Oak Forest resident Ben Dumblauskas, 9, (right) watches as Dave Munch, with DuPage Rivers Fly Tyers, demonstrates how to make a fishing fly during the 20th Annual Tinley Park Fishing & Outdoor Show at Tinley Park High School Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, at 6111 W. 175th St. in Tinley Park. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 12, 2013 6:20AM
The Tinley Park Fishing Show lured in nearly 8,000 people to Tinley Park High School this weekend.
The show, in it’s 20th year, featured about 200 exhibitors and vendors from throughout the country selling and displaying all things fishing and outdoor accompaniments.
The show benefits not only the most loyal fisherman, but also various high school programs.
Rich Komar, show manager, has been involved with the fishing show since the beginning.
“We needed to raise money for the football team, and we started this fishing show, and now 20 years later, it encompasses almost every program in this school,” Komar said.
First-year visitor Tom McGrath, of Frankfort, has been fishing since he was a kid and was excited to come check out the goods.
“I’m checking out the new tackle, looking for lures, fishing poles and such,” McGrath said. “I want to check out the boats. I saw the boats when I first walked in. They’re amazing.”
Wayne Fee, of Midlothian, has been coming the past 10 years.
“I’m just trying to pick up what I can find if it’s a good deal on it,” Fee said. “I’m buying a reel here in a moment.”
Fee said the best part about the show is that everything is accessible.
“I get pretty good deals, and that’s part of the reason I come here mostly. And you see a lot of stuff in one area so you don’t have to go to a lot of different stores,” he said.
The hot items this year? Bait and lures.
And luckily for Ken Postema from Reel Feel Baits in Lowell, Mich., he was able to sell, sell and sell.
“This is our first year. We were on a waiting list last year, and we’re already signed up for next year,” Postema said.
Brad Wilkins, co-owner of Crabby Bass Lures in Romeoville, also is a first-year vendor who specializes in soft plastic custom-made lures.
Their biggest selling item for the weekend?
“So far the fat whackers and hellgrammites,” Wilkins said.
And for those who don’t know …
“Fat whacker is a 4¾-inch stick bait and the hellgrammites is a 2-inch long feature bait that’s specific to rivers that you find a lot on the DuPage and Des Plaines and the Fox River that are all local to this area,” Wilkins said.
Jim Maher, of Beverly, came to the show looking for “some outdoor stuff.”
“I’m looking to book a fishing trip for the summer,” Maher said. “I’m going to see what they have, and I might get all my supplies. I’m looking for a new fishing rod and a new lure, the whole sha-bang.”
Kevin Anderson, of Tinley Park, is looking to buy a new bait-casting reel.
“I recently got a nice bait casting rod and not a reel, so this a big upgrade for me,” Anderson said. “It’s just that time.”
“The show gets me excited for fishing season, I can’t wait to get out there,” he said.
Same goes for Mary and Al Scepurek, of Clarendon Hills. The Scepureks have been fishing together since 1956 and have attended the show almost every year.
“We’re just looking for some more fishing equipment. I love fishing,” Mary said. “I love to fish for crappie, usually in Minnesota.”
But mostly, Mary is looking forward to the start of fishing season.
“As soon as the ice is off the water, we’re ready.”