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1/6/2010

OK, I have to admit it. I am a bit snarky at times.

This is especially true when it comes to people who are always in the rah-rah mood with their uber-optimism pouring over into every conversation you have with them. I find an awful lot of these people tend to be at the various outdoor and boat shows we all will be attending this winter.

Normally, I avoid these venues like a kid avoids vegetables. I only show my mug when I have business obligations. However, my tune has been changing lately regarding these events.

Recently I've been drifting in and out of memories from my youth and all of the outdoor shows I attended when I was a young angler. I had a great time back in the day.

The shows during the height of the recreational fishing industry in the 1980's were jam-packed with industry heavyweights — Al Lindner, Jimmy Houston, Roland Martin, Bill Dance, all of the legends were giving seminars at these events. It was awesome! I went. I saw. I learned.

Over the last 10 years or more we've all seen many outdoor and boat shows shrivel in size and attendance and the seminar schedules have all but disappeared.

Sure, there are so many more outlets now to get your fishing fix. ESPN has some of the finest outdoor programming you'll ever view. The Internet is packed with info to feed your fishing hunger. The monster retailers are like permanent outdoor shows, but though these are all wonderful fixes, they still aren't the outdoor show experience.

This snarky grump has a New Year's resolution to head back into the outdoor show mix, even if it's with skepticism. Solidify your resolve and go to the shows.

Check out the deals. The more you support them the better your odds will be to have these shows stick around. Where else can you meet your favorite fishing heroes in person?

Check out the deals on the boats, if you want one and can afford it, buy that boat this year. The deals will be sweet since so many marine dealers at these shows have a ton of non-current new inventory.

And if your wife asks why you just spent your hard-earned money on a new boat, you can tell her you are helping the economy, saving the fishing industry and thereby helping the greater good of the entire nation.

The more we support the shows, the better they will become. Make some memories that will keep you smiling even through the coldest winter. Head to your local outdoor and boat show, spend what you can afford and keep this tradition alive. Heck, bring a pie-eyed kid along with you and share the memories.


Dave and Kristin Landahl host The Fishing Fanatics, www.TheFishingFanatics.com, radio show on ESPN radio affiliate AM 1360 WLBK in northern Illinois Thursday evenings from 6-7 PM Central time. You can also tune in to hear The Fishing Fanatics at www.1360wlbk.com and check them out at www.walleyecentral.com