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Sportsman Expo returns to Lee Civic Center

By Staff | Feb 6, 2019

Most anything you want to buy and know about the sporting life in Southwest Florida will be had this weekend at the Lee Civic Center.

Florida Sportsman is returning to host the Florida Sportsman Expo on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 9 and 10. Saturday’s show is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event, which has run almost annually since 1995, will feature fun and educational activities for sportsmen of all ages. Avid outdoorsmen will get to see and buy the newest and best in fishing tackle, boats, kayaks, paddleboards, outdoor apparel, marine art, and hunting gear from more than 70 exhibitors.

There will also be nearly three dozen informative seminars per day by local expert guides and outfitters on the six seminar stages for inshore and offshore fishing, kayak and paddleboard fishing, fly fishing, surf, bridge and pier fishing, hunting and much more.

“It’s a live version of Florida Sportsman magazine. It’s highly instructional. We will have six seminars going on at the same time,” said show organizer Mike Conner. “Local tackle shops will also be there and they will have great deals.”

Attendees also will get to participate in hands-on features, including the Rigging it Right Academy where up to 50 anglers at a time during its five daily session can get hands-on instruction on inshore and offshore bait and lure rigging, knot-tying, hook sharpening, fish filleting and more.

There will be a fly-casting pond for fly-fishers to be manned by local instructors, and you can show off your tying skills and take home the grand prize during the new Fly-Tying Throwdown competition on Saturday, where tiers have 20 minutes to come up with their best fly with identical materials and a mystery ingredient.

“I started that last year in Tampa because I wanted to expand fly fishing a little more. We will have Joe Mahler coming, who is well-known in fly fishing in Florida,” Conner said.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host the Kids Fishing Derby on the stocked lakes, one of the longest standing traditions at the show.

Inside, the Expo kids will win prizes for participating in the FWC’s “Fish ID” scavenger hunt. The first 200 children in the door will get a free tackle pack from Zebco.

Tickets at the Lee Civic Center box office are $8 for adults. Kids 12 and under with an adult get in free. Active military and first responders with I.D. will receive a 50 percent discount on admission. Parking is $5.

For more information, go to www.floridasportsman.com.