Before the bottom fell out of the economy, the owner of the Richmond Fishing Expo could expect the event to draw upwards of 11,000 people to the Richmond International Raceway Complex every year.

When the crash hit, that number fell to 10,000, then 9,800, then about 9,700 last year — not an unexpected drop off, but not what you’re looking for as an event promoter.

So Les Gray, the show’s owner and operator, decided to mix things up for 2011.

Sensing renewed optimism in the fishing industry, Gray has taken Virginia’s most popular fishing-tackle show from the RIR Complex up I-95 to the new State Fairgrounds of Virginia.

The draw?

“To be honest with you,” said Gray, “It was the opportunity to have the show under one roof.”

At the fairgrounds’ Meadow Event Center, attendees will be treated to a 65,000 square-foot Shangri-La of fishy goodness.

The show will feature many of the same draws as in years past — tackle, boats, simulators, seminars with pros and guides, trout fishing for kids, the bass tub, etc. — but this year they’ll all be in one place, waiting to be plundered by housebound anglers eager for spring.

Fishing Expo expects to be a sporting good time | Richmond Times-Dispatch

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