Big Knobs, Hobie kayaks, Widow Maker, shore sonar: Opening day, Schaumburg Show

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Mandy Oberfoell counting tungsten jigs at Widow Maker Lures booth at the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center.
Credit: Dale Bowman

Watching shotgun shells, orange jigs and duck decoys being tossed into Dominic ‘‘Big Knobs’’ Culjan’s coffin still lingers in my memory a decade after the most distinctive funeral I’ve ever seen.

Of all thingsThursday, I saw a guy wearinga green jacket from ‘‘Big Knobs Tackle Shop’’ in Utica.

Oh, the things you see at the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center. ‘‘The Schaumburg Show,’’ the big show in the Chicago area, runs through today.

Here are a few things that grabbed my attention on the opening day of the show:

Dennis Van Meenen with a Big Knobs jacket at the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel &amp; Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center..<br>Credit: Dale Bowman

Dennis Van Meenen with a Big Knobs jacket at the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center..
Credit: Dale Bowman

*The guy in the jacket was Dennis Van Meenen of Cary, a notable fisherman who once held a line-class world record for sauger. His sauger still might be the heaviest caught from the Illinois River.

*The rise of kayaks keeps building. Jeff Heimsoth, the owner of Quest Watersports (Booth 107), said the Hobie Compass is the new kayak this year. It is one of the lightest at 87 pounds, versatile enough for fishing and general use and priced at $1,949.

‘‘More and more are giving up big boats or supplementing the big boat or migrating from shore fishing,’’ he said.

That is a notable shift that keeps on.

The Hobie Compass at the Quest Watersports booth is one of the new products on display at the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel &amp; Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center.<br>Credit: Dale Bowman

The Hobie Compass at the Quest Watersports booth is one of the new products on display at the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center.
Credit: Dale Bowman

*The most inventive thing I saw was the sonar mapping and viewing system from Deeper Smart Sonar for shore, kayak or ice fishing. Set up an app, then do magic on your local pond or lake. There’s a show special for $220.

*I’m a fan of ice jigs, and Arden Katz directed me to Widow Maker Lures (Booth 103). Mandy and Brian Oberfoell had some first-in-the-Chicago-area jigs out, including tungsten jigs in glow and metallic. The show special on the tungsten jigs is $2 each or 12 for $20.

*Clearly Outdoors (Booth 415) had a system of tight but easily adjustable slip bobbers with a show special of three bobbers and 32 stops for $10.

*The Forest Preserves of Cook County (Booth 900) had the usual fishing booklet and the stocking chart from 2017, explaining the more than 300,000 fish stocked.

*Chae Dolsen (Webster Lake Guide Service, Booth 821) mentioned that the Professional Musky Tournament Trail championship will be held on Webster in October. That might be the closest it comes to Chicago.

Larry DeVera holds a barred owl at the “Birds of Prey” booth at Chicagoland Fishing, Travel &amp; Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center.<br>Credit: Dale Bowman

Larry DeVera holds a barred owl at the “Birds of Prey” booth at Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center.
Credit: Dale Bowman

*For families, the Birds of Prey exhibit (by the concessions) is always a hit. Iasked Larry DeVera if the barred owl he was holding was named. He said: ‘‘No. If you name them, people think they are pets. The show is the biggest event we have. The show [through donations and money from the show] helps feed the birds.’’

*Also for families is the fish simulator in the Maple Bassmasters’ booth (first aisle left). On the opposite end is a whole knot of family stuff, from Chauncey’s Great Outdoors to the Chicago Herpetological Society.

*Just good to see John Mannerino at Rocky’s Angling Pursuits (307). He and his wife sooth my soul. Also good, as other years, to see the coolers of big crappie on ice from Reelfoot Lake at theBlue Bank Resort booth (405).

*I bet Buffalo Valley Spice & Peter Pipers Pickles (Booth 17) again will have the deepest lines of the show.

Show info is at sportshows.com/chicago.

Follow me on Twitter @BowmanOutside.

OK, I could not resist taking taking this photo of Mike Mayworm reading the Sun-Times while working the Salmon Unlimited booth at the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel &amp; Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center.<br>Credit: Dale Bowman

OK, I could not resist taking taking this photo of Mike Mayworm reading the Sun-Times while working the Salmon Unlimited booth at the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center.
Credit: Dale Bowman


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