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updated: 1/22/2014 7:29 PM

Double the fun as show season reaches its peak

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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.

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, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at

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