Saltwater fishing show a big success
The New England Saltwater Fishing Show was a big success this weekend. Steve Medeiros, president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (risaa.org) said, “We had a line of 600 people waiting to get in Friday that stretched from the ticket office at the Convention Center all the way to the hotel.” And, on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. (an hour after the show started) the line I saw had about 400 people in it.
Medeiros said, “We sold out booth space (over 300 exhibitors) a month before the show and we won’t know formal attendance numbers until we get a report from the Convention Center but it is sure to be record-breaking.” More than 15,000 people have attended the show in the past.
Here are a few exhibits that caught my attention at the show.
Matt Bosgraaf, manager of The Kayak Centre of Rhode Island, Wickford, said, “After taking a few years off we returned to the show and are glad we did.” Halfway through the show on Saturday the Kayak Centre had already sold four boats. “And, you never know who is going to walk through the door in the next month or two and say ‘Hey we saw you at the Fishing Show and want to buy a Kayak.’ That’s the way it works.”
Kayaks and paddle boards are one the fastest growing segments of boating with peddle kayaks being the craze and boats being tricked-out with fish finders, electric motors and much more.
Sunday Kayak Centre owner Jeff Shapiro said, “To gain more awareness and walk in traffic the Kayak Center plans to open at a new location this summer in the old Ryan’s Market on Brown Street in Wickford.” The Centre still plans to launch boats on Wickford Cove but the new location should generate additional exposure (they also have a summer location in Charlestown). The Centre offers kayak lessons, paddle board and kayak boat rentals and sales with such brands as Feel Free, Old Town, Wilderness and Native Watercraft. They also sell gear and wear for kayakers including lines such as Patagonia, and offer fishing seminars and events through their partner Ocean State Kayak Fishing. Visit the Kayak Center at kayakcentre.com.
Grainer Pottery of East Sandwich, Mass. creates hand-made ceramic fish. “We make over 100 different species of realistic ceramic fish, made to hang on the inside of a home as wall décor. Owners Caroline and Lauren Grainger said, “Our products have a lifelike feel because we make plaster molds from real fish and hand-press clay into the molds. We make realistic ceramic fish of all major New England species plus a variety of southern, tropical and freshwater fish. Visit graingerpotterysandwich.com.
Bill Hurley Lures are custom made with lots of sand eel oil. “Traffic at the show has been great," Hurley said. "I almost wish we sold the lures at the booth but we distribute them through bait & tackle shops such as Goose Hummock Shop, Fisherman’s Line and Falmouth Bait & Tackle who are at the show. The soft plastic lures are designed to mimic sand eels and are made with pure sand eel oil that is injected into the plastic and then the inside of the bag and lure are coated with sand eel oil when packaged.” Adults and children attending the show were mesmerized by Bill’s fish tank display of the lures working in the tank under simulated current conditions. The lures danced in the tank as water and pushed past them. The lure features Mustad jig hooks that are guaranteed not to fail when fishing for striped bass. Hurley Lures’ new lure called a Canal Deep Water swim bait is designed to mimic a herring, Atlantic menhaden and/or a sand eel. It will soon be available in 6, 5 or 3.6 once sizes. Visit codandstriperlures.com.
Cheeky makes both fly fishing and spinning reels in bright green and blue colors. This Arlington, Mass. company has been designing and building reels for six years and were one of the first manufactures to use bright colors to construct reels. Ted Upton, CEO of Cheeky said, “Our multi-disc drag system is one of the most distinguishing features of our spinning reels. Our SaltForce aluminum frame and body and machined carbon spin spool keeps the reels strong and light weight.” The CYDRO line was on sale at the show for $100 (normally $129). It is available in 3500, 4500 and 5500 model sizes all at the same price. Upton said, “We are happy at how the reels did at the show and what was surprising was that we had just as much interest in our fly fishing reels as we had with our spinning reels.” Visit cheekyfishing.com.
Harbor Light Software cofounder Fran Karp said, “Knowledge is power and having good, accurate, real-time data collecting of fishing data for fisheries management is what Harbor Light Software delivers to fishermen and fish mangers. This show allows us to share with recreational anglers the software we have developed and are implementing on the east coast for the commercial and for-hire charter boat industry. Many of these same initiatives could be adopted to work for recreational fishing.”
The advantage of collecting accurate data is that fishery biomass, catch and effort are more accurately estimated. If we have better data fisheries are managed more effectively so we can grow them to abundance so there are more fish for all to catch.
The company’s FishNET software is its first application to collect real time catch, effort and biological data electronically. Today the software is accepted by NOAA in select areas as the software of choice to speak directly to the ACCSP data warehouse offering commercial fisherman and charter boats the opportunity to file their Vessel Trip Reports (VTRs) electronically saving hours of paperwork and providing fish mangers with more accurate data. Visit harborlightsoftware.com.
Dave Morton of Beavertail Rod & Reel said, “We are now getting into repairing kayak peddle systems too.” The North Kingstown company does reel cleaning as well as rod and reel repair. They take apart reels, clean all pierces and then reassemble the reels. Morton said, “We can modify and customize reels for anglers of all types including people with disabilities enabling them to fish or fish more effectively.” The company replaces guides and tips on reels too and can be found at beavertailrodandreel.com.
Capt. Dave Monti has been fishing and shellfishing for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at noflukefishing.com.