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Featured Article: Show Coverage

TackleTour heads to Long Beach, CA to cover the Fred Hall Fishing Tackle & Boat Show (Part 1-Overview)

Date: 3/12/03
Location: Long Beach, CA
Event Dates: 3/5-3/9
Admission: Adults: 10 Dollars 
Kids 15 and under: Free
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Introduction: The arrival of the Fred Hall show in Southern California marks the 57th time this huge event comes to the West Coast. Aside from the exciting new reels, rods, watercrafts, and lures, you have the opportunity to learn many new things from professionals, manufacturers, and also to share fish stories with fellow anglers. Besides fishing tackle the show also features other recreational outdoor sports such as hunting and camping, and you have a chance to purchase gear at great discount prices. Part 1 will overview the show while Part 2 will contain TackleTour's picks for Best of Show products.

Impressions: Each year Fred Hall & Associates produce an incredible show for their attendees, and they did it again in 2003. The Fred Hall Fishing Tackle and Boat Show in Long Beach, California tops the past years' performance by introducing new seminars, new manufacturers, and still bring back what anglers were partial to in the previous shows.


The Fred Hall show is so popular that every isle in the Long Beach Convention Center is packed with excited Anglers


As hundreds stand outside the entrance eagerly awaiting the doors to open, anglers talk about long fishing trips, their biggest catch out in the ocean, and even the ones they lost. As the doors swing open, people scramble in to see what the show has to offer. The first thing to do is grab a show program, then sign up for contests, and of course wet your lips with an ice cold beer before spending hours and hours walking the many isles at the convention center.


The Fred Hall show is situated in the Long Beach stadium and convention center, where people have the chance to see and buy what's new for 2003. The one thing anyone will notice is the large amount of boats being displayed at the show. Each location of the show features a great deal of floor space dedicated to both freshwater and saltwater boats, the majority being saltwater since most people enjoy sportfishing for big game down South. 


A wall over 20 feet long filled with replicas of all types of fish.  Robert's Fish Mounts will reproduce your catch as long as you provide them with the specifications.  It's a great way to practice catch-and-release and still have your prized catch mounted on your wall


Showcased Products: If your arms and legs aren't getting tired, then you simply need to get more involved in this show. Browsing hundreds of manufacturers and displays, you ought to be exhausted. As with other shows, Anglers have the opportunity to try out new tackle, ask any questions that one might have, and then move over to the dealers where you can purchase products at "show special" prices. Since the Fred Hall show is in Southern California, its main target is saltwater Anglers. Many booths are specific to saltwater applications with heavy duty lures, rods, reels, watercrafts, and boat accessories for the ocean monsters. But don't let the saltwater tackle overwhelm you if you're a freshwater person. There are still many manufacturers there that have all the right gear that will please your needs, especially in the Bass Zone.


An incredibly large amount of fishing tackle can be found at this show.  Can you find yourself battling that huge Marlin from one of these luxurious fighting chairs?


Demonstrations: A show isn't complete unless it had seminars for Anglers to learn new techniques, share secrets, ask the pros questions, and of course to rest your tired legs from walking through over a hundred booths. There are four big seminar locations at the Fred Hall show. First the Bongo Sportsfishing Stage where you can hear about fishing big game in exotic destinations, hauling in massive tuna, and meeting the very fashionable Bongo Girls (which was by far my favorite part).


The Bongo Stage is one place many gathered around to listen and learn.  And to check out the Bongo girls


Another great demonstration was the Fly fishing theatre.  Here you can learn how to float tube in the bay safely, learn the basics of fly fishing from the basics to proper casting mechanics, and how to land your first fish on the fly, as well as hear about some sweet spots to catch beautiful trout. In the far back end of the convention center are the fly casting pools where experienced fly fishers will teach you the correct motions to casting that line farther then ever before in preparation for trips to the Eastern Sierras as the opening date in April nears.


The next location is the Bass Tank located in the Bass Zone.  The Bass Zone is new to the Fred Hall show for 2003 and is heaven for bass Anglers. The Bass Zone has its own modest space that showcases bassin' tackle of all types. Scents, reels, rods, fishing line, lures, and accessories, all aimed towards the sport of bass fishing. At the Bass Tank you will hear from many pro Anglers on different bass fishing techniques, secrets to winning tournaments and simply catching more bass. Have you heard the saying that 20% of the people who fish catch 80% of the fish? Well after listening to these pros you will be armed with the information to put you in that elite percentage.


