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A Weekend Of Smiles At America’s Outdoor Fishing & Hunting Show

No matter where you looked this weekend you saw something consistent throughout the show. Regardless of age or gender, or what outdoor activity brought you to the show, or whether you were an exhibitor or attendee, you eventually ended up wearing one, if not many, of these. It didn’t matter the time of day, what you had on, what side of the table you were occupying or whether you were giving or appreciating a seminar. What was it that everyone had in common? Big, healthy, happy SMILES!

Saturday Morn at America's Outdoor ShowAs we approached the Douglas E. Stephens Convention Center on Saturday, it was clear we were going to be busy – a sizable crowd had assembled and were standing in line waiting for the doors to open. There were a number of families in the crowd, and before the day was done, a number of little fishermen went home with one of 300 cane poles that were being given away. How many of us started fishing with a cane pole, a bobber, a hook and a bunch of worms? Ah the good ol’ days….

Americas's Outdoor Show - Great LayoutThe layout of the show proved excellent for handling the crowds. The aisles were spacious, and the layout reduced, if not eliminated, bottlenecks. The organizational scheme was helpful. As this show grows and loses some of its superfluous vendors, the unique layout will become even more useful. By next year the remnants of the previous management’s flea market atmosphere should be gone. This will make way for even more high quality outdoor exhibitors and vendors.

Gary Talarico & Babe Winkelman

Gary Talarico & Babe Winkelman

The seminars were very well attended throughout the weekend. Babe Winkelman and Mike Iaconelli shared a wealth of knowledge and experience in their seminars. Ike even conducted a “closed door session” with the high school fishing teams on Sunday. Jason Reynolds of Fish-N-Fetch kept large crowds entertained as he educated them in the Hawg Tank area. Jason has a unique exhibit, a 4,000 gallon mobile aquarium stocked with fish, where he teaches fishing techniques and expert dog handling.

Jason Reynolds of Fetch-N-Fish

Jason Reynolds of Fetch-N-Fish

Trout Pond - America's Outdoor ShowThe archery ranges and exhibitors were very active throughout the weekend, as was the trout pond and the numerous children’s activities. Opportunities to interact with wildlife and stewards of our great outdoors were everywhere. Among the things offered – you could see an owl or a hawk up close, handle a huge albino boa constrictor, or talk with numerous officials and experts. You could learn to tie flies, as well as how to cast them. The airsoft range was a big hit and was always busy. There was no way you could be bored at this show….unless you visited the boar exhibit. 🙂

We found ourselves uncontrollably drawn to the Grandt Industries booth, where vast numbers of their amazing, custom, American-made fishing rods were on display. The owner, Jim Grandt, and his crew of experts, were on hand to answer questions about their amazing fishing rods. This was also where fishing pro Rick LaPoint was hanging out when he wasn’t helping folks learn about the latest electronics.

Big Game - America's Outdoor ShowThere were a number of resorts and outfitters on hand, providing great info and helping folks plan memorable hunting, fishing and outdoor vacations. Whether you wanted to hunt & fish in Canada or right here at home, some of the finest guides and camps on both sides of the border were at the show. Maybe you enjoy big game hunting, or always wanted to go on a safari, people like Jim Gangler of Gangler’s Lodge & Outposts were answering questions and helping people plan their trips.

Two Bears Trading Company

Two Bears Trading Company

Personal highlights of the show….

  • Aimee found the beaver mittens she’d been searching years for at Two Bears Trading Company.
  • Mike at BaxMax introduced me to their wonderful products, making enjoyment of the show with a herniated disk possible.
  • Gary Talarico, president of LureSecure, provided the entire Moline High School Bass Fishing Team with LureSecure Lure Wraps, thus solving the problem of fishing hooks in the hallways.
  • Watching Jim Sugarman, the man in charge of the show, taking time with vendors, exhibitors and show patrons, personally making sure everyone was having a good time.
  • Being present at the trout pond when a very young man caught a fish on his cane pole.

LureSecure Lure Wraps

LureSecure Lure Wraps - The Pro's Choice

And that’s really what this show was all about – spending time with family and friends, having a few laughs, and sharing the products, services, information, knowledge and expertise necessary to help create a lifetime of memories in the great outdoors.

If you missed this year’s show, don’t worry! Next year’s show is January 26-30 at the same location. If you’re an Exhibitor and you’d like to be part of the action, you might want to contact Jim Sugarman sooner than later, because next year’s show is going to be bigger and better than this year.

