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Up North With Gary Talarico – February 2010

Gary Fish Finder

I want an avatar, that mythical carbon copy of myself. It would be great. Just think how cool that would be. “Honey, what chores on my list will you be working on today?” would be answered with what females love to hear “what ever you want!”. While Gary Avatar slaves away cutting the grass, cleaning the basement or painting the sewing room, Gary Fish Finder could be out drowning some worms or makin’ noise with one of my guns. Gary Avatar could sit in when forced to share a meal with that guy, gal or couple that makes your jaw hurt from grinding the ‘ol molars. Gary Fish Finder could accomplish many things fun and then have Gary Avatar do the dirty work, like gutting the deer and huffing it out of the swamp. Having your own avatar would be a hoot.

February. What to do? Fishing is hit or miss this time of year. Go deep is my advice. That’s where the fish are. Coyote hunting can be a real challenge. Want to see more deer or flush more grouse? Go shoot a coyote. They are probably the hardest Midwest animal to bag. Wile E Coyote didn’t get that name from being slow on the uptake. What else?  Show season!  A “must attend” this weekend is Outdoorama in Novi. Stop by Booth 5651 and say “hi” if you get a chance.

See you on the water, out in the woods or at the show!


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.

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.

17th Annual Ice Fishing & Winter Sports Show – Day 4 December 6, 2009

Aimee & I rolled out slow on this fine morn – it just felt like the kind of day you ease into. After all it was Sunday. Those devoted to the “religion” known as ice fishing were at the doors at 10 am, ready to check out all that was new in the industry, learn new techniques and run into their fellow parishioners.

We chose this day to walk around and check out what was being offered by our fellow show attendees, and make acquaintances with industry leaders and pro’s. We were amazed at the ingenuity, inventiveness, and usefulness of some of the products on hand at the show. We were well received by some of the established names in the business, and the pro’s were more than happy to spend time with us.

Gary Talarico/LureSecure | Ted Takasaki/Lindy

As Gary strolled the show floor, he took a few moments to introduce LureSecure Tackle Pouches and Lure Wraps to a few of the pro’s in attendance. Here he is trading fishing secrets with Ted Takasaki of Lindy Lures. Ted does a great job of representing Lindy and was definitely a presence at the show, demonstrating Lindy’s newest lures (like the Darter) and chatting it up with the masses.

Gary also spent a few minutes with one of the most well known pro’s in the business, Brian “Bro” Brosdahl, who was holding court at the Frabill area. Gary & Bro discussed LureSecures and the ice fishing industry for a short spell. It’s nice to be in an industry where the leaders in the sport are so accessible to the masses, and interested and willing to help them become better at the sport.

Action Trackchair

It never ceases to amaze me the innovation showcased in this industry, and this year was no exception. Tracked vehicles were big at this year’s show. Models from Arctic Cat, Polaris, and Kubota were being shown, just to name a few. Of these “vehicles” some of the most interesting were those from Action Trackchairs. These chairs are aimed at “helping the disabled to be enabled” and were obviously built for maximum mobility, durability and comfort. For some, vehicles like the Action Trackchair are the key to getting out in the field, deep into the woods or out & about in the winter.

In the area of fishing gear, I was most impressed with the Dry Hands Minnow Bucket, Illuminator lures from Herrick Tackle Corp, the Cobra Ice Rod system from Fish-A-Way LLC and the Ice Hole Warmer from Fishing Innovations.

Dry Hands Minnow Bucket

I’ve discussed the Dry Hands Minnow Bucket earlier, so suffice it to say it’s a unique method of dispensing minnows as you need them.


The Illuminators contain a water activated, micro-sized LED in a jig head covered in glow paint. If fish can’t find these lures, they’re blind.

Cobra Ice Rod

The Cobra Ice Rod combines interchangeable rods in various actions, all in a format that keeps your tackle off the ice, out of the water and prevents it from disappearing down your auger hole.

The Hole Warmer

Although I initially stopped by the Fishing Innovations booth for a picture to send to a friend, as I studied the Ice Hole Warmer I realized it was a great idea. It prevents your auger hole from icing over and comes in a compact package. Clearing slush buildup out of your holes is now a thing of the past.

Another unique product who’s time has come is The Biffy Bag, made my LEDO Environmental, LLC. Imagine, a compact, Personal Disposable Toilet System that provides the perfect solution to answering the call of nature without soiling the environment. It provides an odor-proof containment system, wiping materials and is partially biodegradable. The best part is, you don’t need a bucket, commode and any other equipment to use The Biffy Bag. It’s totally sanitary and convenient, thus keeping you hunting, fishing and outdoors longer, without contributing negatively to the environment.

These are just a few of the innovations I spotted at the show. There were so many useful, advanced and avant garde ideas I could go on for pages. One thing is for sure, the show and the products shown there were well-received by those who attended. It’s my understanding the show enjoyed record attendance. I know we did well, and the rumors on the show floor were some ice shelters, ice augers, rods, reels, lures and accessories had sold out. It just goes to show that in an economy where budgets are tight, people will still spend money on activities that require minimal investment, yet provide long-term, cost-effective leisure time with friends and family.

The show ended at 5 pm, which meant it was time for all attendees to tear down their booths, pack up it up and head for home. If you’ve ever worked a trade show, or anything like this, you know this part of the process can be bedlam. Doesn’t matter the show or the venue, there’s always tired souls, confusion aplenty and lots to do in very little time. To make the most of our time, Gary and the girls tore down and packed up the LureSecure booth, while Mongo and I grabbed the trailer and headed back to the River Centre.

