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Show much to see in two places this week

Last January Chicago Outdoor Sports Show opened with only couple months prep time drew crowds Rosemont; this year show has

Last January, the Chicago Outdoor Sports Show opened with only a couple of months of prep time and drew crowds to Rosemont; this year, the show has major competition with a new fishing show a few miles away in Schaumburg. | Dale Bowman~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 21, 2013 6:38AM



It’s a VanDam showdown.

Dueling appearances between members of Michigan’s VanDam bass-fishing clan and many other hooks highlight this week during a head-to-head showdown between major outdoors shows.

Jonathon VanDam, the young and up-and-coming Bassmaster angler who was the second youngest to win an Elite Series event, will be at the Chicago Outdoor Sports Show, which opens Wednesday at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

Kevin VanDam, the most storied professional bass fisherman, will be at the new Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo, which opens Thursday at Schaumburg Convention Center.

The shows are big enough to require a strategy.

I plan to visit both shows on opening day to get a feel of the space.

Then, here are things that caught my interest, starting with the Rosemont show:

† On opening day, I will check out Dan Basore’s Historical Fishing Display, always one of my favorite stops. He has added some serious exhibits this year on Al Linder, the greatest fisherman to come from Chicago, and Dan Gapen Sr. Basore gave me a preview over the phone and online. I expect it to be a hit and a draw.

† Jonathon VanDam, Gene Ellison and Michael Simonton are the seminar presenters at The Bass Academy, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday.

† I have mixed feelings about the innovative Chicagoland Gun show, co-located in the Stephens Convention Center, but it is an interesting tweak. I have no idea if it will help or hurt.

† At 2 p.m. Sunday, I plan to watch the muskie panel with Spence Petros, Bob Mehsikomer and Don Pursch. Petros, the Chicago fishing legend, is giving away marked maps of Delavan and Geneva lakes at 5:15 p.m. Friday. Mehsikomer will be speaking throughout the week.

† Chauncey Niziol will be working his kids’ magic, especially over the weekend, as a major part of Kids Zone.

† On the tackle side, Jim Grandt of suburban-based Grandt Rods said he will release a 30th Anniversary Limited Edition Series Rod line.

There are other things I hope to fit in, including the cooking segments and deer-cleaning seminar. Rosemont is a broad-based outdoors show.

On to Schaumburg and the new fishing show:

† The last time Chicago saw this big a collection of fishing manufacturers was in 2000, when the ICAST show was at McCormick Place as an adjunct to the BASS Master Classic.

The Schaumburg show may surpass that. Almost all the major players in fishing will be represented: Shimano to Plano to Eagle Claw and beyond.

† I plan to sit in on the Kevin VanDam seminar at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

The seminar schedule is as impressive as the manufacturers lineup. We are talking Mike Iaconelli, Mark Zona, Gary Parsons, James Lindner, Joe Bucher and Jim Saric, Chicago’s great multi-species fisherman and teacher. Iaconelli, one of my favorites because he combines modern PR techniques with traditional bass club info, will present at 1:15 p.m. Saturday at the Hawg Trough.

† Somehow I also want to fit in some time for kayak-fishing seminars, of which there are many.

There’s so much offered for fishermen, including a strong focus on local fishing by guys who know what they’re talking about, that show-going will require planning.

That’s good.

Let the showdown begin.



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