And the countdown begins. With the close of the Richmond Bass and Saltwater Fishing Expo this past Sunday night, so many of us have started to count down the days to the 2019 show already. I know that I am one of those who can’t wait. This year, while there was a slight drop in sporting good dealers, there were also some new players who made their way to Richmond. And there were so many fan favorites back again.
This year was another great year in my opinion. I got to meet and talk with so many amazing people. And I got to see some amazing new products for this year. It is a time of meeting up with old friends and finding some great deals. It is also a time to take in the many seminars offered for both freshwater and saltwater anglers. We as anglers are all always looking to learn something that will help us in our fishing adventures. We are always looking to improve ourselves.
Every year I always look forward to the presentations by some of the top Elite Bass and FLW anglers. This year was no exception. The 2017 BASS Elite Angler of the Year Gerald Swindle was back again this year. He was here in 2016, and once again made a huge impact in the lives of others. And fellow BASS Elite Angler Jonathon Van Dam made his first appearance at the Richmond Expo. One of my favorite, and local BASS Elite angler, John Crews was back again this year. A surprise was FLW Pro Angler Wesley Strader at the Powell Fishing Rods booth.
While so many think of the Expo as an angler event, it is also a great place to bring the family. With the Casting for Kids events and the Kids Fishing Pond for trout, the very young can always have a great time. One of the most exciting moments is watching a small child hook into a fish. Yes, some really love the catching, but some just aren’t the fish holding type, yet. But it is a great time to let them experience the thrill we get when we hook into a fish.
Rods, reels, wooden lures, jigs, crankbaits, line conditioners, boats, jerky, and so much more can be found as you wander down the aisles. Everything looks great to someone. We all want to see so much there. Sometimes we pass a booth with a glance, and miss a golden opportunity. I’m guilty as charged. Every year I pass by the booth that Bruce Ingram has, usually because he is off giving a seminar. This year I got to meet Bruce finally. What a true wealth of knowledge about Virginia and its fisheries. I have found that I miss too much each year, and I leave the show wanting more.
We all want to see the big name companies there with a booth. And so many are disappointed, not because of what is there, but by what isn’t. By staying away, we don’t show them that the numbers are there to support them being there. We keep comparing what once was to what is here now. We forget that we are so lucky to have such an awesome event every year. It can’t grow if we don’t support it. One thing is for certain, Virginia has some of the best companies here. From jigs and soft plastics to custom lures, we have so much to offer. And the Expo is the place where we get to meet these companies.
Dreams, dreams of a young child wanting to meet the big anglers they see on television and online. Dreams of shaking their hands and asking them about how they can become better anglers. Dreams of one day becoming just like them. The Expo is a place dreams can come true. Sometimes, we find that we have become too big to dream. But, I’m still a kid at heart. I still dream about the what if, even if the adult side of me says its too late. But it’s never too late, to learn and grow. And with each show, I grow wiser. But the kid in me never outgrows the thrill. Have you lost it? Have you let the kid inside you grow old?