Boat/fishing show season arrives in the Carolinas

Plenty of marine dealers and fishing vendors will have their wares on display at boat shows around the Carolinas from January through March.

Show us something!

It’s showtime! Whether you’re looking for a boat, fishing gear or just want to talk and hear about fishing, you’ll find all of that and much more at boat shows and fishing expos across the Carolinas starting this month.

The show season starts on the weekend of Jan. 10-12. In North Carolina, the Bass and Saltwater Fishing Expo ( cranks up in Raleigh at the N.C. State Fairgrounds. This year’s show will feature the largest, multi-dealer fishing boat show ever held in eastern North Carolina. More than 30 marine dealers will be on hand with everything from $500 johnboats to the most-upscale offshore fishing machines.

This show will also have more than 100 retail and specialty shops set up throughout buildings on the fairgrounds. They’ll have thousands of fishing products ranging from plastic worms to rods and reels, to high-tech boating electronics. And everything in between.

This show is famous for giveaways. Randomly-drawn attendees will win close to 100 free gifts donated by vendors, including a grand-prize drawing on the final day for an awesome prize package. And you don’t have to purchase anything to win. 

Fishing seminars are a big part of these shows

A full schedule of saltwater and freshwater fishing seminars will give anglers the insight only available from fishing professionals and their years of experience. They’ll share techniques, lure and tackle choices and give you tips that you simply can’t get anywhere else.

And especially for the kids (and kids at heart), the Mountain Trout Pond Simulator will be stocked with rainbow and brown trout up to 3 pounds. A few dozen of these fish will be tagged for special prizes for anglers lucky enough to catch one. And while the tagged fish must be released, anglers can put untagged fish in their creel (limit of two untagged fish per angler).

On the same weekend in South Carolina, the 38th Annual Grand Strand Boat and Sportsman Expo ( will have anglers hopping in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. It’s the Grand Strand’s only boat show and will feature many inland boat and fishing tackle dealers, as well as more from Wilmington to Charleston.

Aside from dealers, this show will also have inshore and offshore seminars from some of the best fishing guides and crew members in the Grand Strand area. And this show is well-known for having some of the best kayak-fishing seminars in the southeast. 

With this show being in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, it’s all under the same roof. So attendees don’t need to shuffle from one building to the next or to roam between indoors and out.

January is just the beginning of the show season

Other boat shows this month include the Upstate South Carolina Boat Show, which runs Jan. 23-26 in the Greenville Convention Center. The Charleston Boat Show is Jan. 24-26, at the Charleston (S.C.) Area Convention Center.

In February, the Central Carolina Boat Show ( runs from Feb. 28-March 1 at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, N.C. This show is very similar to the Raleigh Bass and Saltwater Expo, but on a somewhat smaller scale.

That same weekend, the Dixie Deer Classic ( will be held at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. This show is focused on deer hunting, but does have exhibitors from other areas of the outdoor world. This includes the Southeastern Call Makers Competition and NWTF/DDC Tarheel Open Turkey Calling Championship.

More than $60,000 worth of outdoor gear will be given away at this event. And the main attraction, the Dixie Deer Classic’s awards ceremony will feature more than two dozen awards to deer hunters for big bucks in various categories from North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Show season runs through the end of March

In March, the Pee Dee Outdoor Classic ( in Florence, S.C. is from March 13-15 at the Florence Center. It will feature boating and fishing vendors, displays, manufacturers and seminars. Hunting, hiking and camping companies will also be on hand. Stacy Atkinson, from the popular regional television show “Low Country Wildlife TV” will also have a booth talking about what’s kept him on the air for a decade. 

And this year, the Pee Dee Outdoor Classic will be held in conjunction with the MK Gun and Knife Show.

Rounding out the show season will be the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic ( at the S.C. State Fairgrounds in Columbia, S.C. This show runs from March 27-29, and is made up of vendors and exhibitors from all facets of the outdoor world, with a big emphasis on hunting, fishing, and boating. These include deer antler scoring sessions, a kid’s fishing pond, coyote trapping seminars, fishing seminars, cast netting lessons, and plenty more.

The winter can be a tough time for anglers, but these shows will get us through it, and have us prepared for getting on the water when springtime finally shows up.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1521 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina.

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