Author and philosopher Aldous Huxley once said, “For those who understand there is no explanation necessary. For those who don’t understand there is no explanation possible”.
He meant that in a very general way to apply to many different things. Take for example…”The Fred Hall Shows”. If you know what a Fred Hall Show is you don’t need an explanation, you just need a date and a location. If you don’t know what a Fred Hall Show is, you won’t understand it until you visit one. Is it a fishing show…yeah but a lot more…is it a boat show….yeah but a lot more….is it a hunting and fishing travel show…yeah but a lot more…etc., etc., etc.
The Fred Hall Shows are entering their 74th year. That’s quite an accomplishment considering there have been Halls associated with the production of these shows for each of the 74 years. Fred, Lois, Ginny, Bart, Katie, Morgan, Travis, Hannah, Aidan, Hunter, Sammy, Kristi and Lori are all Hall’s, and all have been part of the fabric of the Fred Hall Shows…some more than others. Fred and Lois started them, Bart and Ginny reinvented them, and Katie is helping to keep them going. Don’t get me wrong…without Mike Lum, Tim Baker, Dave and Barbie Mandagie, Eric, Ric, Lyall, Jonathan, Jay, Billy, “wing nut” and others, there would no longer be a Fred Hall Show to enjoy. Several years ago, we joined with Duncan McIntosh in this endeavor as the complex fabric of life unfolded and united we move forward.
The 74th edition of these annual events is promising to be the most spectacular Fred Hall Shows ever. A great economy, historically phenomenal fishing, plenty of fresh water and a renewed fervor for outdoor recreation is leading the industries involved in the Fred Hall Shows to “make a statement” to the public about their products. Fishing, boating, hunting and international travel make up the core of the Fred Hall Shows. They are: The World’s Largest Fishing Shows; One of the nation’s finest boat shows; internationally acclaimed hunting and fishing travel shows and so much more. There is fly fishing, overland vehicles, a giant marine electronics section, trucks, RV’s, kayaks, SUP’s, SCUBA, free dive, rod building, wake sports and this year even motocross. And, when you join the Coastal Conservation Association of California outside of either show you’ll not only be supporting the most important organization in the country for anglers access and marine conservation, but you’ll get into the show for free.
The fishing portion of the Fred Hall Shows has never looked better. The great economy and great fishing have encouraged the American and international fishing tackle companies to display their products with more panache and with more passion. Accurate Fishing Products is again sponsoring the main seminar stage that will feature dozens of the most knowledgeable anglers in the world. Accurate is encouraging all anglers to stop by their booth to check out all the great American-made fishing tackle that they produce right here in the Southland. They also wat you to see the many fish that Accurate tackle has caught this year. Take a close look at the Accurate “Valiant” series for 2020. Accurate reels always seem to be where the big fish are.
Daiwa is the sponsor of the Saltwater Tank. There are no other fishing shows anywhere that have a saltwater tank and Daiwa is anxious to offer continuous seminars on nearshore fishing as well as introducing new products at their Fred Hall Show booths. Check out their new company boat on the patio near the trout pond at the Long Beach Show and somewhere, yet to be determined, on the property at the Del Mar Show. Head on down to the Lagoon and try casting some of the new Daiwa rods and reels in real life conditions at the Long Beach show. The lineup of reels from Daiwa is impressive ( and includes): Steez Ltd. SV TN; Alphas SV; Tatula; and Saltiga. Their electric reel technology is the finest in the industry with the Tatula HD Custom, the Seaborg series and the Tanamcom series all designed to subdue struggling migratory fish with ease. Diawa’s technology is some of the finest in the industry and they are especially adapted to Southern California fishing. Daiwa listens to local anglers and responds with regional products that work especially well in our local environment.
While you are down at the lagoon at Long Beach, and also at the giant Ultimate Air Dogs pool in Del Mar, take some time to try a Hobie Mirage Drive Kayak with the new 360-degree drive. The patent on the original Hobie Mirage Drive expired so now other companies are trying to copy them. However, they now have new patents on this absolutely amazing 360-degree Mirage Drive. You can make your kayak go in any direction on the water, totally hands free. It’s mind boggling what someone who knows what they are doing can achieve on the water with this new technology. Give it a try at the shows…it’ll blow your mind. And stop by the Hobie Kayak Fishing Theater at both shows to really learn how to fish from the world’s finest kayaks. The Hobie “Show Up and Blow Up” event will continue this year as show attendees try to blow up a Hobie inflatable kayak in the fastest time possible. The winner will win a Hobie inflatable i11S Kayak…the king of inflatable kayaks.
