” on Animal Planet. They will appear at the expo for the first time. “They’ll be at the show Friday and Saturday for a meet-and-greet sponsored by the Raleigh Area Chevy Dealers,” Gray said.

Also new this year, visitors can share tournament pros’ bass boat experience in the FLW Chevy Ranger Simulator. “It is basically a Ranger boat that you climb in, and it’s kind of like a NASCAR simulator, where you feel like you’re driving,” Gray said.

The expo is a good place to get to know fishing organizations. Young anglers might be interested in the N.C. State Basspack or the East Carolina University Bass Fishing Team. N.C. BASS will operate the Kids Zone with casting contests, casting tank and other activities. The Fishers of Men National Tournament Trail will have a booth, as will the Raleigh Salt Water Sportfishing Club.

Hours will be 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 9-7 Saturday and 10-5 Sunday. Admission costs $8 for adults, $7 military and seniors and $5 ages 6-12. Ages 5 and under get in free. Admission covers all three days with a return pass. Buy tickets at the gate or at ncboatshows.com.

Stripers will be topic: Club member and striped bass expert Rusty Dunnavant will be the guest speaker when the Raleigh Salt Water Sportfishing Club meets on Jan. 15.

The club meets at the N.C. State University Club on Hillsborough Street between the Beltline and the veterinary school. Meetings are open to the public. A buffet meal is available at 6:30 p.m., and the program starts at 7:30 p.m.

Learn more at rswsc.org.

State officially getting hatchery: The McKinney Lake National Fish Hatchery in Hoffman will become property of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, according to a Jan. 3 commission release.

On Dec. 28, President Obama signed a bill transferring ownership of the warm-water hatchery from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The facility produces more than 130,000 harvestable-sized, 8- to 12-inch channel catfish a year to stock public waters.

Learn more on the fishing page at ncwildlife.org.

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