Once there, however, we found ourselves amidst an unusual tangle of traffic. Just to make things interesting, there was the Jingle Ball, which was then to be followed by a Brad Paisley concert in the adjoining Xcel Energy Center. Young girls were running here and there after being dropped off by their parents, their parents were trying to get close to the auditorium (or get the hell out of there) and those of us from the Ice Fishing & Winter Sports Show were trying to make our way into the loading dock area. You get the picture, it wasn’t pretty.

We finally got the trailer into position at the loading dock and packed it up in record time. We tucked the trailer away for the night and headed back to our rooms to relax. Another great meal and plenty of laughs were enjoyed at the Great Waters Brewery Co. that night. Then we tucked ourselves in for a good night’s rest. And we needed it, for the long trip home was ahead of us the next day.

All in all, the 17th Annual Ice Fishing & Winter Sports Show in St. Paul, Minnesota was a great show. Our product launch for LureSecure Lure Wraps went well, we had a great time, and we got there and back safe and sound. I have no idea how long I slept the day after getting home.

Up North With Gary Talarico – December 2009

This was one strange firearm deer season here in Michigan. The lack of snow in November was unusual and not really a good thing for most hunters after the wily whitetail deer. Deer just do not seem to be active in this kind of weather. The worse the weather gets it seems the more they move in search of food.

How they handle hungry deer elsewhere…..

I must admit it was kinda nice hunting without heavy outerwear. It’s not every year one can hunt in comfort without shivering. In the past I have shivered so much the screws on my glasses loosened and fell out. One defense against shivering is the luxury of a heated blind. This year I was invited to a camp in the eastern Upper Peninsula with a bunch of great guys and very nice “hunting condos”. One even had a cot for if your eye strain from scouring the landscape got to be too much and horizontal rest was the cure.

I was super excited to be at the camp, so much I came a bit bleary eyed from lack of sleep the previous night due to extreme anticipation. I arrived at camp 5 days after the opener. In the morning I was directed to a blind perched on top of a hill that overlooked swampy hammocks for as far as the eye could see. The great thing about hunting the U.P. is if you desire, you can hunt where you are and guaranteed you won’t see another hunter. There are miles and miles of public and paper company land available if you aren’t lucky enough to have access to private acres.

At first light I was greeted by some of the most beautiful scenery a man could ask for. It felt and looked “deery” if you know what I mean. I know the deer were there as another new friend, Tom, bagged a big eight point out of the very same blind 2 days earlier. Tom’s trophy was a heavy beamed swamp buck with a typical type rack. I was hopeful.

At 10:10 AM my buck walked out of the swamp, nose to ground. A few days earlier Bob, the camps gracious host, had poured a new scent, Deer Beer, right were the buck was headed. When the buck came to the scent location he stopped, still with his nose to ground. I took the shot. A second after my Sako .30-06 launched 180 grains of lead at the deer he was down. A couple of kicks and he was still. The 5 point buck was mine! My heart pounded loud. I thought to myself “Thank goodness for my heart medicine” and waited patiently, although mentally painfully, for 15 or 20 minutes to exit the blind and head back to camp to get the help of Bob and his ATV.

I firmly believe there are fewer hunting health related problems with the invention of the 4 wheel drive ATV. If I had to drag that buck through the swamp and up the hill a couple of nitro pills were probably in my future. Thank you Bob! That night Bob’s brother Bill, the camp cook and other wonderful host, put out a feast of Tom’s venison tenderloin and Bob’s bear tenderloin along with all the trimmings. It was just fantastic. I can’t wait until next year to go back. The comraderie and great hunting is truly a blessing.

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.

Up North with Gary Talarico – September 2009

Wow. It’s fall up here in the north woods. I saw red leaves falling. It gave me the shivers for a second. I had a flashback to snow shovel in hand, shivering. Up here in the Upper Peninsula it was the summer of no summer. It was generally cool or wet or both. I do look forward to the fall activities though. Grouse and squirrel hunting. Fantastic fall fishing. Bow deer season. Turkey hunting. Lots of excuses not to rake.

grousegunswoodsI have to get on the ‘ol soapbox for a few minutes. If you don’t want to hear about loss of your liberty, turn away. Better yet, give this magazine (or the address to this blog post) to another sportsman. Here’s the deal.

It seems that President Obama’s homey in Chicago, Representative Bobby Rush, has introduced a bill in Congress to take more of your gun rights away. It is called the Blair Holt Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009, better known as HR45. It would require all gun owners to apply for a 5 year license to own a firearm. It would require current gun owners to apply for a license to keep your gun. No license, no gun ownership. You would be under the whim and authority of the Attorney General. That Attorney General, by the way, is the same Eric Holder who wants to prosecute the interrogators that got information from terrorists that kept us safe for the last 8 years. Is that the guy you want deciding whether you get to own a gun?


There would be a tax on every firearm you own and purchase in the future. Every 5 years there will be a re-application fee (tax). Remember, the anti-gun zealots will keep trying to get guns out of the hands of us law-abiding gun owners. Criminals will always have guns, they do not go to gun shops or shows, fill out the ATF forms and submit to the system. They buy their guns illegally. No gun has ever killed a person, people kill people. If you take away the guns and rights of law-abiding citizens, only the criminals will have guns.

It’s time we band together and act like patriots, not sheep. Do not let the socialist wish list of the liberal progressives get passed into law by a congress that has a slobbering love affair with Obama’s vision of a socialist nation. Call, write or email your Congressmen and Senators with your opposition to HR45 and the other pending legislation that will be bad for our country.

And don’t forget…



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.