Thursday, April 5, 2012

Northwest Sportshow Time

This last week was the annual Northwest Sportshow at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  I really look forward each year to the show and usually make 2 trips down as I always miss something the first go around.  As well, and those who have accompanied me know that I really like to talk which makes it hard to get everything accomplish in one night.  There are a ton of new products being introduced as well as number of new companies selling their ideas.  There were a number of new things that caught my eye and I just had to have.  The first was some new software called Lakemaster Contour Elite.  Developed by a couple of guys from Wisconsin, it takes the Lakemaster data and creates a useable program to manipulate that data, write it to a SD card, and then allow you to put it into your on board electronics to utilize the mapping much better.  I am anxious to see how this works and will report on it later.  The next thing I thought was interesting was a tool made by Trusty Cable Tool, a company in Ohio.  They were selling a cable tool which was invented to help remove cables from Lowrance
Locators/Chartplotters.  More often than not the cables, which twist lock onto the unit connectors, are difficult to get at and twist on and off.  This design allows one to slip it over the cable and using the hex end like a socket wrench, simply twist off the connector.  It looks pretty slick as one of my issues with my HDS10 and HDS5 is the difficulty in removing the transducer, power, and ethernet cables.  It was kind of funny as the guy didn't have any in stock as the plastic tooling was not complete.  He looked pretty trustworthy so I gave him the $10 and he promised to ship it to me.  We'll see.   The next interesting booth was hosted by Jolly Roger Tackle .  A young man from Albertville, MN, he has started a business of custom tackle specializing in spinner blades, tied rigs, and a line of crankbaits.   I have a lot of respect for guys willing to go off on their own and do something with their lives besides wishing they would have done something years earlier.  I did buy a couple packages of custom painted spinner rigs and they are pretty impressive.  Truth be told a spinner blade turns pretty fast in the water and although they are painted with perch like detail and eyes I can assure you that it's all a blur once the blade starts spinning.  These great paint jobs do more to catch the fisherman than anything.  They still look great and I can't wait to tie up a few nightcrawler rigs and try them as I know general color variations can make a big difference sometimes.  Another interesting thing is how large the spinners are getting.  I usually run #2's and am seeing blades as big as #5's, stuff we use for bass baits.  It was evident by the number of boat displays that the marine industry is on it's way back.  It has also gotten very expensive!  A new Ranger 621, fully decked out was $72,000.  Man, that was more than I paid for my first house.  2008 - 2010 was very hard on this business as a number of manufacturers either went out of business, merged, or filed bankruptcy.  Everyone said they were busy and at least for this year things look great.

My friend Keith Holtan did make it up to the Rainy River over the weekend.  Wanting to rub it in a little, Keith sent me a picture of this nice walleye he caught.  Planning to head back to Alaska after Easter, it time to begin getting his business, Beaver Creek Cabins and Guide Service up and going for the upcoming salmon season on the Kenai.  We will be looking forward to seeing him next August and I wish him a safe trip up the Alaskan Highway.  Actually I wish I had time to ride with him and fly back, it's one road I would really love to travel.   Maybe in retirement.  In the meantime my brother and I continue to solidify our plans for our sixth trip to Alaska with my cousins Greg and Tom Nelson, and Mark Anderson, who lives in Anchorage.  As soon as we get this set I will post our plans. 

I have finally gotten my boat ready to go and need to take it in and get the cover readjusted for the new trolling motor.  My tackle boxes have been redone, are cleaned and ready to go.  I will probably get the motor started this weekend, something that I am always amazed at.  Usually I put on the water muffs, pump the fuel bulb a few times and I'll bet the motor doesn't turn more than 2 seconds before it starts.  I love my Suzuki!  I still need to put new line on the reels that need it.  In addition my 35 year old Troybilt tiller received new rear tine shaft seals compliments of around 3 hours of wrenching.  As stated, it is pretty early spring and have already tilled the garden 3 weeks earlier than normal.  I even planted some spinach and radishes.  There still is more work like fertilizing the lawn, fertilizing the apple trees, spraying the trees, and general cleanup.  This weekend is Easter and Sunday will be spent with the family, enjoying ourselves as we get older.  Have a blessed Easter.

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