Okuma is, once again the co-sponsor of the Bass Bin. Okuma has been deeply involved with insuring that anglers everywhere, but especially in Southern California, have access to fishing. Their contributions to the Coastal Conservation Association of California on behalf of local anglers needs to be commended. Okuma brings a factory style booth to the Fred Hall Shows to ensure that all anglers have easy access to all of Okuma’s new and most popular products. Be certain to stop by and check out: the new Ceymar 10, a micro baitfeeder for trout fishing (the smallest baitfeeder on the market); the special edition Makaira reels with the new multicolored drag; the new stretch fluorocarbon line from Soft Steel; FishLab lures-a new wake bait bluegill lure. And Okuma has such respect for the Southern California angler that instead of launching one of their superior new products at the international fishing tackle show in Orlando, they waited until the Fred Hall shows to unveil a brand new product. Welcome to the new Alijos lever drag reel that is being shown for the very first time at the Fred Hall Shows. This will be your first opportunity to check out this spectacular new lever drag reel. Thanks for the special treatment Okuma.
And speaking of acting on behalf of Southern California anglers, Shimano has been the leader in that category for decades. Their history of commitment to anglers’ rights and marine conservation is unapparelled in the fishing industry. Shimano is generally recognized as the world leader in sportfishing tackle. Their dedication to research and development has led them to that worldwide leadership position. The list of Shimano mainstays in the Southern California market are legendary…Talica, Torium, Tiagra, Trinidad, Stella, Stradic, Tallus, Teres, Trevalla, and Teramar, butterfly jigs, Waxwing, Lucanus, Colt Sniper and the holiest of holy tuna lures….the Flatfall Jig. This year they are featuring the Speedmaster 20ii and 25ii both with E Surface treatment, HEG Gearing, Cross Carbon Drag and an S compact body. Also check out the Orca 150s and 200F with Flashboost. Flash Boost is a piece of foil suspended on small springs on the inside of the body of the lure. The lure body around that area is obviously clear so you can see the foil. The idea behind it is to create movement and flash when the lure is stationary to give it a more lifelike appearance like a quivering dying/sinking bait or frantic fin movement. The foil is designed to move when the lure is sitting in its stationary, vertical or horizontal position. Along with their outstanding products Shimano is again bringing their very popular Reel Repair Seminars to the Fred Hall Show at the Long Beach Convention Center. Shimano’s rod and reel repair service is legendary and they bring a sample of that service to the show. Bring your own reel or just sit in and learn from the pros and watch others. This is always a highlight of the Fred Hall Shows.
Mammoth Lakes is once again sponsoring the Mammoth Lakes Seminar Area. It is here that we learn about everything we can enjoy in Mammoth Lakes California and the entire Eastern Sierra region. I have been going to Mammoth Lakes since I was an infant. According to legend, I was only 10 months old when my parents took me to the Mammoth Lakes area for the first time. When I was 10 years old, I got to go out alone on Lake Mamie in a rowboat (no I didn’t have a lifejacket or a helmet). I’ll never forget that day. I fished with a fly and a bubble near the outlet and caught a limit of beautiful Lake Mamie trout. It was a liberating day for me. In the past 74 years I have been to the opening of trout season in the Eastern Sierras 68 times. I don’t know what happened to those other six years. The Mammoth Lakes seminar area is where we learn not just about the fishing in the region (did you know there is large and smallmouth bass fishing near Bishop?), but about the history of the Eastern Sierras as well.
