Pacific Coast Sportfishing Festival held at the Orange County Fairgrounds to me always marks the beginning of the Sportfishing industry showdowns! And it couldn’t have happened on a worse weekend, unfortunately with the closure of the 91 freeway, traffic was horrendous. Saturday myself, UrbanTrekker, and another friend, decided to attend this year’s Pacific Coast Sportfishing Festival at the Orange County Fairgrounds.
Coming from Inland Empire to the Fairgrounds was about a 2 hour trip so we were definitely anxious to get out of the car to say the least. First thing that I noticed is that around the fairgrounds there were various signage to direct you to the proper gate for the show, however it was very confusing because one sign read “Gate 8” then a couple more turns and another read Gate “4”, eventually we did find the correct gate. Directions could have been coordinated much better for visitors that are not familiar with the area.
When we arrived at the gate, maybe it was just me but I was expecting that the parking was free, however the charge was $8 to park, not outrageous but for a venue this small in size I would expect there to be no charge for parking. We arrived at around 10:45am, it opened at 10:00am, there were maybe 100+ or so vehicles in the parking area at that time, and a few already straggling back to their vehicles. Which is always a bad sign to me when I see people already leaving at only 45 min into the opening, it usually either means it is very small or not very good. Cost to enter was $10 per person, military and veterans were FREE (Greatly Appreciated PCS!).
First, if you are used to attending venues like The Fred Hall Show, you might be disappointed in this show. However it is a great kickoff to the Sportfishing show season, and I appreciate Pacific Coast Sportfishing Magazine for putting it together. I saw several vendors that I know well like “CharkBait” and “Daiwa”, and many others that were new to me. I did hear most all saying they would also be at the upcoming Fred Hall Shows next month.
EDITORS CHOICE – I did find a great deal at “Convict Lake Resort”, they are located up in Mammoth Lakes, CA. They have 28 mountain cabins and three lodges. All the cabins and lodges have barbeque grills, flat screen TVs with DirectTV, DVD Player, fully equipped kitchen, coffee maker, towels and bedding. Now if you want to really treat yourself they have Deluxe cabins with jetted bathtubs, steam showers and fireplaces.
Specials are all Sunday – Thursday so keep that in mind when you are planning a trip to take advantage of these prices!
Visit them at www.convictlake.com
- 1-room cabin for two nights
- $100 restaurant credit (4 star!)
- full day boat & motor rental
- $319 – Spring – May 2nd to June 2
- $379 – Fall – Aug 28th to Oct 26th
- $279 – End Of Season – Oct 30th to Nov 15th (check ahead on boat usage this time of year)
There were good deals to be had here and there and the crowd flow seemed very good. I was expecting there to be more vendors than there were, since I didn’t attend last year I cannot attest as to whether attendance was up or down from the previous year. Ketcham Tackle had a great booth area setup with many rods flying out the doors! Hobie was another vendor with a great setup, absolutely love their crafts! and the ability to touch and feel all of them is to me what sells any product, especially in the $3-5K range of the Hobie. The main part of the show floor was absorbed by the large amount of boats that were brought in for show, from flashy spring-break type pontoon floats to full size offshore saltwater craft.
One of the most disappointing parts of the show was the food, or the lack of it. There was one food place, that was it, no food vendors for the show. Come on guys you know most of us come to these shows for some wonderful guy foods! Next year Pacific Coast Sportfishing really needs to work on getting some quality food vendors in before this thing will ever grow past the point it is at now.
The other thing was seating, there were only 5 tables available for an entire show crowd of people so we were forced to have to go outside and walk down to the next building to find an outside table. I don’t think you could ever want your customers to leave the building for any reason, they leave you might lose a sale, as they did with us because it was at that point that we decided to leave from there versus going back into the building.
In closing I think this could be a great show, if things were improved on like more tackle vendors, food vendors, better sitting arrangements, and no parking fee. I love attending all these shows, and from the crowd it appears that I am not alone! I would love to see more vendor giveaways at this show as well, I only saw one company “FishAll” giving out fish attractant samples to everyone.