By Josh Lantz
Sometimes, it’s right here in Indiana
I’ve had a passion for fishing as long as I can remember. With some luck and hard work, I’ve turned it into a long and rewarding career—not as a tournament angler, but as a fishing guide, an outdoor communicator and, today, as a PR and marketing professional working with some of the world’s best fishing companies including Aqua-Vu, Fish Monkey Gloves, LIVETARGET Lures, Raymarine, Seaguar, St. Croix Rods, and Z-Man Fishing Products.
I’ve made a lot of special fishing memories over the past 45 years, having fished in 27 different states and five other countries. But I’ll let you in on a secret: many of those memorable angling experiences were garnered from fishing adventures in my native state of Indiana.
Indiana’s Best Fishing Holes
While not widely discussed or recognized, the Midwest – and specifically Indiana – can rightfully boast some truly exceptional angling. The early spring coho salmon fishing along Southern Lake Michigan’s Indiana coast is the best on the Great Lakes. Musky densities in many of North-Central Indiana’s glacial lakes are some of the highest in the United States, while striper and wiper (hybrid white bass) fishing on some of Central and Southern Indiana’s reservoirs is truly world class. Northern Indiana’s St. Joseph River is home to an incredible variety of gamefish species, including plentiful smallmouth bass, walleye, and Northern pike, but is best known for its healthy run of Skamania-strain steelhead. Depending on annual weather patterns, it’s possible to catch a steelhead in the St. Joe during any month of the year. Chinook (king) salmon, large lake-run brown trout and other salmonid species can also be caught in the St. Joe, as well as a handful of other Lake Michigan tributaries in Northwest Indiana. Throw in giant Ohio River blue cats, Southern Lake Michigan jumbo perch and widespread opportunities across the state for crappie, bluegill and largemouth bass, and one can quickly realize why Indiana deserves recognition as a world-class angling destination. But the state of Indiana offers yet another exciting resource for anglers.
Ford Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show Bringing Fishermen Together for 65 Years…
You can’t talk about Indiana’s significant fishing opportunities, history or fishing culture without mentioning the Ford Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show.
Even in today’s world of infinite media for outdoor sports enthusiasts, outdoor sports shows are more relevant than ever, holding a special place in America’s outdoor heritage and traditions. They are the only places where angling enthusiasts can talk one-on-one with fishing-industry experts and celebrities, then put the very latest fishing gear in their hands to see how it works and feels firsthand.
In addition to being one of the largest outdoor sport shows in the country, the Ford Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show is also one of the oldest consumer sport shows – something show organizers, Renfro Productions, do their best to celebrate each year. “Our show was here in the 50’s, when post-war America began its infatuation with boats, RV’s and outdoor recreation travel,” says show organizer Kevin Renfro. “We were here in the late 60’s and early 70’s during the genesis of modern bass fishing. We have entertained, informed and outfitted hundreds of thousands of people in their pursuit of fishing adventure, outdoor recreation, travel and family memories… so each year of the Ford Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show becomes another opportunity to remind all generations of anglers where our collective outdoor passions have come from. And we are still here today,” Renfro continues. “Rapidly expanding technologies are resulting in mind-blowing fishing electronics, fishing kayaks, new lure designs, high-performance fishing rods, reels, lines and other new fishing products that are expanding fishing opportunities and bringing anglers more opportunities for success. And the continual innovation we employ in planning and delivering the Ford Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show to angling consumers has to match that of our industry.”
The 65th installment of the Ford Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show returns to the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds February 15-24, 2019, and promises more for anglers than ever before.
The ever-popular Tackle Town USA will once again greet visitors with nearly two-acres of all things angling, serving up over 100 unique exhibitors offering cutting edge, hard-to-find fishing tackle, gear, equipment and accessories at special show prices. Tackle Town has everything for the fisherman or fishing family, including charter fishing captains, fishing guides, outfitters, fishing lodge and resort operators and angling travel specialists who can take you to the big ones. Tackle Town also features daily multispecies fishing seminars delivered by the best, most knowledgeable national, regional and local fishing pros; the Kids’ Zone casting area and trout fishing pond; along with an incredible array of other interesting events and attractions. Put simply, if Tackle Town doesn’t have the fishing gear and information you are looking for, it probably doesn’t exist.
Boats are the fishing enthusiasts’ magic carpets, whisking them and their friends or family members away from the demands of daily life and placing them into the secret angling spots of their dreams. Of course, boats have always been a mainstay of the Ford Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show, and over seven acres of boats will be on display at this year’s show. From fishing kayaks, bass and walleye boats, multispecies aluminum fishing boats, crappie rigs, center console fishing boats and offshore models, great deals and on-the-spot financing will be offered on the very latest watercraft, along with boating lifestyle products and accessories from many of the best dealers across Indiana.
Fishing passions and traditions can be varied and diverse, but no matter where, how or why you fish, one special annual event caters to all anglers, and it’s right here in Indiana. The 65th Annual Ford Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show is the undisputed king of consumer fishing shows – a special place where those who make the outdoors their lifestyle and those with more casual interests gather to meet with others who make the outdoors their business. It’s ten days of the best of fishing and the best of the outdoors, and it’s happening at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, February 15-24. If you want even more details, check out their website – www.indysportshow.com.
See you there.