The science of modern bait, that’s what made Fishing Physics the most innovative thing I noted on opening day of the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo.
They were lining up early Thursday for thearea’s preeminent fishing show, which runs through 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, at the Schaumburg Convention Center.
This is an extended online version of my Sunday column for the Sun-Times outdoors page.
Though Carl Vizzone noted, “You can look at new rods until your eyes pop out.”
Fishing Physics is not about the physics of rods, but of bait.
The baits are hydrogels capable of absorbing and dispensing fish-attracting solutions.
“It is scent dispensing that works like osmosis,” said Greg Toupalik, one of the booth staff in matching florescent chartreuse shirts. Fishing Physics staff also had florescent orange for the show just in case there was any trouble finding booths 231-232.
The idea for artificial salmon eggs came from a fishing trip by a couple University of Florida professors to Alaska.
Afterward, they called JoAnn Bachewicz, a businesswoman, and said, “We need help with a business.”
She helped get Fishing Physics going and it to expand from salmon eggs. There is a licensing agreement with the University of Florida. The baits debuted at the ICAST show last year and are making their Midwest debut in Schaumburg.
The baits–grubs, paddletails, salmon eggs, etc.–are selling for $5.50 a bag at the show and are rechargeable with scent. The baits are made in Valparaiso, Ind.
“This is a whole lot of fun,” Bachewicz said.
On opening day, Toupalik said the most poplar baits were the 2- and 3-inch grubs. I would have thought the salmon egg imitations would have been. The imitation salmon eggs beat having to cure roe, then having to work to keep it on the hook.
(bullet) To go from the cutting edge of scientific innovation to a throwback I love: the Great Alma Fishing Float is at booth 623.
(bullet) Lee’s Bait & Tackle (booth 320-324) retains its place near the top in innovative booths with its Japanese Domestic Market products. From the experienced to the novice, their booth continues to wow showgoers.
(bullet) Funniest part of opening day was meeting Mark Zona. No, not the fishing star from the south suburbs who presented at the Hawg Trough. The Mark Zona I met was the other one, who also grew up at the same time as the fishing star in the south suburbs. but he went to high school at Bloom instead of Homewood-Flossmoor.
“Couple years ago I got an invite to be on a guy’s fishing show on the AM and I thought about doing it,” laughed that Zona, who works in technology rather than fishing shows. He only fishes casually at places like Eagle River, Wis.
*Coolest photo opt was ofDylan Saunders, 9, of Schaumburg, at the fishing simulater while his dadTimjoyfully recorded it, asRalph Sweatgave advice. As usual the fishing simulator is at theMaple Bassmasters (booth 4 along the wall as usual). It is one of those fun things for kids.
*The most common questions at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources booth (908-909) were about the messed-up tournament regulations (clarification should come any day), boat registration and the Water Usage Stamp.
*Best rumor of the day was thatMarc Miller, IDNR director until a couple weeks ago, toured the show. But I did not see him.
*Favorite sight of opening day: WatchingJeff Nolanand Chicago’s most famous fishing dog, the rescued Yorkie namedMolly, tour the show.