Hundreds of people who would probably otherwise have been on the water or tramping through the woods gathered at Camp Jordan Arena Saturday for day one of the Scenic City Outdoor Expo.
Dozens of vendors selling everything from tiny fly fishing lures to pontoon boats to hog hunts hawked their wares to enthusiastic fishermen, hunters and those who just enjoy the natural world. If you didn’t go today, the show will continue on Sunday with the doors open from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
Arkansas’ own Brad Passmore, owner of Angel Custom Tackle and It’s Limitless Outdoor Apparel , was selling custom made fishing lures for the end of your rod and some cool _ literally _ shirts to keep you from getting burned while in the process of casting the lure on the lake.
“We’ve been doing this for about four years,” Passmore said while pointing out the features of a bass lure that he guarantees will avoid a fisherman from telling “fish stories.”
Passmore said this is the first time he’s been in Southeast Tennessee, which boasts as much enthusiasm for catching bass as his native state.
“There’s been a lot of people come through,” he said. “Hopefully there will be some more tomorrow. We will be giving away some free shirts Sunday afternoon.”
Reels galore were offered by Discount Depot, a store located on Highway 58. Cindy Mathis took up owner Clint Wilborn on a bait caster reel and ended up getting a rod to go along with it.
“I told him I’d buy it if he would string it up for me,” Mathis said. “He even through in a lure on the end of the line.”
If you are too darned hot to fish and are looking forward to getting out in the woods, there were plenty of vendors offering hunting supplies.
R.S. Hooper of Hog Rush was on hand offering some real 21st Century hunting.
Hooper will take you out at night onto some private land where hogs have become a problem helping themselves to farmers’ crops. He will put a special AR-15 with a noise suppressor on it in your hands and have you check out a monitor while his thermal camera mounted on the top of his SUV and the thermal camera on his flying drone will scope out some hogs to shoot. Of course the rifle has a special night scope on it.
Hooper said he started the business in 2010 _ with the blessing of all the Alabama wildlife folks _ and its been growing steadily. Hunts start at about $600 per person.
If boating _ fishing, pleasure or skiing _ is your thing, there were plenty of boats out in the parking lot to choose from. A fellow from Erwin Marine shocked this reporter with the price of an “m hull” center console Element fishing boat with a big Mercury outboard on the stern. This reporter guessed $40k for the rig. No, try $26,000 … with trailer.
The salesman said the boat is one of the marine dealer’s hottest sellers.
I didn’t even check out the bass boats. However, dozens of them with amped-up outboards were there to dream over.
If you’ve got a boat that’s prone to leave you stranded … Hey, no worries. The folks from BoatU.S. have a table set up who can tell you all about their service. For a very reasonable yearly fee, a boater can sign up for towing. Believe me, there are no strings attached and I wouldn’t leave the dock without the coverage.
In fact, I’ve used towing from BoatU.S. twice this season.
If you have any interest at all in getting outside and enjoying the recreational opportunities that living in the Chattanooga region provides, check out the Scenic City Outdoor Expo.