With two simultaneous outdoor sports shows vying for attendees and loose change this weekend, the show-going public may have a tendency to scratch its collective head and wonder why?
Well, we know the reason -- there just isn't an adequate cure for the ills of a winter-time angler.
If you goIf you want to experience the great outdoors without getting cold, then you'll want to check out the shows in Schaumburg, Rosemont and Chicago this weekend:
Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo
What: 2nd annual sportsfishing show featuring the newest equipment, travel spots, boats, fishing tips, more than 100 exhibitors (including guides, lodges, and regional agencies), tackle manufacturers, local fishing retailers, and almost 100 boats.
When: Today through Sunday. Hours: noon to 8 p.m. today; noon to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Schaumburg Convention Center, 1551 N. Thoreau Drive, Schaumburg
On the web: www.sportshows.com/chicago
Tickets: $12 for adults; $3 for children ages 5-11; free to children younger than 5; $2 discount at website. Sunday (Family Day) with kids 11 and younger free.
Schaumburg show highlights:
•The Hawg Trough: A 5,000 gallon fish tank loaded with large mouth bass. Top pros will demonstrate the best lures.
•Northern Illinois Raptor Center with specialists in birds of prey featuring a live Great Horned Owl, a Barred Owl, American Kestrel and Red Tail Hawk.
•Fishing Simulator; Boatyard; Fly Fishing Pavilion offering retail, manufacturers, guides, and a learning center with casting demos, seminars and fly tying experts.
•Travel Pavilion with more than 100 fishing travel/family vacation destinations.
•Family Day events on Sunday: Kid Scavenger Hunt; BASSMaster CastingKids contest; free Plano tackle boxes for first 100 children age 11 and younger who attend Sunday's show with a paid adult.
Seminar and demonstration experts
Kevin VanDam, all-time Bassmaster Tournament money winner; Mike Iaconelli, former Bass Angler of the Year winner; Brandon Palaniuk, a favorite on Bassmaster, plus Mark Zona, Dave Mercer, Marianne Huskey, Jim Saric, Dave Kranz, Joe Bucher, Jay Anglin, Dustan Harley, Marques Green, Denny Sands, Mark O'Neill, Mike Frenette.
Chicago Outdoor Sports Show
What: The Chicago area's largest and longest running outdoor sports show featuring dozens of fishing and hunting seminars each day along with several new family-friendly attractions and hundreds of vendors and exhibitors
When: Today through Sunday. Hours: 2-9 p.m. Thursday; 2-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont
On the web: www.ChicagoSportshow.com
Tickets: $12 at the door and $10 online. One ticket gets access to both the outdoor show and the gun show. All children ages 11 and younger admitted free with a paid adult. Half-price tickets for seniors, scouts, servicemen and students.
Rosemont show highlights:
Exhibitors will offer deals on fishing tackle, boats, archery, outfitters, wildlife art, hunting supplies, charters, canoes, kayaks, gun safes, knives, taxidermy and more.
•3-D Archery Range and Tournament allows archers to bring their bows to compete.
•Musky panel featuring Spence Petros (National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame member), Bob Mehsikomer (NFWF Hall of Fame), Ranger Rick of Guides Choice Pro Shop, and Chain of Lakes Expert Chris Taurisano.
•Fire & Ice Expo showcases products for mancaves, camp sites or back yards.
•American Fly Fishing School led by captain Mike Corblies.
•The Hawg Trough, a 5,000-gallon bass aquarium for fishing demonstrations.
•Mark "Uncle Millie" Millis, hunting expert co-host of "Deer City, USA" will be conducting crossbow hunting seminars.
•Other experts include Mike Mladenik, top smallmouth expert and fulltime guide in Wisconsin; Tommy Skarlis, touring walleye professional; Kip Campbell, host and owner of Red Arrow TV.
•Historical Fishing Display featuring old fishing equipment and memorabilia.
•Kids Zone, a special area with a learning center for the next generation, as well as a kids casting, trout pond and more.
Chicagoland Gun Show & USA Gun Safety Conference
When:Friday-Sunday at the Stephens Convention Center; Hours: same as Chicago Outdoors Show on those days; Tickets: One ticket gains access to both shows on same day.
Strictly Sail Chicago
What: The Midwest's only and the nation's largest indoor "All-Sail" boat show. This four-day sailing event features the latest the industry has to offer, including the newest boat designs, sailing gear, accessories and hardware on display at the more than 250 exhibiting companies.
When: Today through Sunday; Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Navy Pier's Festival Hall, Chicago; On the web:www.strictlysailchicago.com
Tickets: $12 for adults on weekdays, $15 on weekends. Children age 15 and younger free with a paid adult. Two-day ticket is $25for any two days when purchased online only. A $25 Family Pack includes two adults and two children any day when purchased online only.
Highlights: In addition to equipment and boats, check out the interactive seminars and hands-on learning for new sailors and experienced sailors.
• Gary Jobson, president of the National Sailing Hall of Fame, will offer his America's Cup recap on Friday and Saturday.
At dailyherald.com, Mike Jackson previews the outdoors shows.
That aside, my radio show co-host A.J. Paul and I will try our best as wander the aisles of the Chicago Outdoor Sports Show in Rosemont, todayday through Sunday, looking for some of the more unusual items that may be sold in various booths.
"Do you think the guy with the aluminum welding rods will be there?" Paul asked.
I guess A.J. was referring to the pitchman selling aluminum bars that could be melted and used to fix all kinds of household breaks and owies.
I don't think his wish will come true, but I purposely shifted gears and started a conversation with him about the common thread that binds all of us together and keeps us emotionally starved for mythic never-ending fishing and hunting trips.
In the past, I've addressed a specific behavior that tends to happen at these shows. It's a kind of rapture, bordering on speaking in tongues. Once a fisherman hits the front door of an outdoor show, those individuals are no longer in possession of their souls.
Anyway, here we are, another winter and yet another time to make decisions as to where Jack and Bud will catch walleyes and crappies in the coming months.
Even though Illinois lacks the ambience of old-line muskie haunts in northern Wisconsin, the numbers of local and area muskie hunters have begun to place more emphasis on Illinois waters and the ever-increasing probability of nailing a big toothy one. You will have that opportunity to explore that option at the Rosemont event.
I have been fortunate to have fished all over the world, and yet some of my biggest thrills came when I caught several 6-pound smallmouth bass on the Menomonee River east of Crivitz, Wis. I was with guide Mike Mladenik, who moved to the north country from the Chicago area more than 30 years ago. Mike will be in his booth at the Rosemont show. But that's just one element of this massive event.
Outdoor communicator Jim Crowley will moderate a muskie panel, including Hall of Fame angler Spence Petros.
Bow fishing has become an increasingly popular aspect to our sport, especially on the Illinois River. Stop and see the bowfishing exhibit and learn about how easy it can be for you to partake.
Walleye super-pro Tommy Skarlis and television's Bob Mehsikomer, the Minnesota muskie fanatic, are just two more of the top seminar speakers on hand.
See the If you go fact box for hours, times and more information.
Back for more
The Schaumburg Convention Center will host the 2nd Annual Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo, which opens Thursday and runs through Sunday.
The show boasts speakers such as big-time bass money winner Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli, Mark Zona and many others.
Attendees will also have a chance to purchase fishing tackle, boats and motors, and book a fishing vacation, with lots of activities for kids as well.
Checkout the If you go fact box for details on tickets, highlights, show hours and more.
•Contact Mike Jackson at email@example.com, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at www.mikejacksonoutdoors.com.