First-ever bass expo offers anglers another chance to reel in some deals

As if the early ice out and warm weather hasn’t been enough to get that fishing itch going the first-year Minnesota Bass Expo might ignite that fire to find plenty of big hogs camped out under lily pads and other debris this season at the National Sports Center’s Sports Hall in Blaine April 20-22.

Anglers will have a chance to see the latest tackle, electronics, gear and boats weeks before the Minnesota fishing opener with more than 117 vendors.

Expo Director Greg Savino said the show will feature more than just bass products. “We have every major fishing company attending the show making products for walleye, pike, trout and muskie fishing, as well as bass, of course,” he said.

Those looking to sell their boat can do it for free in what is being billed as the largest used boat event in the midwest. Part of the National Sports Center parking lot will be transformed into a used-boat showcase area where prospective buyers and sellers can meet for free.

Anglers now have two expos geared toward them at the National Sports Center.
Anglers now have two expos geared toward them at the National Sports Center.

The sale will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 21 and sellers can either stay with their boat for the duration of the event or put contact informtation on it. Boats must be brought in that morning and removed immediately following.

The event offers seminars from industry leaders and visitors can search for the latest in bass fishing tackle, electronics, gear and boats.

There will also be bass fishing celebrity appearances, guide services, travel destinations, new equipment, fly-tying demonstrations and a kids’ fishing pond.

The kids’ area also includes seminars to learning how to cast, autographs from professional anglers and door prizes.

Adult admission is $10 per day or $20 for three days; seniors ($8/$16); students ($6/$12) and children 12 and under are free.

The list of seminar presenters starts with Capt. Gary Klingler followed by Lowrance Graphics and Electronics Friday, April 20 from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m.

Among those scheduled to appear Saturday include are Matt Johnson of Thorne Brothers and Vexilar, Bruce “Doctor Sonar” Samson, Tony Roach of Tony Roach Guide Service, Brett Ware of UV Tackle and The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) kicks off Sunday’s line up with a review of the latest fishing laws and other updates heading into the new fishing season.

This is the second outdoors event to be hosted at the NSC’s indoor Sports Hall. It hosted a fly fishing expo for the second year in March. Both expos will move to the new Sport Expo Center located on the north side of the NSC Stadium, west of the Schwan Super Rink, in July.

Outdoors-geared expos are a new target for the National Sports Center, which hopes to own and organize six annual expos not necessarily all geared to fishing and hunting.

“Whether they’re all to do with outdoor sports remains to be seen, but they may include adventure sports like canoeing and kayaking,” said Barclay Kruse, NSC chief communications officer.

The new Sport Expo Center boasts 21,420 square feet of space with a single clear-span room of 100 feet by 180 feet and a 26-foot high ceiling with the ability to accommodate 130 exhibit booths.

The new area is geared toward smaller to mid-sized events who can utilize outdoor space.

The center, scheduled to open in July, will be the home of a pet expo in October.

Jason Olson is at [email protected]

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