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Featured Article: Show Coverage

The West's Largest Sportsmen's Expo Comes to San Mateo (Part 1-Overview)

Date: 1/31/02
Location San Mateo, CA
Admission 10 Dollars
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Introduction: Every year the TackleTour team eagerly awaits the return of the ISE show. For those who haven't been to the exposition before, it is an opportunity for people not only to see the latest and greatest fishing, hunting, and boating gear...but also a chance to really try it all out. Packed with demonstrations, hands on workshops, and dealers selling products at reduced prices, makes the ISE show an exciting event. (This is just a quick overview of the show, look for part 2 of this article where we feature the best of show products)

Impressions: When you first enter the San Mateo Expo Center grounds you are instantly overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and even the pleasant smell of barbecue. Manufacturers, dealers, and guides gather from across the country to bring their unique stories and wares to Bay Area sportsmen. While there is simply so much to see, TackleTour focused most of our attention on the fishing expos.


The ISE show featured 7 halls packed with the latest and greatest from hundreds of manufacturers, dealers, and guides.

Hands on activities: This year the ISE did a great job of giving attendees an opportunity to see and test the latest tackle personally. There were indoor and outdoor fly fishing ranges where anglers could try rods before buying them, and could even sign up for workshops to learn the basics, or advanced techniques from pros. The amount of time and instruction the pros gave to each attendee was commendable.

What the heck?! This houseboat is nicer then my house...

Watercraft: Featured in the same hall as the bass tackle were all the latest boats, including bass boats, deep v-hulls, drift boats, pontoons, and even a luxury houseboat....that was without a doubt nicer then my house. Anglers were free to climb into all the boats, row the oars, or even cozy up next to a houseboat fireplace!

Guides: You name the type of fishing and the location and chances are you can find a guide that can take you there. This year the ISE show was packed with guides and plenty of the most amazing pictures we have ever seen. One picture that really stuck in our mind was a angler in the middle of the ocean on a float tube trying to stay afloat while holding up the head of a sailfish! Sign me up for that trip!

Zander stands in front of the huge ISE Demo Tank where viewers got a new perspective on lure presentation, and actually got to see bass and trout strike lures! 

Demonstrations: Indoor and outdoor arenas were a popular spot for attendees to sit down and learn about new tackle and techniques from local fishing pros. Key to these demonstrations was actually showing attendees the lure presentation which was done via the very cool "ISE Demo Tank!" This huge tank was stocked with small to full size trophy bass, trout, catfish, and even one sturgeon! From the front of the tank pros could give in depth seminars about lures and really show how they swim, and even better....how the fish react to them!

Local Pro's share their secret techniques for fishing various lures in nearby waters


For sale: Attendees have the opportunity to purchase anything and everything related to fishing at the ISE show. Top selling items at the show were rods, reels, and wildlife art. Two of the largest local shops, Fisherman's Warehouse and Coyote Bait and Tackle came out in full force and set up complete store environments! In addition smaller up and coming manufactures of attractants, handmade lures, and flies all were selling their wares. Deals can definitely be had at the show and we found some rods and reels marked down 20-30% off MSRP.

For Kids: Parents will be happy to discover that there is an entire hall devoted to getting the next generation of anglers excited about our sport. The youth hall featured a large catch and release trout pond. In this hall kids can learn about fishing and really get involved, all without the distraction of any dealers trying to sell anything.

Conclusion: The ISE show packs a complete range of activities and products into a great exposition. More then any year before, the Expo allows anglers more access to the tackle and the pros, making the entire experience much more hands on and exciting. The opportunity to see all of latest tackle, watch demonstrations, interact with pros, and even get some great food, is definitely worth the 10 dollar entry fee. While we spent all of our time in the fishing halls, attendees with other interests will be happy to find equally packed halls focusing on hunting, camping, and even hunting dog training!

(Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article where we highlight our picks for best of show products!)  










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