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Different Butler Fishing Show continues to expand

| Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012

This is an event for the little guy.

Visit enough outdoor shows, and you'll run across some of the same exhibitors. The big-name outfitters hit all of the largest shows, as do a lot of the most recognizable brand names in sporting equipment.

The Butler Fishing Show is a little different.

It will have 54 exhibitors, some of whom will have traveled from Canada, Indiana, New York, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio. Some will be selling big-ticket items, such as trips.

"But what we get a lot of is the smaller tackle manufacturers, from guys just starting out to others who own tackle shops," said Howard Wagner of Fombell, one of the originators of the show.

"Unlike at some other shows, which are heavy on outfitters, most of our exhibitors are selling products, so anyone who comes to the show with money can actually buy stuff there — from rods to reels and lures and everything else."

Local guides offering trips on waters from the Youghiogheny River to Lake Arthur also will be on hand.

The show, now in its fifth year, is being held Feb. 11-12 at Butler High School.

Originally, the show was heavy on musky fishing and musky equipment, given the connection organizers such as Wagner had with that sport. Its offerings are now broader.

"As word's gotten out, little by little, we've picked up salmon tackle makers, some tackle shops that specialize in walleye equipment, we've got some bass tackle manufacturers this year," Wagner said. "We've got a pretty good mixture of everything, all kinds of equipment."

There will be seminars on a variety of species, too, from muskies in Pennsylvania and elsewhere to northern pike, walleyes and smallmouth bass.

The show features a lot of small-town bonuses, too, like raffles for dinner at the local Wendy's, Valentine's carnations for the first 50 women each day, ice cream coupons and gift cards.

"It's a nice little show, and we've really enjoyed it," Wagner said. "We've met a lot of good people there."

Additional Information:

Butler Fishing Show

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 11 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 12 at Butler Area Senior High School. Admission is free to those 12 and younger; everyone else pays $5. Parking is free. For a seminar schedule, directions to the school and other information, visit the website .

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