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It’s that time of the year.  The unofficial opening of the So Cal fishing season.  Fred Hall is upon us!  I was able to get out to the show for the opening day on Wednesday.  I have several fishing buddies who set aside funds and blow it at Fred Hall like sailors on shore leave.  Myself, I like gear as much as the next guy, but I’m approaching it more from a “what’s new out there” standpoint.  More interesting to me is to talk to everyone.  I like to take in the seminars.  I like to hear stories, and updates, and outlooks.

I spent six and a half hours at the show, and looking back on it, there are still people and booths that I missed or didn’t spend enough time talking to in the whole whirlwind that is Fred Hall.  Some things popped out though, so here’s one salty angler’s take on the show…

bight_cover_grandeThe Bight – Brandon Hayward’s new project is less magazine and more coffee table homage to our lifestyle.  I’m going to do a deeper dive when I’ve had a chance to spend more time with it, but for $15 you’ll want to get into The Bight.

Bait Wraps – Another one I plan to tell you more about.  If you are on my Facebook page, you’ve seen what these jigs look like and have been waiting for the show.  If this is the first time you’ve seen these them, then I’m sure you will have the same reaction I first had.  Do yourself a favor and check them out yourself.

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Seeker 7X Rod – I just finished customizing my Teramar, but a very intriguing stick.  It’s designed specifically to throw the Salas 7x, which is a jig that for the most part swims well off the shelf.  The blank itself is visually stunning (pic doesn’t do justice).  Worth a look if you’re in the market.  Go bend it in the Seeker booth.  It will be in stores in a couple weeks.

Fortune Sportfishing – I’ve been following Capt. Bruce Smith’s exploits for awhile now.  I definitely plan to fish with him this year.  He’s got some open party overnight trips coming in the next few weeks out of 22nd St. Landing while the Freedom is offline.  This summer he has some very limited load offshore flyfishing trips!  I’m not a fly guy (Bruce is), but that’d be cool just to see how that would work offshore.

Commander SportfishingThe Commander is the old Dolphin II that was recently purchased by Eclipse owner/operator Mark Gillette.  The boat is still being worked on, but they plan to do some different trips when they get online…overnight Coronados, local seabass, halibut drifts…filling niches that no one is doing now out of San Diego.  They’re offering package deals you can use on either boat, so definitely worth a look.  Rad t-shirt too!  😉

Seeker Sportfishing – Great news here!  Capt. Tommy Lee (formerly of the Freedom) and his 2nd, Sal Salazar will be driving this boat (out of H&M).  I’m super excited they have a new ride and will be looking to hook up with them this year.

Capt. Ryan Bostian – Coronado Islands Yellowtail & Tuna – the undeniable yellowtail king,  Booger is dropping wisdom on the Cousins mainstage.  His last seminar is today (Friday) at 4:15.  If you are going today, set an alarm on your phone.  You do not want to miss it!

Calico Bass Panel – moderated by Lyall Bellquist of the bass tagging project, this panel discussion brings together the top guys when it comes to saltwater bass fishing.  3pm daily on the Cousins main stage.

This is just a VERY SHORT list of some of the stuff that caught my eye Day 1.  I’m headed back on Sunday with the kids and will try to see the rest of the show.  Hope to see you down there.

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