The right medicine for cabin fever

Around this point every winter, we anglers start to feel the itch of restlessness irritated by long months of separation from our boats, our gear and our fish.

The itch can be bad. It’s more severe some days than others. Symptoms vary, but for many of us who truly love fishing, the itch is especially vexing now that we can see March on the calendar. We are well past the halfway mark in the race to the thaw.

We know the cure, but fishing is out of reach for the next month or so. Fortunately, we can soothe the pain a bit at several nearby events where like-minded anglers will gather in coming weeks.

One such event is the Berlin Bass Casters Fishing Expo on March 2 and 3 at the Minerva Community Building. Admission is $3, and food will be served.

“After all this crummy weather this winter, it will be good to get out with other fishermen, shoot the breeze with people we haven’t seen in a couple of month, and buy a few things,” said longtime bass tournament competitor Tom Wickersham.

He’s a member of Berlin Bass Casters, a fishing club for anglers who live near the reservoir that winds across Mahoning, Portage and Stark counties. His club stages the annual expo, which will feature new and used fishing tackle, boats and equipment.

“Best of all, it gives us all a reason to get out of the house and talk fishing with good friends,” said Wickersham, who also runs EZ Reel, a fishing reel service business. “This is our 15th year, and it’s always great to get relief from cabin fever. By word of mouth and social media, people find out, and we’re expecting a nice crowd.”

The Fishing Expo still has space for those who’d like to set up a table to showcase their wares or promote their cause. A $30 setup fee will be charged. Call Wickersham at 330-205-7810. Minerva Community Building is at 123 Brock Ave., Minerva.

Local anglers also may want to visit Vic’s Sports Center in Brimfield, not far from the Kent exit of Interstate 76. The boat dealership has scheduled its 2018 Open House on Feb. 24 and 25. Parking and shuttle service will be available at Brimfield Plaza at the corner of Tallmadge Road and Ohio 43.

In addition to the showroom full of Ranger, Starcraft and StarWeld fishing boats, the open house will include vendors with goods for sale and presentations by Bassmaster Elite Series pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., and walleye pros Gary and Nicholas Zart of Team Starcraft.

Admission to the open house is free. Food will be available.

Also coming soon is the annual Niles Hunting and Fishing Supershow, March 2-4 at the MetroPlex Expo Center in Girard. A $6 admission fee will be charged.

Fish & Field Report publishers Rick and Judi Henninger organize the annual show, which this year again will feature displays of boats, fishing lures and tackle, and equipment for hunters and campers.

All the local get-togethers are good ways to get relief from cabin fever without the fuss and cost of traveling to Cleveland or Pittsburgh for the bigger outdoor shows.

Over the years, I have found that an hour or two strolling the local expos is a fun and relaxing way to mix and mingle with other anglers.

Occasionally, I find a bargain or a can’t-live-without-it fishing accessory. But the best cabin-fever medicines are the chats in the aisles with old friends and new acquaintances.

With show season in the air, spring cannot be far behind.

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