Johnson-Hicks Marine will preside over the largest marine electronics display ever seen at any show anywhere in the western Untied States. Years ago, when we were trying to get the marine electronics category into the Fred Hall Shows we went to many of the local dealers asking if they would like to participate. The answer was always no. Then we started the Fred Hall Show at the Cow Palace in Daly City near San Francisco. That show only lasted four years before the recession collapsed the industry, but we got to know Joe Donatini from Johnson Hicks Marine. Joe’s store is in Santa Cruz. We started formulating a plan to bring marine electronics to the Fred Hall Shows “down south”. And sure enough, Joe came down to sell marine electronics with a store that is over 300 miles away from Long Beach and over 400 miles from Del Mar. People thought he was crazy. Yet between Joe and Mike Lum the largest marine electronics display seen at any show anywhere in our region has evolved. This year this large area will also incorporate a new seminar venue. It will be located where the Costa Sporting Chef Café used to be. The Costa Sporting Chef Café has moved. This marine electronics mega display is your best place to see all of the pertinent marine electronics in one place. Johnson Hicks has an extensive network of service operators to install what they sell at the Fred Hall Shows. Their service is exemplary, especially considering that their home is 5 hours away. They will also have a large display in Del Mar.
And speaking of the Costa Sporting Chef Café, it has moved more to the center of the show in Long Beach nearer to the escalators that bring patrons down to the show floor from the Pine Street entrance. It will remain in the same location where it has been for years at the Del Mar show. Costa has been bringing you the Sporting Chef Café for many years. Many people, including me, feel It is one of the most enjoyable parts of a Fred Hall Show. For a long time, Sporting Chef Scott Leysath and his sidekick Gary Schiebler have been entertaining Fred Hall Show attendees with great food samples, witty banter and Gary’s music. The Costa Sporting Chef Café will return to the Fred Hall Shows but Gary will no longer be able to be there. A serious health issue precludes Gary from attending the shows. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gary and his family. Gary brought laughter and joy to the shows as an avid angler and entertainer. We will miss him! And, at press time, we aren’t even certain if Scott Leysath can be there because of a surgery on his foot that got postponed. We have our fingers crossed that Scott can make it to Long Beach , we are fairly certain that he can be in Del Mar. Taking up the slack and joining Scott on a fulltime basis will be the local legend Tommy Gomes…”The Fishmonger”. Tommy is certainly the Fish Pro in our region and the creator of Uni Goop and Uni Butter fish attractants. They will be joined by Ken Gardon from Sea Dek and Blue Seas Fabrication, an accomplished “sporting chef” in his own right, who has been helping out for several years. At press time the final chef had not been announced if Scott can’t make it. There are rumors that I might be pressed into duty. After all, I did beat Scott in an audience judged taste test in a head to head competition two years ago. Thanks Costa…that was fun!
Ram Trucks have been part of the Fred Hall Shows for a long Time. They bring us the Ultimate Air Dogs, one of the most popular attractions at any Fred Hall Show. The “dogs that fly” entertain everyone. This year Ram gave the folks at Fred Hall Shows a 2500 Turbo Diesel Truck to help promote the shows. I have been driving that vehicle with Fred Hall magnetic signs on the truck and it is a “show stopper”. People love it and wave at me. It’s a beast and it’s beautiful. This is the finest large vehicle that I have ever driven. Period! It is massive, filled with creature comforts and gets great mileage. Yep, I said great mileage. Around 22 miles per gallon for the largest and most comfortable vehicle that I have ever driven. Check out all the Ram trucks at the shows.
805 beer from the Firestone Walker Brewing Company joined our show sponsors last year. It was a great match. They love fishing and hunting and want to reach out to all of us in the outdoor recreation community. 805 is the co-sponsor of the Bass Tank along with Okuma. They support us so let’s support them at the Shows and away from the shows when we are on the water on in the field.
A new addition to the shows this year is OPKIX. Now what is an OPKIX. Well they are the world’s smallest, smartest, wearable cameras. No more dropping your cell phone overboard as you capture that big fish coming over the side. OPKIX fits on your hat, your finer or your sunglasses to capture all of the excitement of a wide-open bite or the fish of a lifetime. OPKIX was originally a dream to capture and share the world’s perspective of fun. After 2 1/2 years of hard work, OPKIX became a reality. They provide the world’s most convenient cameras to capture life’s moments and to keep our friends and families engaged. Their purpose is to unite families through the lens of fun. OPKIX allows us to celebrate life’s precious moments and keep them close. This is a great product, particularly well suited to the fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation community. Stop by their amazing display at Long Beach and Del Mar. They are also sponsoring the Paul Bunyon Lumberjack Shows, which is another memorable event destined to be filmed.