The Saltwater Tank demo area features many talks and secrets on big game


The last main area for seminars is the counterpart of the Bass Tank, but for saltwater. In front of the Saltwater Tank are seminars given on downrigging 101, fishing the coast of California, and the secrets of surf fishing, just to name a few.


And if that's not enough for you. There's more! Bring your Shimano reels to the Fred Hall show and get them cleaned and tuned, or at least learn how to maintain your reels to keep them in optimal condition. Shimano experts are on hand to give advice, cleaning instructions, and show you the necessities of keeping your prized reel in top shape.  Also if you're into hunting there's two shooting simulation screens at the Laser Shot. One can blast away targets using various weapons ranging from pistols to full on rifles. Lastly if you are looking for new and simple recipes to cook your catch, don't miss the Sporting Chef seminars where one can learn how to cook up a meal in minutes.


Watercraft: They don't call this the Fishing Tackle AND Boat Show for no reason. This show has a great number of boats displayed, and that's the first thing you will see as you walk through the entrance. Boats from many different manufactures and dealers are present to sell, book test drives, answer any questions related to watercrafts. There are many boats for the freshwater guys, while there is an even larger amount of watercrafts for the saltwater fishermen ranging from smaller 17 inch to massive boats for those long fishing trips out in the ocean.


If boats are what you came to the 2003 Fred Hall show for, you are in luck.  There are many boat dealers and an enormous amount of freshwater and saltwater boats being displayed


Besides that there are smaller personal watercrafts such as kick boats, canoes, inflatables, and something that's becoming quite popular, kayak fishing.  All these alternative ways to get you on the water, and each manufacturer displays their own accessories to make each fishing trip more enjoyable.


Deals on Tackle: After you finish playing with some of the latest tackle and getting all your questions answered by the manufacturers you can head over to the many dealers "show stores" to purchase what gear that you liked the most, and at lower then retail prices.  Most dealers will display "show special" prices on some gear and shouldn't be missed because some are a real steal. And if they didn't have discounted prices, manufactures like Albackore will give you $25 worth of goods if you purchase their tackle bag and bring the receipt back as proof of purchase. So either way, you leave the show happy with some of the latest offerings and with money still in your wallet.


Bring the Kids: Who said fishing shows can't be a family event?  Once again Berkley sponsors the Kids Fish Free Trout Pond located outdoors where children 15 and under can often land their first fish. Each day ten lucky kids can win a $25 Berkley gift certificate when fishing at the pond. New for 2003 are two more events for kids. The West Marine Video area will have a fishing simulation computer program for kids and their parents. This will surely catch your children's attention and have them not just dreaming but actively involved in the virtual event. To further help our future Anglers develop skills needed to be a successful fishermen, Izorline hosted a seminar to teach kids the fishing basics from casting to learning basic fishing knots.


Treasure Hunt: Did someone say treasure hunt?  Where? How? This year G. Loomis sponsored a treasure hunt. Attendees gathered clues at different Loomis locations throughout the show and can win one of many fantastic  prizes.  The prizes that were given to winners are of course G. Loomis rods, an albacore trip fishing on the Cherokee Geisha, a 5 day trip on the American Angler, or even an exotic Amazon trip fishing for ferocious Peacock bass.


How about towing your boat with one of these?

Conclusion: To most Anglers attending the Fred Hall show is already a treasure in itself. This huge Fishing Tackle & Boat event located in the Long Beach Convention center features a large assortment of fresh tackle that one can really get their hands on.  Aside from catching a glimpse of all the new tackle, one can also indulge on the enormous amount of information given at numerous seminars. The addition of the Bass Zone and the Fly Fishing casting area is just the latest successful attempt in adding value and innovation to an already popular event. And like always, Fred Hall is the only show in the world where 50% of the proceeds go directly to non-profit organizations that are aimed towards fishing and outdoor recreation. All of which add up to a event that is not to be missed by any anglers fortunate enough to attend this mammoth gathering of fish crazed sportsmen....just like us.

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










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