Yes, we know it’s cold outside, and if the usual winter fishing options aren't panning out, you’re Jonesing to fish in a big way. In the Mid-Atlantic region if you can’t get out on the water you can at least enjoy checking out piles and piles of new tackle on display at the winter fishing shows.

fishing tackle shows held over the winter
Winter fishing shows, like the Annapolis Fishing Tackle Expo, are a great way to get out of the house when you can't fish.

The best part about hitting these shows is that you can find great deals on all the goodies that will be full price come spring. At some there will be anglers who are unloading extra gear they haven’t been using, and you can get bargain-basement prices for barely-used tackle. And at others you’ll have the chance to speak one-on-one with people who make the tackle or run charters. Many offer seminars as well, and you can take home a notebook full of helpful fishing tips and tricks. So don’t let that cold weather and a winterized boat leave you sitting on the couch at home – defrost the car, bundle up, and head for one of these fun-filled destinations.

January 12, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Join the Frederick Saltwater Anglers (a fishing club full of gung-ho fishermen which has been reconstituted from the Frederick chapter of That Which Shall Not Be Named) at the Frederick Fairgrounds, 797 E. Patrick Street, building #9, Frederick, MD. Tackle vendors for inshore and offshore fishing tackle, boating supplies, crabbing supplies, and charter captains fill up the (very large) room. There will even be marine artists and reel repair people in attendance. Seminars run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., as follows:

- 9, Capt. Billy Gee of Ebb Tide Charters, on Bay rockfishing

- 10:15, Capt. Mark Hoos of Marli Sportfishing, on fishing offshore

- 11:30, Capt. Jeff Grimes of Hel Bent Charters, on flounder fishing

- 12:45, FishTalk Angler in Chief Lenny Rudow, on winter fishing opportunities

- 2:00, Author Shawn Kimbro, on light tackle fishing


January 19, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Heroes On the Water will be holding its 8th annual expo to benefit the Maryland chapter of Heroes On the Water at the Odenton volunteer fire department, 1425 Annapolis Road (Route 175). One hundred percent of the funds raised ($4.00 donations at the door) goes directly to the Maryland chapter, and they’re arranged an excellent slate of speakers for this year’s show:

- 8:30, Capt. Walleye Pete of Four Seasons Guide Service, on fishing the middle Bay with light tackle

- 9:45, Capt. Chris Dollar of CD Outdoors, on kayak fishing

- 10:30, Capt. Gary Neitzey of Fish Hawk Guide Service, on fishing with light tackle and fly fishing

- 11:15, Capt. Brian Shoemaker of Susquehanna River Guides, on fishing for smallmouth bass

- 12:00, Joe Bruce of Joe Bruce Custom Flies, on tips and techniques for northern snakehead

January 18 – 20, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

Head for the Meadow Event Park fairgrounds in Doswell, VA, for the Richmond Fishing Expo. There will be over 60 tackle vendors, boat dealers, and multiple seminars (exact schedule TBD) throughout each day. There’s even an indoor trout pond, so kids can bend a rod in the middle of the winter. 

January 26 – 27, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

The Kent Island Fisherman’s Fishing Flea Market will be happening at the Kent Island American Legion Post #278, 800 Romancoke Rd, Stevensville MD. This is a fun tackle swap with a fun crew, and includes both new and used gear from a huge room full of vendors. Visit the Kent Island Fishermen on Facebook to learn more.

February 2 – 10 (hours vary by date)

The Great American Outdoor Show in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, 2300 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA., claims to be the “world’s largest outdoor show,” and we don’t doubt it. This is a nine day event with 650,000 square feet of exhibit space to wander, but be forewarned, this show includes everything from bear hunting to RVs and only a fraction of it is dedicated to fishing. On the other hand, you can find charter outfits from all corners of the globe (there are exhibitors from nine different countries, including Nambia! But they’re more about hunting for animals like Damara Dik-Dik, than casting to dolphinfish. Yes, we did look it up). 

February 9, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Visit Tri-State Marine for their free Fisherman’s Flea Market 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., 5861 Deale Churchton Rd, Deale, MD. Tri-State pushes the boats out of the showroom and lines up the tables, for their Tri-State Marine fisherman’s flea market. This one’s mostly like a huge fishing tailgate sale or scavenger hunt – you never know what you’ll find. There’s also knife sharpening, a food truck on-site, and Adams Automotive will be displaying tow vehicles, too.

