Breakout Day is kind of an adult recess at the Outdoor Writer's Association of America. At the 82nd annual conference being held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it was held in public park on the banks of the Grand River. The following are some observations in no particular order.
Hobie was present with some of their kayaks for anglers. I tried one of their models that has their proprietary foot-propulsion system, and it worked well even against the gentle current of the Grand.
Wolverine Boots was on hand and was promoting a new boot sole that has adjustable settings for firmness to customize comfort for various circumstances.
Berkley had a big presence and an especially fragrant table with various Gulp! and PowerBait examples. Being an erstwhile crappie angler, the Gulp! Alive 1-inch Minnows and the Gulp! Alive Minnow Heads caught my eye. Both look to be a good substitute for live minnows as a "sweetener" on jigs. If they work as well as the saltwater Gulp! stuff the live minnow dealers may be in trouble. They also had some PowerBait Atomic Teasers. These small tube jigs pre-rigged with hooks also look like good crappie catchers.
Northland Fishing Tackle is Minnesota-based company heavy into perch and walleye lures, but some of their models like Bro's Bloodworm plastics, Gill Getter jigs heads, Scud Bug jig, and MImic MInnow Slurpie's jig bodies look like they would be terrific crappie and bream baits.
Coleman had a nice array of camping products, including an update on the venerable two-burner Coleman stove. The updated model has a third smaller burner bridging the two round burners, allowing for use of bigger frying pans and griddles with no cold spots. They also had some new lanterns, including one, the LED Quad Lantern, which has four removable "mini lanterns" on a main holder. Looks like a good product for a family with multiple campground bathhouse users.
KB Innovations had the simple and slick Grip 'n' Check. It's a V-shaped plastic funnel that acts as a scoop to remove crappie and other panfish from a boat's livewell, and also measures the fish for lakes with size restrictions.
Although not a display, someone at Breakout Day was running a small Honda gas-powered generator that drew a crowd. No one was sure what it was powering, but it was about the size of a big lunch pail and folks standing five feet away had to ask if it was running.
Final banquet and the Excellence in Craft awards for 2008 are tonight. Headed back to Raleigh in the morning.