WOODS, WINGS & WATER: Houston Fishing Show kicks off Wednesday
March 3, 2013 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated March 2, 2013 at 9:03 p.m.
Like the budding of new green leaves on trees, the 38th annual Fishing Show, set for Wednesday through Sunday at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, is a rite of spring.
The recent cold snap has made for chilly fishing, but the center offers a warmer option and pleasing substitute until the sun warms the shallows.
Larger by some three dozen exhibits this year, the show is the place for the fishing and marine industry to launch their latest product lines.
Show producer Dave Holder says this year's event includes more than two dozen new lure makers and a marked increase in the number of rod manufacturers displaying their graphite.
Shimano continues to be the industry leader in baitcasting and spinning reels. Most everyone remembers the bold and gold Calcutta reels that brought baitcasting to a new level almost 20 years ago. Now, Shimano introduces the "next generation" in round reels in the new Calcutta D series.
Shimano Curado's low-profile design debuted in 1994 and has undergone several overhauls. For years it has been - in my opinion - the best money value in the baitcasting lineup. The 2013 models have been revamped again with High Efficiency Gearing and Variable Brake Systems.
Abu Garcia is betting on its redesigned and lighter Revo Inshore series of reels, which are even more saltwater resistant than previous models. The new design and frame materials shaved a full ounce off overall weight of the reel yet resulted in increased strength.
Revo MGXtreme is Abu Garcia's latest low-profile reel. A whispery 4.9 ounces, MGXtreme pushes the limits of engineering and design. Equipped with a 10-bearing system, MGXtreme could be the company's smoothest ever.
"I'm excited to see so many rod companies in this year's show," said Holder. "All the traditional companies are well represented, like Shimano, American Rodsmith, G Loomis and Castaway, and there are several new ones. What's really encouraging is that there also are quite a few custom rod makers in the show."
Waterloo, a popular Texas-owned rod maker out of Victoria, will be on hand as well to offer its new HP Slam and more affordable Salinity line of spinners and casters.
Expect to see all the popular lure manufacturers as well. Be ready to load up on all the "good" colors that seem to disappear from tackle store shelves when fishing is hot.
The Fishing Show has boats, too, including the latest in shallow-draft hulls all the rage now for hunting Texas' incredible population of redfish. Watch for boats and boat lines rarely seen outside Florida.
There are also kayaks at the show - plenty of them. Fishing Tackle Unlimited will have the latest models from Hobie, Jackson, Wilderness Systems, Native Watercraft and Perception.
This year's show features guides and outfitters from Port Isabel to the Chandeleur Islands. Take advantage of their presence to compare packages and rates then throw down a deposit on a prime weekend or week. Many outfitters offer discounts to clients who book their trips at the show. Be sure to ask.
This year's seminar schedule is packed from start to finish with some of the best in the industry. Specific times, topics and presenters are available daily at the door. Check that roster as you enter the show or go to the event website (houstonfishingshow.com) to schedule your trip around a favorite outfitter or guide.
Show hours are noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $9 for adults and $2 for children 6-12.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (firstname.lastname@example.org).