February 9 – 11, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

The Mid-Atlantic Sports & Boat Show is held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. True, this is more of a boat show than a fishing show, but there are plenty of fishing goodies lining the perimeter of the convention center and team FishTalk/PropTalk will be on-site to chat it up with area anglers. 

February 16 – 17, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pasadena Sportfishing Group Annual Expo, at the Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Department, 161 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park, MD, is now in its 27th year and is a perennial favorite. With both indoor and outdoor displays the venue is literally packed with tackle vendors, and there’s pit-beef, oysters on the half-shell, and a whole lot of fish-talking going on. This is usually one of the best shows for discovering tackle deals, but plan to come early because the place is often picked clean by noon or so.

February 22 – 24, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Head for the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, PA, for the Philadelphia Fishing Show. This event will include both saltwater and freshwater tackle, boats, apparel and gear, and even fishing-oriented art. Guides, lodges, and charter boats will have displays here, too, so you can plan out your next trip. Free fishing seminars will be hosted by The Fisherman magazine. Plus, you can actually bend a rod while under a roof – there’s a trout “pond” you can fish in, on-site. Woohoo!

February 23, 8 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Annapolis Elks Lodge, 2517 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater, MD, hosts the Annapolis Saltwater Fishing Expo. This event features a focus on offshore gear as well as Chesapeake Bay saltwater tackle, with a good number of vendors and a seminar schedule that culminates with a lively panel discussion including FishTalk angler in chief Lenny Rudow. With a separate seminar room and a group seminar with a panel of angling experts, this is a great show for those who want to expand their angling knowledge as well as filling the tacklebox.

February 23 – 24, exact times TBD

Now in its 18th year, the famous Lefty Kreh Tie-Fest brings fly anglers together with guides, fly-tiers, gear-sellers, and fly fishing legends. Due to continued growth the event moves to a larger location for 2019, the BWI Marriott. Demonstrations, seminars, and even one-on-one instruction are available. If you enjoy fly fishing, this is the winter event for you. Stay up to date on what’s coming and get the details by visiting LeftykrehTieFest on Facebook.

February 23, 8 a. m. to 12 p.m.

Saturday the 23rd certainly is a busy one, in the world of winter fishing shows, and this is also the date the Mid-Shore Fishing Club holds its Fishing Flea Market at the Elks Club, in Cambridge, MD. There will be plenty of tackle tables to check out, with vendors of both used and new gear. 

March 9 – 10, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (4:30 Sunday)

At the Lancaster Convention Center you’ll discover the Lancaster Fly Fishing Show. Fly guys who live in the northern areas of the Mid-Atlantic region, here’s the one just for you. This is a multi-location show that tours in places as far off as Denver, CO and Pleasanton, CA. The Lancaster show has a number of fly fishing celebrities and tiers, seminars, casting demonstrations, and tying classes. 

Mid-March exact dates and times TBD, 1909 Old Eastern Avenue, Essex, MD.

The Essex-Middle River Fishing Flea market is another one of those shows where you just never know what you’ll find. There’s an eclectic mix of vendors and tackle collectors, both inside and outside of the hall, along with a few boats on display outdoors. There’s plenty of fresh tackle to be found here but if you need to find inexpensive used gear, this is a great place to look. Additional info will be coming soon, on the Essex-Middle River Facebook page.

March 16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A relatively new show for the area, the third annual Maryland Fly Fishing and Collectible Tackle show takes place in Towson, MD, at the West Commons Conference Center, 424 Emerson Drive. This show features rod makers, collectors, guides, and tackle shops from across Pennsylvania down through Virginia. 

March 23 – 24, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The final area show of the season, what used to be known as the Solomons Fishing Fair, has been reconstituted by the newly-formed Southern Maryland Recreational Fishing Organization, to become the Southern Maryland Fishing Fair and Boat Safety Exposition. Its new location is the St. Mary’s County fairgrounds, and they expect to have 100-plus vendors, plus speakers and safety and life saving training.