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When I received the call that the New England Saltwater Fishing Show had officially been cancelled for 2021, I was not shocked, but it was another dose of the stark reality of a winter with no normalcy. The facts are that virtually all fishing shows and flea markets are cancelled due to Covid-19.

Sure, the importance of fishing shows in no way compares to what a lot of people have been dealing with throughout this pandemic. Loss of loved ones, their own illness, and the financial stress under which many find themselves- job loss, reduced sales, business closures, periodic shutdowns and salary reductions- all have much greater urgency. However, for surf fisherman

up and down the east coast, attending winter shows is a pastime in and of itself, and a big part of many anglers preparation for the season. If nothing else, it is a good diversion from the winter doldrums. The shows and various markets are often fund raisers for worthy charities, and they are definitely a good way to pickup new or extra equipment and tackle. Many learn about new techniques and new gear, attend seminars and workshops, and just enjoy the opportunity to talk fishing for a few hours. Without these offseason “staples”, anglers will need to find ways to create a little fun for their own sanity,

So what can you do to get through the next couple months? Well, I have a few suggestions. First, head over to the local tackle shops in your area and get those rods and reels serviced. Check your other gear for signs of wear that needs attention by the pros at the shops. Doing this now has definite benefits. You get your stuff serviced early and you are not scrambling to get it done right before the season begins. Let’s face it, the closer to the season start, the longer the turnaround time to get your equipment. Don’t be that guy who misses catching opportunities because you waited too long to get the service done. Remember, the fish don’t wait for anyone.

The other reason to get the service done now is that you can give a financial boost to that local shop during this slow time of year. Let’s face it, a lot of shops are hurting even more than the normal because of the cancellation of shows. A lot of local shops really depend on the additional income that is generated from off season flea markets and shows. When you drop off your stuff, take your time. Look around at what's new at the shop. Take the time to talk to the staff about what's

happening in the local area. Get your license, and pick up some of the standard items you know you will need. Believe me, the shop owners will remember those that help them out. Perhaps they will let you in on where they are REALLY biting, as opposed to what they tell the average customer. Need something special? They won’t hesitate to get it for you.

Another activity that will help you break up the monotony of winter is to take road trips to some “local shops” you’ve never visited, or haven’t visited in a while. These places may have a different selection and different brands than your usual shops, creating an opportunity to compare and learn. Engage them in conversation, learn about some new places you may want to

fish that are close to these shops, and oh, when you are taking a road trip, don’t forget to grab some breakfast or lunch at a restaurant you always wanted to try. If they are not open for dine-in, get some take out and find a local park or other scenic place to eat it. Believe me, they could use the business, and you could use the change from the normal routine.

Last year, and now this winter, have obviously not been the best for any of us, but just a little bit of planning and a willingness to try new ways of getting your offseason "shot of fishing juice”, will create some of the fun you’ve been missing without the shows. Hopefully, before you know it, we will be back out there doing what we love and catching those Striper and Bluefish in the surf. Local shops have been the backbone of the industry for surf fishermen for a long time, and utilizing these local shops whenever you can will insure they continue to be. They have a wealth of knowledge

and info, and they are more than happy to show you the latest products. Most importantly, as I have discussed before, these shop owners are our neighbors, friends, sometimes even family. They are an important part of our community. They are there when we need bait and replacement items on short notice, and now they need us, maybe more than ever. We certainly would not want to see them become a thing of past. No shows? No worries! Get out there and pay the shops a visit- they will appreciate it. Live Authentic! Live the Passion! Tight lines! features a monthly surfcasting blog from Bernie Hoyt , a NYS Certified Fishing

Guide with over 30 years of experience fishing the legendary waters of Long Island. He is well known for his informative seminars at saltwater shows in the Northeast. Bernie offers trips along the outer beaches and inlets of Long Island, as well as Cape Cod Canal, Cuttyhunk, and other Northeast Striper locations. He is a pro-team member for S&S Bucktails, ODM RODS, and KastKing, as well as a member of the Long Island Beach Buggy Association and the Montauk Surfcasters Association. You can contact Bernie on Facebook through Bernie Bass Surfcasting Services, on Instagram @Bernie_bass, and through his website at


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