By Louie Stout
Next weekend’s Michiana Boat & Sport Show will feature the usual displays of new boats and outdoor equipment, but the focus will be on youth.
The show opens Friday, Jan. 24 at the South Bend Century Center and runs into Sunday. Hours are 2-8 Friday, 10-8 Saturday and 10-4 Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults and free to youths 13 and under.
“We’re making a concentrated effort to expose fishing to more youngsters,” said show promoter Dale Brindley. “We’ve built a strong seminar program around fishing targeted towards young anglers.”
Those efforts are being provided show promoters, boat manufacturer Alumacraft and Clear H2o Tackle owner Darrin Schaap.
Alumacraft Youth Fishing Ambassador Dave Schueck will provide a seminar on youth fishing and will be in the Fay’s Marina booth at other times during the show.
Schaap will do a program that involves his three children, Brooke, age 15, Cody 10 and Caleb 9. The youngsters will offer a kids perspective to fishing including how they got involved and what they enjoy most about it.
In addition, Walkerton school teacher and pro angler Andy Buss, fishing expert Kerry Fry, and Michigan Bass Junior Champion Remington Barkley will appear on the seminar schedule as well.
Brindley said the speakers will discuss personal experiences and answer questions from youngsters and adults.
The Western Michigan University Bass Fishing Team will be available in the Clear H2o booth to talk about fishing opportunities available to high school and college students.
“We’ve had good response from clubs like the Michiana Walleye Association and area businesses to help expand interest among youths and family fishing,” said Brindley. “We’d like to see high school fishing clubs take off here the way it has in other parts of the country.”
Brindley and Schaap said they hope school officials will take a hard look at youth fishing programs that can be implemented in school programs.
“Show me a kid who has developed a passion for fishing and I’ll show you a kid stays out of trouble,” said Schaap. “The high school and collegiate fishing programs offered today are great incentives for kids to further their education and become better anglers.”
It all starts, added Schaap, with a grassroots program.
“Dale and I hope to create some excitement among kids and their parents during the show,” he said. “With enough youth and parental interest, we can do some cool things here in Michiana.”
In addition to the fishing seminars, there may not be a better time to buy a boat than next weekend. More than a dozen boat dealerships will be offering deals on pleasure boats, fishing boats and pontoons.
You can also book a Lake Erie charter fishing trip, plan a Canadian fishing trip, or visit with Indiana conservation officers and non-profit conservation clubs. A few small tackle manufacturers also will be exhibiting their products.
If archery is your sport, Ground Zero Archery will offer an indoor archery tag for youths and adults.