For many, the spring fishing season begins the minute the doors swing open for the annual Fred Hall Fishing Tackle and Boat Show.
That will happen Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Long Beach Convention Center, and for five long days, frenzied anglers will be gobbling up everything from shiny new reels to hulking new boats.
The Fred Hall show has been a rite of spring for 57 years and this year is no different. More than 50,000 items will be on display for fishermen, boaters and campers. Representatives from outdoor destinations throughout and beyond North America will be there to show what's so special about their necks of the woods.
Over the five days, more than 400 seminars will take place, to help enthusiasts of all types of fishing improve their production, come the real start to the spring season. There will be giveaways galore, mostly by raffle, of things as small as fishing hooks and as large as boats and automobiles.
The show, by its sheer size and timing, is the perfect chum that gets people in the mood to fish again. But this year's show will also have a serious side.
With the issue of closure threatening to take away some of the state's most popular fishing grounds, representatives of various lobbying groups will be soliciting support in opposition to those pushing for closure.
Some are requesting that show-goers wear red shirts as a show of unity, and at least one booth -- Allcoast Sportfishing/Finnseeker -- is entering those wearing red in drawings for rods, reels and other equipment.
Admission is $10 for adults and free for children 15 and younger. Hours are 2-10 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday.