January Boat Shows – Schools – Seminars For Carolina Anglers

Yes it’s January, but don’t put your fishing in the freezer until spring.  There is a lot of fishing activity here in the Carolinas during the winter – even if it doesn’t all involve casting a line or working a lure. There are also typically a surprising number of opportunities to cast and troll during January.

There will usually be a day or two a week and sometimes more days the weather is nice enough to see what might be interested in a lure worked slowly across a creek mouth or along the edge of an oyster rock deep in a coastal creek.  Of course, there is also the possibility that wind, rain or freezing weather may dictate doing things other than braving the elements. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m at a point I go fishing to enjoy it, not to prove I can best the elements. Oh, I’ve been fishing when the water off the line was freezing in the line guides on the rod, but the bite was hot and I was younger.

The typical inshore winter fish are puppy drum and speckled trout.  Stripers join them in some areas and occasionally a flounder gets hungry and feeds too.  Fishermen that prefer the offshore blue water to the inshore brown water should also have a few days the weather window opens wide enough to make a trip to the temperature breaks at the edge of the Gulf Stream.  They expect to find wahoo and blackfin tuna, plus occasionally receive a surprise visit from a wandering yellowfin or dolphin and even a rare winter billfish.

When winter weather shows up to cancel or postpone your January fishing plans, don’t despair.  It may not involve launching your boat and wetting a line, but there are options.  Some of these options are the boat, fishing and outdoor shows that are popular across most of the US.  These can be a lot of fun, help pass the time, get you jonesing for new tackle or a new boat and more.

There are differences in the shows.  Boat shows feature boats.  They will typically also have accessory booths and maybe a few fishing booths, but boat shows dedicate the majority of their space to dealers displaying the latest in shiny gel coat, aluminum and plastic.  Yep, fishing kayaks and SUPs have become very popular and many dealers display them at boat shows.

Fishing shows or expos are designed for fishermen and highlight fishing.  There will be some boats and boating accessories, but most of the floor space will be for booths of fishing tackle, rods and reels and fishing accessories. There is a mixture of new products and super deals on remaining 2018 stock and closeouts.  Most fishing shows also include seminars featuring a mixture of nationally recognized fishermen and local experts.

Outdoor shows and expos combine all outdoor sports.  Most are heavy with booths of equipment and there are deals for savvy shoppers. There will be fishing, plus hunting, hiking, camping, mountain bikes, rock climbing and more.  Some also have boats and kayaks, four wheelers and more. Most outdoor shows include seminars from experts on all the sports represented.

Attending one of these shows isn’t near the excitement of setting a hook and hearing line being ripped from a reel, but they are miles ahead freezing feet and soaking cold rain. Putting in a few hours at fishing seminars can help shorten the fishing learning curve for beginners and provide some fine-tuning tips for more experienced fishermen.  They are ways to beat the winter weather and can provide together time for fishing families.

I participate in some of these shows across the southeast each winter and enjoy it.  It’s fun to see old friends, meet new friends and talk fishing – especially when the winter weather is rampant.  Many times, someone points something out or asks a question from a viewpoint I haven’t considered and I learn too.  This year I will be giving seminars at shows in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia during January.  I’m most familiar with shows in these states and there will be numerous ones.  There is a list below of the ones known through early February.  If one is left out, I apologize, but I didn’t receive a press release or see it listed anywhere.

I will be in Myrtle Beach the first weekend in January at the Grand Strand Boat and Sportsman Expo (Jan. 4-6, www.grandstrandboatandsportsmanexpo.com); Raleigh the second weekend of January at the Raleigh Bass and Salt Water Fishing Expo (Jan. 11-13, www.ncboatshows.com); and Richmond the third weekend of January at the Richmond Fishing Expo (Jan. 18-20, www.ncboatshows.com). After this I have a weekend for some R&R while preparing for the 2019 Oak Island Parks and Recreation Department Saltwater Fishing Schools in early February (Feb. 2 and 9, https://oakisland.recdesk.com).  This schedule continues wide open for February and there will be an update for that in a few weeks.

I’ll suggest that every boater and fisherman try to find the time to spend a day, or three, visiting at least one show this winter.  If the winter weather forces you in, it’s an easy decision, but also a good idea if the weather stays nice.  There will be displays and sales booths at all of the show, plus seminars at many. There will be also informal opportunities for education on a variety of subjects by talking with area or species experts and pro staffers as they assist sponsors in their booths.  Most of these fishermen love to talk fishing and sometimes these informal conversations can be more beneficial than their seminars. However it comes about, there are usually opportunities for major shortcuts along the fishing learning curve.

There are numerous boating, fishing, hunting and outdoor shows across the country each winter and spring and they offer a good mix of bargain purchases, displays and seminars. There is even a January dogfish tournament at Wrightsville Beach for hardy folks seeking a little mid winter adventure.  The 2019 show season kicks off the first weekend in January and continues wide open into March, with the frequency gradually tapering down into May.  The list below is what is known through January and more might be found with a thorough Google search.  They really are good substitutes for fishing when Old Man Winter is raging.  Check the schedule and plan to spend a day or three checking one (or more) out.

January 2019 Tournaments, Shows and Other Events

January 4-6
Grand Strand Boat and Sportsman Expo
Myrtle Beach Convention Center, Myrtle Beach www.grandstrandboatandsportsmanexpo.com

January 5
Level 1 Flyfishing Clinic
John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, Fayetteville
www.ncwildlife.org/learning

January 5
National Seminar Series
Hotel Ballast, Wilmington
www.nationalseminarseries.com

January 9
Soft Plastic Lure Making Workshop
John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, Fayetteville
www.ncwildlife.org/learning.

January 11-13
Raleigh Bass and Saltwater Fishing Expo
NC State Fairgrounds, Raleigh
www.ncboatshows.com

January 12
Basic Rod Building Course
John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, Fayetteville
www.ncwildlife.org/learning

January 18-20
Richmond Fishing Expo
Meadow Events Park, Doswell, VA
www.ncboatshows.com

January 19
Level 1 Flyfishing Clinic
John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, Fayetteville
www.ncwildlife.org/learning

January 19-20
Carolina Outdoor Expo
Greenville Convention Center, Greenville
www.carolinaoutdoorexpo.com

January 19-20
Shallow Water Expo
Omar Shrine Temple, Mount Pleasant
www.hadrellspoint.com

January 24
Fly-Tying Forum
John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, Fayetteville
www.ncwildlife.org/learning

January 25-27
Mid Atlantic Boat Show
Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte
www.ncboatshows.com

January 25-27
Charleston Boat Show
Charleston Area Convention Center, Charleston
www.charlestonboarshow.com

January 26
Johnnie Mercer’s Pier Dogfish Tournament
Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, Wrightsville Beach
www.ncfps.com

February 2
Oak Island Parks and Recreation Department Fishing School
Oak Island Recreation Center, Oak Island
https://oakisland.recdesk.com

February 8-10
Raleigh Convention Center Boat Show
Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh
www.raleighconvention.com

February 9
Oak Island Parks and Recreation Department Fishing School
Oak Island Recreation Center, Oak Island
https://oakisland.recdesk.com

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Capt. Jerry Dilsaver has been fishing since he was a child and writing about fishing, hunting and the outdoors since 1986. He is from Southport-Oak Island, N.C. and continues to live there in semi-retirement. His writing features this area prominently, but he has fished and written about the East Coast from Virginia to Florida, the Gulf Coast, California, Alaska and several of the Great Lakes in the U.S., plus several countries in Central America and several Caribbean Islands. He has been on staff at Carolina Adventure, North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman Magazines and his byline has appeared in several other magazines and newspapers.