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A celebration of all things muskie

Bulldawgs were flying off rack Friday Musky Innovations booth Chicago Muskie Show Harper College. | Dale Bowman~For Sun-Times Media

Bulldawgs were flying off the rack Friday at the Musky Innovations booth at the Chicago Muskie Show at Harper College. | Dale Bowman~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 14, 2013 6:40AM



Ah, the smell of plastisol.

It flowed from a huge rack of Bulldawgs at the Musky Innovations booth as I entered the Chicago Muskie Show on Friday at Harper College in Palatine. The purple-and-white cisco color was already sold out in one size.

As always, it is all things muskie at the show. A couple of hundred people crowded in to hear a seminar from Joe Bucher on ‘‘Little Tricks, Big Results.’’ It was a packed throwback to the glory days of outdoors shows.

Last year, Shimano debuted its high-end TranX reel at the show. This year, the focus is on the Calcutta D series of reels. They are going for a bit more than $300 and are available from several of the retailers at the show.

Dave Kranz from Dave’s Bait, Tackle & Taxidermy in Crystal Lake expected to move some of them. Early on, though, he said the hot items were St. Croix rods (top-end rods) and Rod Gloves (inexpensive rod covers). He said they already had refilled the stand with Rod Gloves because so many had sold.

The thrill of the day was a bucktail-burning competition in the Harper College pool. They were casting and burning the big, hulking Double Cowgirls (OK, without hooks) in the same pool that swimmers use at other times.

Thorne Brothers edged out Musky Innovations in a burn-off after they had tied in regulation.

From plastisol to the smell of water.

It was time.

All-Canada Show

Time to head to the All-Canada Show at Pheasant Run in
St. Charles. If the muskie show is all things muskie, the All-Canada Show is all things Canadian vacation-related — from hunting moose and bear to fly-in fishing trips for walleye and lake trout.

Chicago Boat, Sports
and RV Show

As usual, the Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show had its glamorous big boats on opening day Wednesday at McCormick Place.

MarineMax Yachts had the priciest one in the Azimut, a
45-foot flybridge. It listed for
$1.2 million, but it will sell for less than $1 million.

A guy walking out after touring it said to his buddy: ‘‘It has a grill and everything.’’

‘‘Everything’’ is understating it. The Azimut has three staterooms, upper and lower helms, satellite TV and joystick technology and was powered by twin 480-horsepower Cummins diesels. For starters.

The Floe Craft, which was listed for $1.1 million but also is likely to sell for less than $1 million, was nearly the Azimut’s equal.

‘‘It’s like a pontoon on steroids,’’ a show staffer said.

Speaking of pontoons, they were one of the major attractions at the show again.

‘‘It is not just grandma and grandpa buying them,’’ The Boat House sales manager Don Schnurr III said.

Pontoons have come a long way from the days of being metal shells with a couple of picnic chairs. Many now are in the high-performance, even high-end, range.

I found comfort in seeing one of my favorite features. Gage Marine again presented its ‘‘Evolution of Boat Building: Seven Decades of Innovation’’ exhibit, which follows the construction of wooden boats.

For kids, I think the new Rockin’, Rollin’ Bubbles will be the hit of the show.



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