I’ve got a few places I’d like to visit with my family these next two months, beginning with a special trip with my daughter later in January to celebrate her birthday.
She’s turning 14 soon, and there’s no better way to bond with a bona fide teenager than to spend several hours together in the car. Put up the windows, turn off the radio and disable the Wi-Fi, they’ll eventually have to talk to you.
If you enjoy hunting, fishing, backpacking, camping or other outdoors pursuits, perhaps Harrisburg, Pennsylvania should be on your list of places to visit this winter. That’s because the Great American Outdoors Show is slated to take place at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, Feb. 1 to 9.
Nine days seems like a really long time for an outdoors show, but if you’ve ever attended the GAO, you’d know that there’s so much to do and see that one day isn’t enough time to take it all in.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex is immense, and so are the nine halls jam packed with guns, archery equipment, fishing tackle, the best hunting and fishing outfitters, RV’s and more.
If you’ve got youngsters at home, bring them along. Other than spending time together outside (and let’s face it, early February weather is usually not ideal), there’s no better way to get a kid hooked on the outdoors than for them to see you excited about it. And there’s no better place to see it all under one roof.
What’s more is the show is kid-friendly, with special activities geared just for the younger set.
There’s a kids casting competition, a fun and safe air gun range sponsored by the National Rifle Association, and, on Feb. 2, a hands-on seminar to teach kids how to handle a bow. No outdoors show would be complete without the Dock Dogs, who will be competing Feb. 1 to 5.
My favorite part of the show, besides seeing new and innovative products, is watching the fishing experts pass on their tips and techniques at the Hawg Tank.
The 5,000-gallon tank is filled with bass, catfish and bluegill, and it’s always a treat to witness the pros work their magic.
Tickets are available to purchase online or you can buy them at the door. For more information and to view the most current schedule of seminars and presentations, go to www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.org.
Enjoy fly fishing, wine tasting this weekend
If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, a pleasant drive to Doswell, Virginia, just a few miles from Richmond, might fit the bill, especially if you: A) enjoy fly fishing, B) think you might like to give fly fishing a try and/or C) would like to sample handcrafted vintages from some of Virginia’s best wineries.
If you chose any combination of the above that includes C, then the 20th annual Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival is for you.
You’ll be able to enjoy both the best of fly fishing and tasty libations from a long list of Virginia’s vintners (including my personal favorite, Horton Vineyards) in seminars such as “Bourbon and Bass Bugs” and “Mayflies and Microbrews.” You must be 21 years or older to participate in alcohol tastings.
Of special interest to anglers here in Southern Maryland, on Sunday morning, Capt. Chris Karwacki of Chesapeake on the Fly will be presenting “Fishing Tangier Sound and the Chesapeake Bay.”
Karwacki will be sharing his insights into how to fish backcountry flats for Chesapeake stripers and speckled trout.
“The grass flats and marshy barrier islands of the lower bay are a fly caster’s dream. Casting streamers along marshy shorelines and shallow water grass beds for striped bass, speckled trout, and other species is the routine, and many folks don’t need to purchase airline tickets to fish here,” Karwacki said.
While not speaking, he’ll be working at the Sage Fly Fishing booth, so stop by to have a chat and demo some of the best sticks out there.
The event will take place rain or shine in the Farm Bureau Building at Meadow Event Park. Both free and paid classes are offered at this event.
To view the complete schedule of classes and lectures, go to www.vaflyfishingfestival.com. You can purchase one- or two-day tickets online or at the door. Children 16 and younger are free with a paying adult.
If you’re more than just a fly fishing enthusiast, put a trip to Edison, New Jersey on your calendar.
The Fly Fishing Show will take place Jan. 24 to 26 at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center. For more information, go to https://flyfishingshow.com/edison-nj/.
This show will also be making a stop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on March 7 and 8.
Another fish record set
The year 2019 was a good year for smashing old and setting new, never-been-heard-of-before fishing records. Well, you can add the big-scale pomfret to that latter category.
Jeff Rosenkilde of Monkton caught a 22.1-pound big-scale pomfret on Dec. 28 in the Atlantic Ocean canyons off the coast of the Delmarva peninsula.
And while this fish is a first for Maryland, what’s more is it also might qualify for an all-tackle world record by the International Game Fish Association. The current world record stands at 20.6 pounds.