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Posted on Feb 24, 2012 in Get Reel
Boat Show Impressions
by John Brownlee

The annual Miami International Boat Show took place last week, and as usual, it was a whirlwind of press conferences, new product introductions, cocktail parties and more. It’s also the place where I run into a ton of old friends, people I typically only see at that show, a great time for reconnecting and sharing stories from the past - mostly fishing tales from one place or another.

It was a great show this year, with more new products introduced than in past years, or least that was my impression. Boat companies including Boston Whaler, Grady-White, Jupiter Marine, Contender, Pursuit and many more showcased all-new models sure to resonate with the fishing public.

On the electronics side, Furuno introduced an new touch screen system named TZTouch (TZ stand for “Time Zero”) which makes your electronics operate in the same intuitive fashion as an iPhone, a very cool and sophisticated development. And Airmar transducers held a conference on their new Chirp transducers, a technology that represents a major paradigm shift in fish-finding.

And speaking of electronics, I got the chance to sit in the Simrad booth and autograph hats for a few hours Friday afternoon. Simrad is a major sponsor of Sport Fishing Television, our award-winning television series currently airing Saturdays at 12:30 pm EST on NBC Sports Outdoors (subtle plug), and I am fortunate enough to serve as one of the hosts of the show.

The folks at Simrad were kind enough to ask me and several other hosts of the various shows they sponsor to sign hats for fans of the shows, and I was skeptical that anyone would want a hat signed by me. Why ruin a perfectly good hat? But I learned something in the process; actually, several things.

First, I learned that people go nuts for free hats, signed or otherwise. I also learned that a subset of the population loves getting an autographed hat, no matter who signed it. Case in point: A lady of advancing years approached me when she saw we were giving things away. “Are these free?” she said, gesturing toward the hats. “Sure,” I said, “and I’ll even sign one for you.” She stared at me quizzically and I knew she didn’t know me from Adam, but she eventually shrugged her shoulders and said, “What the hell, why not?” I sent her on her way with an autographed cap after she promised to watch our show the following day.

I did meet a slew of fans of the show while at the Simrad booth and signed so many hats we almost ran out. It was fun and I came away with a new appreciation of the boat show and the myriad personalities it attracts. It’s still the best show in town every February, in my book.