LIVE From The 31st Annual America’s Outdoor Fishing & Hunting Show

Aimee Argyle | Gary Talarico | Mrs. Mongo | Mike Argyle

Antique Boats & Motors

 This post comes to you from the floor of America’s Outdoor Fishing & Hunting Show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.  Team LureSecure is here in full force – Gary Talarico/Chief Fishfinder, MongoMad & his wife, Mike Argyle of ClearStream Concepts and Aimee Argyle of Northern Shores Realty, made the trip from northern Michigan and are manning the LureSecure booth.  Both Gary & Mike are not 100% (Gary’s dealing with pneumonia and Mike started this year with a herniated disk), but there was no way they were going to miss this show.  We also brought along a few of our friends to share the extensive booth space supplied to us by the show,  Also represented in the AnglerQuest booth are Jeff Wever of Dry Hands Minnow Buckets, Bay de Noc Lures, the Curtis Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and the Manistique Lakes Tourism Board

Wildlife Taxidermy Exhibit

If you’re a fisherman, hunter or just a person that loves the great outdoors, and you’re in the Chicagoland area, you owe it to yourself to attend this show.  Although in the last few years, when the show was under different management, it may have strayed from the path of being truly an outdoors show, the new owner, Jim Sugarman, has transformed it into one of this country’s finest fishing, hunting and outdoor shows.  It truly is “new” in many respects, with displays and activities you have to see to believe.  We discuss a few in this post, but there’s no way to do them all justice, so it’s worth a click to go check out the website for America’s Outdoor Fishing & Hunting Show

Bikini Ice Fishing Team Fashion Show

It’s Ladies Day today, and as this is being typed, the Bikini Ice Fishing Team is putting on a fashion show (and they’re each wearing Fish Fashion earrings).  Nearby is the always exciting Dangerous Reptile show and exhibit.  Earlier in the day there was a deer processing and venison preparation seminar, where the audience got to sample some fine fare that was prepared with the venison.

Deer Processing & Venison Preparation Seminar


There are hunting dog demonstrations, fly and bait casting opportunities & competitions, archery demonstrations and competitions, a tent building contest, tons of activities for the kids, and it’s High School Fishing Team Day on Sunday.  If that wasn’t enough, the cool folks from Fetch-N-Fish brought in one of their 4,000 gallon mobile aquariums (complete with fish…BIG fish), which they use to put on a unique and humorous hunting dog show and a number of fishing technique demonstrations.  The Eddie Butts Band is entertaining attendees as they stroll the spacious aisles of the well-designed show space, checking out what dozens upon dozens of vendors have to offer, with ice cold beers and tasty eats in hand. 

Future Pro Having A Great Time!

The show’s advertising states “the fun is back”, and that’s truly the case.  Jim Sugarman and the show’s advisory board have put together one hell of a show, providing an entertaining and educational experience for all ages and interests.  You can hardly walk down the aisle without bumping into the likes of Babe Winkelman, Ted Takasaki, Dan Armitage, Lee Bailey Jr, Mike Iaconelli, Rick LaPoint, Dan Keating, Aaron McAlexander, Jack Penny, Darrell Baker, Spence Petros, and Jim Saric, just to name a few of the pro’s that are in attendance.  There are seminars galore and plenty of extremely helpful information is being shared. 

The “New” America’s Outdoor Fishing & Hunting Show is truly a top-notch show.  We’d like to thank Jim Grandt of Grandt Industries (makers of the finest custom fishing rods you’ll ever get your hands on), for making it possible for us to attend.  Business has been brisk at the LureSecure booth, and good for many of the other vendors.  Attendance continues to increase exponentially as we approach the weekend.  The show’s staff (including Jim Sugarman’s lovely wife ILona) is doing a tremendous job of keeping the show running smoothly, and making sure there are plenty of smiles on the faces of vendors and attendees alike. 


World Records Are On Display

So if you’re in Chicagoland, and you’re into hunting, fishing or anything that involves enjoying the great outdoors, and you’re wondering what you’re going to do this weekend, then look no further.  You need to stop in at America’s Outdoor Fishing & Hunting Show.  It’s well worth the small price of admission.

Up North with Gary Talarico – July 2009

Gary Talarico is an Editor at Fish and Game Finder Magazine. His monthly column, “Up North”, can be enjoyed by picking up a copy of this great magazine at any store that offers fishing, hunting or outdoor products, or by downloading it from their website.

