For many anglers, January is a time to get some annual maintenance done on their boats. For others, it’s too cold to spend much time on the water, but that doesn’t mean fishing is no longer on their minds. This time of year, boat shows and fishing expos are a great way to pass the time, upgrade gear and find out what’s new in the fishing world.

Not looking to buy a boat? That’s okay, because plenty of other vendors and activities that appeal to anglers are regular guests at these shows. Pro anglers and fishing guides will be on hand at many shows to offer seminars. 

You can benefit from decades of experience just through the seminars, which can improve your fishing by leaps and bounds. Learn to throw a cast net, learning tactics for surf fishing, how to catch stripers and largemouth bass on your local waters, where to troll for big catfish, how to catch inshore fish with soft plastics, what it takes to be a successful offshore angler, and a host of other things. 

You can also find your share of new fishing tackle and boating gear from the vendors on hand. Many shows also feature kids’ activities, including casting competitions and pools filled with water and fish for youth anglers to test their angling skills. 

Exhibitors will also include regional and world-wide outfitters, so you can book that fishing trip to the coast you’ve been wanting to take, that mountain excursion for rainbow trout or anything in between. You can even book that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Alaska for some salmon fishing.

The Bass Tubs of Oklahoma, glass aquariums the size of an 18-wheeler’s trailer, will be at many of the shows. In their waters, pro anglers will demonstrate lure techniques, allowing spectators to observe how the fish react to the action of different baits.

First up on the show schedule is the Grand Strand Boat and Sportsman Expo at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center Jan. 6-8. While it’s one of the smaller shows, it’s the first, and it grows every year. 

Next is one of the biggest fishing shows of the year, the Bass and Saltwater Fishing Expo, Jan. 13-15, at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. It features plenty of boat dealers, fishing tackle vendors and dozens of seminars to feed your fishing bug. The crew of the Fishin’ Frenzy of Wicked Tuna television fame will be on hand for autographs, photos, and to talk fishing.

One of the newest fishing expos in the Carolinas takes place Jan. 21-22 in Mount Pleasant, S.C. Held at the Omar Shrine Temple the show will feature products, speakers, and seminars that focus on inshore fishing. Mark Nichols, the founder of D.O.A. Lures, and C.A. Richardson of Flats Class TV are two of the show’s speakers.

The final weekend of January features three fishing shows, two of them in different Greenvilles. The Upstate Boat Show in Greenville, S.C., is Jan. 26-29 at the TD Convention Center; it will feature everything you need to get ready for boating and fishing season. About 350 miles away, the Carolina Outdoor Expo will take place at the Greenville (N.C.) Convention Center Jan. 27-29, will feature plenty of vendors and more than 20 seminar speakers. That same weekend, in Charleston, S.C., the Charleston Area Convention Center will be the site of the Charleston Boat show from Jan. 27-29.

If you aren’t able to make it to any of the shows in January — or if you just can’t get enough — you’ll have other chances in February. The Raleigh (N.C.) Convention Center Boat Show runs from Feb. 3-5, the Mid-Atlantic Boat Show at the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center will be Feb. 9-12, and the Columbia, (S.C.) Boat Show will take place Feb. 10- 12 at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds. Later in the month, Feb. 24-26, the Central Carolina Boat and Fishing Expo will be held at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum and the same weekend, the Eastern North Carolina Boat Sale will held at the Greenville (N.C.) Convention Center.

Other upcoming outdoor shows of interest include the Dixie Deer Classic, which will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center March 3-5, the Cape Fear Wildlife Expo March 17-19 at the Crown Complex in Fayetteville, N.C.,  and the Palmetto Sportsman Classic, March 24-26 at the S.C. State Fairgrounds in Columbia.