Update, March 12: This event has been canceled.
Previous story: The forests, streams and summits of North Georgia are calling.
The whizz of the line racing down the fishing rod after a cast, the thwack of a bowstring being released, the slap of a paddle on Lake Lanier — as the region shakes off the worst of winter, remind yourself of your favorite bits of the outdoors at the second-annual Outdoor Expo.
Set for March 14 at the Gainesville Civic Center, the expo will include a slew of demonstrations, booths and vendors. Attendees to the free event can catch up on the latest in bass fishing tech, kayaking, wilderness survival and even wildlife photography.
Local anglers will have practiced hands leading seminars on SONAR and electronic charts. Fishing writer and local guide Ken Sturdivant is set to give a demonstration on stripers and SONAR, while John McCalpin will talk about how to get the most out of your modern fish finder and other mapping technology.
“These devices tend to not be cheap, and unfortunately most people who buy them never get the maximum value out of them,” McCalpin said on Wednesday, Feb. 12.
Following his advice, McCalpin said anglers can save a third of their current fuel burn simply by knowing how to use the fish finders and other tech they likely already own.
“For me, it’s been huge. I didn’t really start fishing until about 10 years ago,” he said. “One thing I found out really quickly is the guys who have been out there 30 or 40 years ago just seemed to know where they’re going.”
To compete with the veterans, he dug into his charts and now spends less time trying to guess where fish might be at any given time of year and more time catching them.
“The end result for me is I probably spend less than half the amount of time going from place to place than I used to,” he said.
The inaugural expo was held in Cumming near Forsyth County News, a sister paper of The Times and Dawson County News.
“The interest in this event last year was incredible,” Editor in Chief Shannon Casas said. “Our region has so many opportunities for enjoying the outdoors, whether you like fishing on Lake Lanier, camping in the mountains or just going on an occasional hike or paddle. We hope to provide a lot of expertise on those topics all in one place.”
This year’s event will feature speakers on topics including fishing, kayaking and wilderness survival. The Outdoor Expo is set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St. NE, Gainesville.
Here’s the schedule:
11 a.m.: Bass fishing lures with pro angler and Lake Lanier guide Phil Johnson
Noon: SONAR with Lowrance Pro Staff Ken Sturdivant and Capt. John McCalpin
2PM: Kayaks with Vibe Kayaks pro Erica DeLana
3PM: Stripers with Lowrance Pro Staff Ken Sturdivant
11:30 a.m.: Survival tips of the trail with Mark Warren
1 p.m.: Crappie fishing with Capt. John McCalpin
3:30 p.m.: The secret art of stalking for photographers, wildlife observers and hunters with Mark Warren