If you’re a saltwater fisherman, you don’t want to miss this weekends Saltwater Fishing Expo held annually at the Garden State Exhibition Center in Somerset NJ. Here you’ll see and learn about the latest in saltwater fishing technology, gear, boats, marine equipment and advice from saltwater captains plus a myriad of fishing techniques. It is the largest saltwater fishing show north of Miami, Florida.
While there are many niceties, one feature of the show is that it offers angling products that are not available in retail stores, catalogues and web sites. Custom lure makers will make specific ones and color schemes while you wait, or have them ready for you before you leave the show.
If you’d like to learn how to correctly throw a bait net, you can do so free of charge at the show. If you’re looking to buy a boat, the Boatyard will have a large compliment of inshore and offshore crafts in addition to several ocean kayaks that are outfitted for fishing.
In past years the show always featured an array of experienced saltwater anglers and captains and one year it featured the famed and late Jose Wejebe of the Spanish Fly TV show. An overflowing crowd was there to meet him and learn as he shared his fishing techniques while taking questions from the audience. It was standing room only for this Shimano spokesperson and Key West fishing guide.
This year, Tod Alberto, show manager, said showgoers won’t be disappointed as he has booked Crazy Alberto Knie, New Jersey’s own Capt. Al Ristori, Bill Carson, Dave Schunke, Roy Leyva, Lou DeFusco and Keefe Vallaro, all popular and knowledgeable personalities that will present seminars on a variety of saltwater fishing species. Here’s but a sampling of what is being offered:
North East Canyon Deep Dropping for Swordfish and Big-Eye Tuna with Capt. Lou DeFusco (courtesy of Shimano); Maximizing your Fishing Electronics with Humminbirds’ Bill Carson; Raritan Bay Stripers with Capt. John Kollas; Cast Net Demo with Capt. Frank Crescitelli and the Fin Chasers TV crew; Surf Fishing the Northeast; How to Target and Catch Big Blackfish; Bluefin Tuna Tactics by trolling, jigging, chunking and popping; Offshore Canyon Fishing; Bucktail Doormat Fluke Fishing; Shark Fishing the Atlantic; Trophy Hunting and Advanced Tactics for Big Spring Stripers; How to Make the Most of your Inshore Trips and Rigging Secrets for Multiple Species; Bermuda of the North – Fishing Block Island, and many more saltwater angling topics.The aforementioned are on stage throughout the three-day show that runs from Friday, March 18 through Sunday, March 20.
Sunday has been designated Family Day and as such, the first 100 kids under the age of 11 and accompanied by an adult through the doors will receive a free Plano tackle box. For kids and adults, the Fishing Simulator is back. Sit in the fishing chair, grab the rod and reel and feel the pull on the line and watch the fish jump as the simulator simulates a big fish on your line as you watch the action on a large screen TV.
Show hours are Friday, March 18 from 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday, March 19, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, March 20, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $3 for children 5-11 while children under five are free. A portion of the shows’ proceeds go toward the “Keep America Fishing Initiative, which is a campaign dedicated to keeping our nation’s waters open, clean and abundant with fish. And if you don’t like standing in line, tickets may be purchased online at www.sportshows.com. The three-day seminar schedule is also on that site.
To get to the Exhibition take I-78 from Allentown to I-287 and get off Exit 10 in Somerset, NJ. Driving time from the Lehigh Valley is approximately and hour and change.