Sportsman wish list

Personal favorite outdoor items that don’t require a credit check

There were so many goodies at the 44th annual Louisiana Sportsman Show and Festival, it took two huge exhibition halls and an outdoor arena, plus all the outdoor space in between, to house it all.

It was a great representation of the kind of products that outdoorsmen use and love.  As I enjoyed walking around the big three-day show, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the big boats, ATVs and top of the line equipment. But reality set in.

So I decided to focus on a few of the items that caught my fancy that I could buy without having to get a credit score check or call my banker. I’m sure everybody had their own list, but here’s my Top 10 items that I wanted to take home from the big show:

Copper Tiger Carvings

I would have never guessed it, but when I asked artist/owner Scott Bollich to pick his favorite copper artwork from the array of fish, birds, ducks, turtles and such, he paused just a second. Then he picked up the big copper catfish and smiled.

“This is it,” he said. It was an awesome piece of outdoor outwork, like his other creations in the Copper Tiger booth. Of all the items there, you’re probably surprised that I went with artwork over fish baits, but here we are.

The Baton Rouge, La., resident combines his love of the outdoors with his talents in these unusual art forms that always draw a crowd at the shows where he sets up his booth.

Jaboom Corn Dawg in Marsh Magic

Jaboom baits

I saw the name before I saw the worms. The name Jaboom Bait Company is a head turner. But when I got closer, the real attraction was the lure simply named “Corn Dawg.” And when Rylan Meyers opened a pack up for me, I knew it was a lure I had to have. It has the look!

‘It’s one of our most productive baits,” he said, “and it will catch bass and saltwater fish like redfish as well.”

They come in regular colors like Junebug, green pumpkin, watermelon red and special colors like Water Boy White and Marsh Magic. The company is based in Houma, La., and was founded by Colby Thompson and Jeremy Norris.

There pirogues are ready for a crawfish boil. (Photo courtesy Pirogue Man)

Pirogue Man

No way I’d fit in a pirogue, so how did a mini-pirogue make my list? Because while I won’t fit, it’s just right for two sacks of boiled crawfish and some shrimp, and maybe with a second pirogue full of your favorite iced down beverage.

“That’s what they are made for and you can get it in any color or with your favorite team’s logo on it,” Cody Ervin, the founder of Pirogue Man said.  “They are custom-made lightweight fiberglass pirogues.”

The minis made by the Kenner, La., company are five foot long, nine inches deep and 20 inches wide and weigh 10 pounds.

Lightweight and strong, Heartland Stands are made in the USA.

Heartland Climbers

There are lots of ways for deer hunters to get up a tree, but staying there and getting down safely can be tricky. Heartland Stands aims at making it easy and safe.

These lightweight stands have steel bolts designed to grab the tree with no slip; black pipe enclosed steel cable to keep straps stiff while climbing and they have a handy neoprene side carry strap. The seats are knotless nylon square netting with double-treated netcoat.

“It’s such a great deer stand that when we had a chance to keep it going,  we took over the company and started re-making it. Everything is made right here in the United States and put together in Lafayette, La.,” Derek Kennedy, who lives in Downsville, said. “We don’t do it to make a lot of money. It’s a labor of love and it’s exciting to see the product still available for hunters.”

Swampro Lures is based in White Castle, La.

Swampro Lures

The big barrel of plastic lures with the sign “All you can get in your hand — only $5” drew me to the Swampro booth, then as I looked closer at the hundreds of packets of various types of worms and creature baits, I could picture myself tying on and and catching a big bass. These creations of young Fallon Boudreaux also come with a story.

“My dad and I have always fished and we went through a lot of lures, so we decided to just starting making them ourselves,” she said. “Our newest lure is the PowahGlide and it’s going to be fantastic.”

I wasn’t alone. The booth stayed busy as any other all three days of the show. The lure company operations are a family affair.

The Warthog sharpener looks complex, but is really easy and works well.

Warthog sharpener

No matter how many sharpeners and how many knives I have, keeping a sharp knife is a challenge. Some devices are difficult, but the new Warthog V-sharp Classic sharpener by David Reynerson of Baton Rouge, La., just made me have to stop and try it.

After a few swipes to get the angle right and some good coaching by Reynerson, I sharpened a pocketknife and a filet knife with ease. Its reversible diamond and stone sides help put on a good edge and then hone it to stay. A smaller V-Sharp Curve sharpener is also available.

“Most people struggle to sharpen knives properly, so we created a sharpener that allows you to quickly get a sharp, accurate edge, and you can enjoy using your knives again,” Reynerson said.

Vertical Gun racks

I still recall the old wooden gun rack that I made in high school shop class that covered a big chunk of the wall and only held two shotguns. Times have changed. The folks at verticalgunracks.com have a simple system for hanging everything from pistols to semi-automatic rifles in a convenient and space saving manner anywhere there is a small place on the wall.

Vertical Gun Racks offer easy storage and accessibility.

In fact, they say they haven’t found a gun yet that won’t fit in one of these compact racks. Each rack is sturdy, coated with a thick, heavy industrial grade rubber coating that is durable and won’t harm the finish of your gun, protecting your gun and rack to ensure a long lasting product. All racks are pre-drilled and holes are countersunk for a flush clean mount.

This cap answers the question, “Is it time to come in yet?” Nope. “Still Fishing.”

Still Fishing

You can’t even count the number of great hats and caps on display at the Sportsman’s Show, but it was a simple one that I had to get my hands on.

It said, “Still Fishing.” As an old man, I’m proud to be able to proclaim that on my cap. There’s a whole line of caps and shirts from this two-year-old Chalmette, La., company.

“The idea came from me being a youngster and being down by the water fishing,” said owner Brennan Dornan. “Mom would yell or call for me to come up to eat supper or do something and I’d yell back that I couldn’t because I was ‘Still Fishing.’”

Cypress Creations

Leonard Price uses reclaimed wood from 100 year-old hollow or stump Choctaw cypress to carve outdoor artwork of everything from pelicans to redfish. And if you catch a protected species like a 400 pound blue marlin and have to release it, he said, he can create a replica mount out of the old wood or driftwood.

Leonard Price creates fish and wildlife from old cypress wood.

The goal of 2nd Millennium Cypress Creations is to bring nature into your living room.

Price is from Morgan City, La., and is a former taxidermist. He always collected driftwood and old cypress and encouraged by a friend who lives in Texas one day, he decided to give it a try. Now it’s his favorite thing to do.

Mike’s Seasonings

You can’t say no to Mike Garner’s seasonings and sauces.

You can try and sell seasonings and sauces several different ways, but when you fire up a black skillet, cook steak and potatoes with your products right in the booth and you hand out samples, it’s gonna work. That’s what Big Mike Garner of Crystal Springs, Miss., did with his Mike’s products.

“Yeah, now you want to buy some,” he said with a grin after putting his Pineapple Jerk sauce on a steak bite and following with a dollop of his spicy, creamy Ranch Dressing on a seasoned potato chunk. He was right. Then he closed the sale with another steak bite coated with his “Not Just Hot Sauce Sweet Asian Glaze.”

There are a dozen choices and even more dry seasonings to try.

You can find more about any of these on Facebook.

The post “Sportsman wish list” first appeared on LouisianaSportsman.com.

About Kinny Haddox 63 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 40 years. He also publishes a daily website, lakedarbonnelife.com. He and his wife, DiAnne, live on Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville.

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