January-February-March is the time of the year to catch your local boat shows.
The St. Louis Boat Show was February 8-12. I look forward to this show every year. This year the number of boats and vendors was much larger than last. I hope this is a sign the economy is getting better. I talked to a dealer from Nameoki Marine out of Granite City, Illinois, and he said that they sold 24 boats this year compared to 7 last year. The crowd attending on Saturday reminded me of the crowds in the late 1990's. It was so crowded at times you had to turn sideways to get through.
I love to look at the new boats; it doesn't matter if they are fishing boats or the larger pleasure boats. Boats have really improved the last couple of years--more neat gadgets to better fuel economy. I was impressed with the new pontoon boats. The new ones are like small floating cabins.
I was invited to attend Nameoki's open house the next weekend, and again, turnout was good--lots of interest shown in bass boats. I loved this open house because of the fishing stories people are already telling. With the weather being unusually mild, people are already catching lots of fish--even crappie.
My wife and I just returned from the Bass Master's Classic in Shreveport, Louisiana; and, as in St. Louis and Granite City, the attendance was outstanding. I love the Classic; it really gets my juices flowin, and I'm excited about another boating and fishing season.