Tri-County Trout Club show to feature vintage fishing, outdoor items

| Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, 9:27 p.m.

Steve Hegedus' meditation begins with a rod and a reel.

“There is a sort of relaxed focus when you are doing it right,” he says. “You tend to forget everything else and just live in the moment. Pulling a fish from a body of water when you have no idea what is there has a sort of magic to it.”

There is anticipation and satisfaction, adds the president of the Tri-County Trout Club. “When I'm fly-fishing, sometimes, just the act of casting, placing the fly where you want it, then picking it up and doing it again, is enough.”

There will be opportunity for outdoors enthusiasts of all ages to join the Lower Burrell resident in sharing their special moments in nature at the club's ninth annual Sports Show and Flea Market Saturday at Burrell Lake Park's Fisher Hall.

John Lipchik of Pittsburgh, an avid fishing-lure collector, will be one of them. “Getting a fish on your line puts you in direct contact with nature,” he says. “There is nothing like the pull of a fish after making an effort to attract a bite. The peace and calm of the outdoors is good for the mind.”

As a child, his parents took him and his sisters fishing. “I have always felt that this has given us a special appreciation for wildlife, our natural environment and the need to respect both,” he says.

This is his second year as a vendor in the show, which is open to the public. “I appreciate that it benefits a club that has a deep concern for our natural environment and the preservation of trout-fishing for sport,” Lipchik says. “It is a nice, low-key affair that attracts an interesting variety of buyers and sellers of outdoor and fishing items. People interested in starting a collection of vintage tackle can find very interesting, old and affordable items here.”

Hegedus is pleased at its growth. “It's not a big show, but people who have found out about it like to come back, because they have found good deals and also enjoy seeing the variety of items,” he says. There's even frozen turtle soup to go.

Anyone who participates in outdoor sports, including hunting, fishing, camping and other pursuits will enjoy themselves, he says. Collectors of old fishing lures, bamboo fly rods, fishing or hunting licenses and old sporting books and magazines also won't be disappointed, he adds. “There will be a couple of turkey-call makers that make unique calls and fly-tying equipment, too,” he says.

It was sweet nostalgia for Hegedus when he found and bought a brand new Bob-Bet Bait Box at the event a few years ago. “I used to use one all the time when I was a kid, but it got rusty, and I'm not sure what happened to it,” he says. “It has a slogan written right on the side of the bait container that describes how it works — ‘Just half a turn and there's your worm' — that I always got a kick out of.”

Bob Rose of Latrobe, a veteran collector of vintage fishing equipment who has attended for several years, will display early 19th-century lures, bobbers, poles, reels and other items. “I find it very interesting with the diversity of outdoor interests there,” he say. He enjoys answering questions.

Larry Bolland of Franklin Park likes to hear the success stories of people who have purchased his turkey calls, and those who have received them as gifts. He has made more than 2,900 calls and says no two are the same. “I have sold calls in all 50 states and Canada,” he says. “This is my fourth year participating, and I appreciate the chance to show a variety of people what I do.”

Also a longtime fisherman, he enjoys the relaxation of the sport. “I recently purchased a boat and will enjoy spending a lot of time on it when I retire in May,” Bolland says.

Many of the items Lipchik will sell are duplicates of what he has in his collection. “It will be great if someone else can enjoy them,” he says. He has fishing lures made of wood, metal or plastic, from the late 1800s and early- to mid-1900s.

He also enjoys talking with visitors. “The history of outdoor sporting in the U.S. is a very interesting one, and I continue to learn from people who have been collecting for a very long time,” he says.

All the vendors seem to enjoy this show a great deal, he adds. “It is a nice event to have in the winter months when there is not much to do,” he says. “Vendors like the relaxed atmosphere and the chance to talk with buyers and others about their hobby.”

Proceeds from the day will help fund club activities, including sending a student to the Trout Unlimited Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp each year, providing prizes for the club's annual Kids' Fishing Derby at Burrell Lake Park and securing speakers for monthly meetings.

Anyone can join the club, which emphasizes protecting local rivers, lakes and streams and promoting fishing as a pastime, especially among youth.

“Fishing is kind of like any sport that you might love and want to pass on to your kids, or even your neighbor's kids,” Hegedus says. “Maybe the generations can connect over a video game, but I think kids need to get out to experience nature. Fishing is a great way to do that. Unlike coaching youth soccer or Little League, you really don't need to have any knowledge or skill as an angler to introduce your kids to fishing. Take them to a lake where there are some bluegill, hand them a fishing rod with a worm on the hook, and just let it happen.”

Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4664 or

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