Fishing and hunting show season in the Northwest seems like it just wrapped up, but there’s news today that next year will see the return of an ocean-angler-oriented show in Salem that’s been on pause the past two winters.
”The Saltwater Sportsmen’s Show is back! With the help of O’Loughlin Trade Shows, we’re able to hold the event in 2023,” announced Ed Keene, an original board member of the Oregon Coalition for Educating ANglers, or OCEAN, in a press release. “It’s been tough sitting out these past couple of years, but we really had no choice. The challenges presented by Covid were too much for us to overcome. Thankfully, we’ll pick up from where we left off with a robust seminar series and the Jackman-Long Building at the Oregon State Fairgrounds filled with all kinds of saltwater-fishing-related exhibitors.”
The show, which also includes educational displays, will be held February 25-26. For details as the event gets closer, see SaltwaterSportsmensShow.com.
You’ll know the name O’Loughlin from the big Portland, Puyallup and Redmond, Oregon, sportsmen’s shows, along with RV, boat and holiday shows held throughout the Northwest.
“Our role in the Saltwater Sportsmen’s Show will be to manage the show’s operations and exhibitor sales”, said Bill O’Loughlin, president of the trade show production company now in its fourth generation. “This show has grown to a level that requires a year-round sales, marketing and operations effort and that’s where our team comes in and can be of help to OCEAN in producing this event.”
Longtime show sponsor Englund Marine is also excited for the return.
“As a retailer, everybody that attends this show is focused on saltwater fishing, which delivers a great retail opportunity for us,” stated tackle buyer Mark Akerill in the release. “For saltwater fishing consumers it’s the ideal show to come and improve your knowledge, see the newest in gear and get some great deals. I can’t tell you the number of calls I get from customers asking about this show.”
The saltwater shindig was one of the last shows held in the Northwest in winter 2020 before the Covid outbreak hit and organizers began cancelling events. OCEAN found itself scrubbing its 2021 edition for the same reason, then announced last September it was looking to find someone to produce the 2022 event, which did not occur.
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, OCEAN uses show proceeds to provide free descenders for use in offshore fisheries. Some fish hauled up from waters deeper than 50 feet suffer from barotrauma, which makes their eyes and swim bladder expand, leading to higher release mortalities. But the devices help sport anglers and charter crews more safely return rockfish and other species to the depths they were hooked.
The organization is also associated with an Oregon State University endowment that offers scholarships to marine fisheries students.
According to its website, OCEAN’s roots stretch back to 2003 when fishermen nicknamed the Salty Dogs met at the Rogue Brewery’s pub on the south side of Yaquina Bay to discuss aiding the industry. Their first shows were held across the bridge at Newport’s Elks Lodge, then to the Coast Guard Armory before in 2012 graduating to the state fairgrounds in Salem.
Since we’re on the subject of 2023 hunting and fishing shows, here are dates for some of next year’s doin’s:
The Great Rockies Sports Show, Metra Park ExpoCenter, Billings, Montana: January 20-22, 2023
Seattle Boat Show: To be determined
Washington Sportsmen’s Show, Washington State Fairgrounds, Puyallup: February 1-5, 2023
Eugene Boat & Sportsmen’s Show, Lane Events Center, Eugene: February 3-5, 2023
Douglas County Sportsmen’s & Outdoor Recreation Show, Douglas County Fairgrounds, Roseburg: February 10-12, 2023
Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show, Portland Expo Center, Portland: February 15-19, 2023
Jackson County Sportsmen’s & Outdoor Recreation Show, Jackson County Expo, Medford: February 24-26, 2023
The Idaho Sportsman Show, Expo Idaho, Boise: March 2-5, 2023
Northwest Fly Tyer and Fly Fishing Expo, Linn County Fairgrounds, Albany, Oregon: March 10-11, 2023
Central Oregon Sportsmen’s Show, Deschutes County Fairgrounds, Redmond: March 9-12, 2023