In my position, I have accumulated a fair amount of understanding about what anglers want.
After decades of watching trends in the fishing tackle industry and sales at the retail level, I believe many fishermen simply want good equipment without having to take out a second mortgage on their house.
I used be a captive audience for Jerry Vinovich when we sat in his fishing boat. I listened to his views and stored them away in my memory.
"I'm like the rest of the people out there," said Jerry. "All I want is value for my buck and fishing reels that last more than one season."
I have to believe that statement is an anthem for fishermen.
January is the month when many of us bask in the fantasy world of the outdoors.
Year after year, it's the month that signals we have a shortened winter remaining and much to look forward to. And even if we don't get hit with a foot or two of snow, we are still "house-locked" (unless you're an ice fisherman), relegated to watching outdoor TV reruns on cable.
It is the time of the year when many of our brethren buy the fishing "tools" and accoutrements that help us enjoy our beloved sport. And we do this because there are always bargains to be had. I am the eager one, waiting for the time when I'll run into people I haven't seen for months at the Chicago Outdoors Show in Rosemont.
But there could be some dark clouds in the forecast, or one could think something smells fishy.
What's all this about, you ask?
On Jan. 23, the Chicago Outdoor Sports Show returns to Rosemont and the Donald Stephens Convention Center (www.chicagosportsmenshow.com).
This traditional, big-show venue has undergone owner and management changes. The show promoters have also incorporated shooting sports into the picture with a separate, mini-firearms section.
In an effort to bring a fresh look to this decades-old event, quite a few newer faces have been signed on to conduct seminars.
And strange as it seems, at the same time and just down the road, the American Sportfishing Association's consumer arm has its own show in Schaumburg. It's called the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel, and Outdoors Show. (www.sportshows.com)
Once before an attempt was made to hold a consumer show at the Renaissance Hotel in Schaumburg, but because of a lack of exhibitor's space failed to draw a big enough crowd, the event eventually lost its promoters and sponsors.
This time, the American Sportfishing Association and its members have decided to give it a try.
Show Director Paul Fuller told me tackle manufactures who are members of the American Sportfishing Association wanted to have this event, and the only dates available were Jan. 23-27, the same dates as the Rosemont show.
Call me a foolish pessimist or anything else that suits you, but in my book that's too much of a coincidence.
The Rosemont show is the larger of the two expositions. But I know the days of the super-huge fishing shows are a thing of the past.
Rick Rosalina is the head man for the Rosemont event, which reportedly is owned by the Outdoor Sports Group, a Met Event company on the East Coast.
Rosalina wanted to change the "face" of the show and did so by bringing in new seminar speakers, along with a squad of hard-core regulars who are pegged as good attractions.
But back to the coincidence factor.
For many years John Dauberton and Bill Cullerton managed to draw tens of thousands of eager anglers to Rosemont in the heyday of that show. It was a spinoff of the jumbo show at the Chicago Stockyards neighborhood. From my perspective, Chicago-area anglers stick with their traditions, and the big show in Rosemont is working its way back to the top of the heap with an interesting direction.
So if there is a tug-of-war next month, I say let the public be the judge.
•Contact Mike Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at www.mikejacksonoutdoors.com.