The Custom Rod Depot has been a part of the Fred Hall Shows for several years. Darin Dohi of United Composites USA has been coordinating this very successful part of the show. Custom rod building is an integral part of the fishing industry. This will be the largest Custom Rod Depot that we have ever had. For 2020 there will be a new competition with some fabulous prizes. The competition will be judged by industry professionals and rod building icons. There are three competitive categories; Professionals, Hobbyists and Juniors. You can submit up to 50 entries. Prizes will come from: Batson Enterprises; Fish Taco Chronicles; United Composites; Pacific Bay; Calstar; Seeker; Fuji Rod Components/Anglers Resource; Fishing Syndicate; and Century Rods. Also, in 2020, there will be a separate Captain Rollo Kids at Sea competition with different judges and separate prizes. An Accurate Boss Extreme 2-Spd 600N reel, donated by the Fred Hall Shows, is the grand prize for the winner. They will also get articles in the Fish Taco Chronicles and special Friends of Rollo decals. These rods will be auctioned off at the annual Captain Rollo’s Kids at Sea Tuna Wars event on June 14th at Seaforth Landing.
Hunting has become a big part of the Fred Hall Shows and it is again this year. Some of the world’s finest hunting outfitters will be exhibiting. 2020 will also see the return of the firearms section of Turner’s Outdoorsman. It has been a very popular part of the shows for several years in both Long Beach and Del Mar. Savage Arms has been an on and off participant in the Fred Hall Shows for decades and they are back this year with a beautiful 200 square foot display. After a break in 2019 Oak Tree Gun Club returns with another large booth talking about their fabulous gun clubs, quality firearms and international hunting partners.
Nearly two hundred destination hunting, and fishing lodges will be participating in the Fred Hall Shows again this year. These are some of the largest and most entertaining outdoor recreation travel shows on the planet. Of course, in Long Beach, there is the Deep Blue Dive pool where you can actually take a SCUBA lesson by putting on a dry suit over your clothes and stepping into the pool. Certified instructors teach you the basics of SCUBA. Then you get out, dry your hair and see the rest of the show. There are free-dive companies and diving equipment companies on hand. There are overland and off-road displays. For 2020 RV’s return to Del Mar. And, for the first time ever at a Fred Hall Show, here will be a sanctioned motocross event during the show on Saturday and Sunday. The Roland Sands folks are partners in this new adventure and are providing us with the Super Hooligan National Championships as part of the Fred Hall Show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. On Thursday and Friday kids can have free lessons on how to ride. The extremely popular Great American Duck Races will return to Del Mar in 2020 now that the avian flu quarantine has been lifted for San Diego County. And, of course, the Mammoth Lakes Kids Fish Free Trout Pond will introduce thousands of children to fishing. Well over one million kids have caught a fish at a Fred Hall Show and more will again this year. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife take great pride in their comprehensive fish rearing and stocking programs across the state. Several specialized vehicles used to safely transport trout will be on display at the shows, including one of the original antique stocking trucks. The CDFW recruitment trailer will be on hand and often it has a laser shot game as part of the experience. There is a kids touch tank sponsored by Daiwa and presided over by the marine biology department at Cal State Northridge. Kids can compete in casting contests at the Fishing in the City casting area provided by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. There are air gun ranges and in Long Beach a very large soft air range is presented by the Evike company. Evike provides a mind-boggling array of soft air guns and a very impressive assortment of fishing tackle.
And finally….Boats! The Fred Hall Shows are two of the most prominent boat shows in the country. These are the boat shows where the fun never left. Acres and acres of boats. High performance boats, tow-boats, bow-riders, pontoon boats, bass boats, center console fishing boats, cruisers, aluminum boats, inflatable boats, probably the largest display of kayaks seen anywhere…if it floats there is a good chance it’s at a Fred Hall Show.
So, I guess old Aldous Huxley was right…”For those who understand (the Fred Hall Shows) there is no explanation necessary, for those that don’t understand (the Fred Hall Shows) there is no explanation possible. We’ll see you at the shows March 4th-8th at the Long Beach Convention Center and March 26th-29th at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The Fred Hall Shows are proudly presented by Progressive. And remember, in San Diego, it’s a Whale of a Show!