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Toledo Bend Lake

Because Life is Better at the Lake

Houston Fishing Show Time Again


Tom Behrens has over 50 years experience in fishing and hunting across the United States. Much of this time was spent in Oklahoma and Texas where he became very familiar with the outdoor opportunities in these states. You may contact him by email at:

The Houston Fishing Show is billed as the largest consumer exhibition of its type in the country. It will fill the entire 200,000-square foot Exhibit Hall A with more than 200 fishing-related booths and exhibits.

The perimeter of the main floor will be rimmed with specialized fishing boats, from blue-water rigs to center-console bay boats, bass boats, flats skiffs and aluminum hulls. Popular kayaks and paddleboards "tricked" for fishing will be available.

But the main focus, as always, is on tackle. New rods, reels, lures, lines and accessories from major manufacturers (as well as local entrepreneurs) will be on parade and review, some products premiering in the Houston market.

Shimano will have a huge exhibit. Hughes Andry of Sportco Marketing said that a highlight in the display will be the new Shimano Curado DC baitcasting reel. It boasts "digital control" braking technology with a microcomputer-driven system that monitors spool speed 1,000 times per second. A slightly larger handle is used and retrieve ratios are available from 6.2 to 8.5.

Andry added that Shimano's reasonably priced GLF inshore rod series also will be featured, with casting and spinning models between six and seven feet tailored for Gulf Coast fishing.

Daiwa, another big name in the tackle industry, will have an impressive exhibit. Roger Saraiba of Maschmedt and Associates Marketing said the new Daiwa Tatula 100 baitcasting reel will headline the display. The Tatula 100 sports a "Zero Adjuster" braking system working in concert with Daiwa's Magforce-Z system for precise control. Fine tuning seldom is required for normal payloads. Ratios between 6.3 and 8.1 are available. Saraiba said the popular Tatula series of inshore casting and spinning rods also will be showcased.

Mainstream Marketing will have an eye-catching array, according to Mike Haring. Along with full lineups of MirrOlure and Corky lures (both proven candy for big trout), Mainstream will premier 13 Fishing's TXZ baitcasting reel. Haring said the high-performance reel is designed specifically for the rigors of Texas wade fishing, with Zero Polymer bearings and exceptionally corrosion-resistant parts _ a wise concept for the waist-deep plug chunker.

Fishing Tackle Unlimited, the largest tackle retailer in the nation and a big part of the Fishing Show since its early years, will command a large portion of the floor. According to FTU's Joe Meyer, select name-brand rods and reels, even kayaks will be available at "show special" discounts.

Local rod and lure companies are making a splash, with several dozen scattered through the aisles. For example, Old 18 Outfitters is a new rod-building company based in Magnolia. According to "Lucky" Riley the 1835 series offers high quality at affordable price. Enigma Fishing has tournament grade rods as well as modestly priced models. Shane Platter said inshore and freshwater models are available.
Justin Geisel of Sixgill Fishing said Akylos and Siren series rods will be ready for parade and review; also worth a check are the Banshee reels.

The hot speck/red market is saturated with local lures. Boca Chica Baits is a Houston outfit that specializes in soft plastics for specks, reds, and flounder, and the new Flex Model swimming bait debuts at the show.

The Dixie Jet spoon, an all-time Gulf Coast classic, is back and certainly worth a look for serious surf waders and jetty walkers. The 3/4-ounce Jet has a reputation for its trout-catching ballistics into onshore beachfront wind.

Texas Rattler offers custom jig heads with rattles and reflecting eyes; Rex Hoyt added that the Texas Walking Shrimp and Texas 30D Rattling Spoons also will also be shown. Slayer Inc. Lure Company has its Sinister Series of high-end soft plastics, with models suitable for bass and coastal inshore.

TKO Lures offers a "complete line of trolling lures for offshore." According to Jack Farr, deep-water lures for swordfish and marlin are available. Matagorda Offshore Tackle focuses on red snapper, grouper, and amberjack; they also are a dealer for Kristal Electric Reels.

Bass anglers might want to check the Lake Fork Trophy Lures exhibit, an extensive lineup of soft-plastic worm, shad, craw and frog models on specialized hooks.

Heath Hippel of Buggs Fishing will be showing crossover bass and shrimp "flies" that can be cast on light conventional tackle. A new line of Buggs Magic Trebles dressed with fur and flash will be premiered.

Fly anglers are not forgotten. Steven Kulcak of Sight Cast reported that locally crafted and tied saltwater patterns suitable for all the usual inshore suspects will be at the show. Custom assortment packs are available and tying demonstrations will be on-going in the booth.

Not to be lost amid the "main stuff" of rods, reels, and lures are the exhibits of marine electronics, polarized sunglasses, specialized clothing and footwear, wading gear, fishing tools, boating accessories, and other add-ons aimed at improving the hours on the water. Worth a special look is the Saltwater Recon "know before you go" live streaming beach cam service.

Fly or plug or bait, a trip or two with a pro is great way to fine-tune for a new fishing season. Dozens of guide services, both fresh and salt, will be manning booths and providing tips. Texas is heavily covered, and at least half-a-dozen operations in redfish-rich Louisiana will be represented. Houston is a major market for fishing travel, with non-stop flights to numerous far-flung angling destinations, and outfitters from Alaska and Canada to Latin latitudes will be in the aisles.
Regardless of venue, near or far, many guides and lodges will be promoting discounted trips.

On-going fresh and saltwater seminars are conducted daily, and Saturday and Sunday will feature the free Kids' Clinic with various prizes up for grabs (for the complete daily seminar schedule, go to:

The five-day run of the Houston Fishing Show allows ample opportunity for return visits. Covering the entire floor during a single tour is difficult because talking here, looking there, aisle after aisle, it is easy to lose track of time.

This is because the annual exposition is more than a review of new tackle; it is a rendezvous of anglers, new and old, all getting pumped for the next cast into a great spring.


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Toledo Bend Lake Fishing Report from TPWD (Apr. 1)

FAIR. Water slightly stained; 65-66 degrees; 0.03’ low. Largemouth bass are good with crankbaits, spinners, and jigs shallow and with cover. There are so many habitats to fish largemouth. Make sure to find extended cover spots. Striped bass are fair. White bass remain slow. Crappie are fair on minnows in structure. Channel and blue catfish are fair on stinkbait.