We finally have Summer weather up here in the Upper Peninsula.  It was late coming and the Fall will be here too soon. The great news is the blackflies are GONE.  There is one pesky bug, however, the mosquitoes.  Now the only annoyance is the skeeters but they are fightable.  DEET, a brisk wind, the smoke off a campfire or amazingly, laundry dryer sheets help with the assault on those winged bloodsuckers.  They work just great.  I hang them from the back of my hat and wipe them on my clothes and even on my skin.  Now I know I smell like field of flowers when I use them, but my wife says it is way better than the other smells I exude. They are non-toxic, which is a good thing, especially with kids.  I wipe them on Sportt the dog as well.  As most of you know, heartworm is spread by them ‘lil vampires.  I think the dual prevention of heartworm medicine and dryer sheets will keep my best friend with four legs from a terrible disease and mucho scratching.

Now that I have mentioned my lab I can give the Sporrt Report.  With much help training from my wife and our new electronic training collar, I can happily tell you Sporrt is now no longer restricted to a cable in the yard or the end of a leash.  He sticks right next to us when we go for walks.  He is pretty much broken the habit of shooting off like a greyhound after the rabbit as soon as he free from tethers.  It is a real treat to hang out now with him outdoors.  I am truly a believer in the Cesar Millan/Dog Whisperer methods.  My wife is pretty much an expert in the methods.  The only beef I have with it is she occasionally slips and uses the commands on me.  I guess as long as I don’t have to wear the shock collar I can live with that.

Gary with 20" Largemouth Bass

Gary with 20" Largemouth Bass

The fishing right now is wonderful.  The fish are in their summer patterns now so you must search for them accordingly.  Look for weed beds and structure.  Points that jut out into the lake are always a good bet.  Submerged humps or islands are always good.  Start slow when trolling or drifting.  Fish are lazy creatures as a rule.  Speed up if you aren’t getting the bite.  This is a great time to be on the water. If you look over yonder to the right you’ll see a 20″ Largemouth Bass I caught in South Manistique Lake at dusk this past Sunday.



Up North with Gary Talarico – June 2009

Gary Talarico is an Editor at Fish and Game Finder Magazine.  His monthly column, “Up North”, can be enjoyed by picking up a copy of this great magazine at any store that offers fishing, hunting or outdoor products, or by downloading it from their website.

June is finally here! What a great month for the sportsman.  Great fishing with warm temperatures is the norm.  June is the beginning of summer.  As Mongo would say “summer good”.  I get tired of shivering.  I think the older one gets the more you shiver.  It was a long and cold winter and spring.  I shivered so much at times some of the hairs on my head wiggled loose.  At least that’s my excuse for my receding hairline and I’m sticking to it.

Black Fly Enjoying A MealUp here in the Upper Peninsula the trees have finally popped their leaves.  The only bad thing about this time of year up here is the blackflies.  The swarms are so large they look like billowing black storm clouds swirling about.  Get close to one and it will drive you insane.  The small, gnat-like flies are experts at finding ways to torture a human.  They bite too!  They can draw blood!  The bite leaves a large, itchy welt.  They know that there are 7 openings on the human head and they do their best to get in all of them.  Personally, I feel they taste like chicken.  A rottin’, sour piece of chicken that is.  I heard once that the Canadian government keeps a list of everyone driven clinically insane by the little buggers.  I believe it.  Not much deters them.  I picked up some 100% DEET.  They lick it and smile.  The only thing that will keep them from biting you is a stiff wind.

The saving grace is Mother Nature.  She sends the dragonflies to our defense.  Since I moved to the U.P. I have a new found affection for the dragonflies that buzz my yard, taking out the little devils.  I wish I could buy some.  It would be a certain purchase.
Time for a Sportt the dog report.  I have found that he likes to run.  When I say run, I actually mean fast trot away while looking at me and seemingly conveying the message “you only run using 2 legs, you can’t catch me!!”.  He is just a big nose on a neck.  A feather falling from a high flying chickadee gets him going.  I think he will get better at responding to commands.  I have to remember he was raised without any training or manners.  After living with me and my wife, who I lovingly call “Cesarella”, in tribute to her favorite show and host “The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan”, Sportt is getting better.  The only thing I don’t like about my wife watching the show is she now applies Cesars’ mantra to me as well, “exercise, then discipline, THEN affection”.  I am confident he has just selective hearing, not deaf like he sometimes would like for me to believe.  He is alot like a teenager.  A teenager that will never move out that is.
Finally, get out on the water or in the woods. It will make you happier and healthier.



Up North with Gary Talarico – May 2009

Gary Talarico is an Editor at Fish and Game Finder Magazine.  His monthly column, “Up North”, can be enjoyed by picking up a copy of this great magazine at any store that offers fishing, hunting or outdoor products, or by downloading it from their website.

