The booth of Lee’s Bait and Tackle at the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo, which runs Thursday through Sunday at the Schaumburg Convention Center, should be among the most interesting at the show. | Dale Bowman/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 21, 2014 10:56PM
John Moy knows how to think outside the bait box.
‘‘When I got into the business, I had talked to the previous owner,’’ Moy said. ‘‘I realized that for me to stay in business, I had to do something different. I can’t match Wal-Mart and Bass Pro. Now it is even harder with people buying online.’’
Moy didn’t think small. From his original Lee’s Bait and Tackle in a mall in Elk Grove Village, he added a shop in Carol Stream and, more important, became a pre-eminent importer of fishing tackle from the Japanese Domestic Market at leesglobaltackle.com.
Moy’s booth was the most interesting at the inaugural Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo last year. I expect his booth (320-324) to be the most interesting again this week.
This is the biggest week for shows in Chicago outdoors. The biggest general outdoors show, the Chicago Outdoor Sports Show, opens Wednesday at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. The top fishing show, the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo, opens Thursday at the Schaumburg Convention Center.
Some of the stuff in Moy and partner Mike Kajiwara’s booth is unique to this country. A couple of things are notable for local fishermen. Tournament bass fishermen made the Deps Headlock Jig a must for winning at times on Geneva Lake. This is a specialty item that goes for $7, and Moy sells them by the thousands.
‘‘It was pretty much the secret jig for a while,’’ he said. ‘‘Now everyone has access to it. It is not so secret anymore.’’
Another product that seems likely to explode is the quad replacement for treble hooks from Decoy Hook.
I am most fascinated by the swimbaits from Gan Craft. They are designed specifically for the trophy largemouth-bass lakes in California.
Moy expects to have a unique California Rainbow ($118) at the show, along with the soft launch of the Clear Lake Hitch ($71). He will have a special baitcaster reel, designed solely for the Japanese market and able to cast extremely light lures.
Some of the companies you might have heard or read about will be sharing space with Moy at Schaumburg. His booth will bring back memories of when companies launched products at Chicago outdoors shows.
As usual, the Chicago Outdoor Sports Show will be a broad-based show with more of a family focus.
One thing of note is the Musky Panel on Thursday and Sunday with Spence Petros, Bob Mehsikomer, Chris Taurisano and ‘‘Ranger Rick’’ Krueger. As usual, one of my favorite stops will be at Dan Basore’s historical fishing exhibit.
Last year, a small gun show was co-located with the show. This year, the Chicagoland Gun Show, co-located Friday through Sunday at the Stephens Convention Center, looks more organized and viable.
Joel Greenberg’s A Natural History of the Chicago Region defines Chicago outdoors history. Now, his A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction has earned international acclaim. He will sign books from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and will have an interactive conversation with senior curator of urban ecology Steve Sullivan. It’s free, but RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to naturemuseum.org.
With any remaining open water locking up again this week, Braidwood Lake and the clubs surrounding it should be the hottest spots in Illinois for goose hunting.
I wonder if baseball conventions are like newspapers or access at Ogden Slip.