I got my man dog!  If you read last months meanderings you know that my wife’s small little ball of white fur just wasn’t fulfilling my yearn for an outside companion.  It’s no fun having to watch constantly for the occasional owl or bald eagle that has mistaken your sweet lovable cotton ball for its next rabbit dinner.

So I got a 5 year old black lab, kind of a rescue dog.  I know! They shed you say.  And my wife say too!  But wait, it will be ok!  I made promises!  My new best friend’s name is Sportt.  I changed it from his given name of Spike.  He doesn’t look or act like a Spike.  He has a calm, submissive attitude with short, labby lay-down fur.  See what I mean?  My other half came up with the similar name, thought it would be easier for Sportt to adjust.  I liked it.

Now Sportt came from a non-active home setting without much in the way of manners.  Apparently, the remedial task of teaching your dog to come, sit or stay was just too much.  The good thing is both my wife and I are huge fans of ‘ol Cesar Millan, the “Dog Whisperer”.  His methods DO really work.  Sportt wasn’t getting the right diet so he is also a big lover of “Scooby snacks” and good food.  Kinda like me! Now we have this 80 pound eatin’ machine who loves to learn, especially when it involves a tasty treat.

Here’s the thing.  I had a yellow lab years ago.  Kiko turned out to be one of the best duck dogs in Northern Michigan in the eighties and early nineties thanks to my pal Danny.  I have always loved labs.  I had forgotten everything! I forgot how much they eat!  Furball eats the equivalent in dog food to the amount of peanuts I grab out of a bowl to pop in my mouth.  Sportt eats a big dog bowl of dry food lovingly laced with some dog delectable canned fare twice a day plus a goodly amount of biscuits.

You should see what Sportt leaves for me in the yard by the lilac bush to pick up, one of my promised daily chores, especially with a easterly wind.  Their HUGE!  The friend that hooked me up with Sportt wanted me to stop on the way home the day we picked up my new pal.  Sportt thanked him by leaving the biggest thank you I have ever witnessed.  I should have taken a picture. It was a two tripper when I gaggingly cleaned it up.  Sportt must have been saving that one for a special occassion.

I am about out of space for this month so I will close with this advice.  Make yourself feel better. If you have a dog, go hang out together for a while.  If you do not have one, try to get one.  You’ll live longer and happier! We’ll talk more about my promises and Sportt in next months column.



Up North with Gary Talarico – April 2009

Gary Talarico is an Editor at Fish and Game Finder Magazine.  His monthly column, “Up North”, can be enjoyed by picking up a copy of this great magazine at any store that offers fishing, hunting or outdoor products, or by downloading it from their website.

I want a man dog.  The kind of pal that likes to go for rides in the pickup.  A dog that goes gaga over a partridge in the fall aspens.  I want a dog that likes to sneak onto your lap while you’re watching the Red Wings win The Cup.  I know.  I know.  I am just plain partial to the Winged Wheel.  Sorry Buckeyes, Hoosier or Cheesehead types.

Back to my dream dog.  There are lots of great dogs that fit the description but my wife has a requirement that I better heed or I will be mending my own clothes like back in my bachelor days.  I must say though, my sewing skills first learned in sailor boot camp have kept my clothes functional, if not downright stylish, over the first four decades of my life.  Navy guys learn early to mend their own clothes, we are not like the groundpounders who find the most feminine of their group to do the sewing.  Before all you soldiers loudly protest, it’s just what I heard!  Well, my darling says my new puppy can’t shed.  I guess it’s a rule if you own more than 10 bolts of fabric.  Since my wife’s fabric bolt count rivals my fishing lure total I have to listen.  As a guy I never thought about not getting a dog because he sheds.  Heck, if you look in our shower you know that somebody in the house heavily sheds.  For the record, I usually keep my hair cropped close.  Not so much for vanity reasons, I just sweat alot.  You shouldn’t get rid of your wife because she sheds, right?  I mean, if my dog sheds after he moves in, what then?  Don’t they make some sort of brush or vacuum for doggie hair?  I am sure I could train my ‘ol hair hater to use such a device.

So this is my dilemma.  I guess there are a couple of options but they have names not usually associated with manly men like me.  Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, Gladyouradoodle, where does it end?  I heard of the latest breed to be recognized, a cross between a Jack Russell terrier and a Shih Tzu.  The problem is they tend to have a inferiority complex.  So what am I going to do?  I want a man dog.

Don’t forget that a new fishing license is now due as of April 1st.  This is great time to also pick up some new hooks and such.  This action alone will help get the economy rolling again.  The new items will then motivate you to get out the tackle box and clean & organize, sharpen hooks and just plain fondle the wares in anticipation of the next opener of your fancy.