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Wisconsin Fishing Expo numbers grow for third consecutive year | By Dan Durbin


March 16, 2018 – Slinger, WI –  After an incredible 13-percent increase in attendance in 2017, an all-time-high, the Wisconsin Fishing Expo (WFE) continued the upward direction with yet another nine percent increase for the 2018 event, held February 23-25.

This is the third year in a row the WFE has seen significant growth in attendance numbers.  In addition, the Expo, itself, grew by 17-percent, now featuring over 150,000 square feet of vendor space, including: manufacturers, retailers, boats, outfitters, electronics, lodges, accessories, and more.

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“It was an interesting year with a major tournament happening and having the Olympics on, all during the same timeframe as the Expo,” said Dan Durbin, Co-owner of the Fishing Expo.  “We had to adjust media buys because people do tend to stray from their favorite stations and, instead, watch the Olympics.  Through a combination of print, radio, TV, and social media we made the right buys and attendance was better than ever. Word of mouth was strong as well as people learned that the expo was expanding again.”

Bast-Durbin Advertising (BDA), current owners of the WFE, took the event over from the nonprofit, Madison Fishing Expo (MFE), in 2016 and like the MFE, itself, BDA continues to give back to the sport they are helping to promote.  Not only does the WFE allow over 20 fishing clubs to exhibit at the Expo for free, but BDA, also donated $10,000 back to the MFE 501C3 so that they could distribute funds to fishing projects and clubs in Wisconsin.  Groups like Fishing Has No Boundaries, Dane County Parks, The UW Fishing Team, Camp Anokjig, and other groups will all benefit.


In 2018, the WFE also saw significant growth in new national manufacturer booths on display at the event, including:  Daiwa, Shimano, Black Fish, Clam, St. Croix and others.  The strong presence of manufacturers helped drive business to the seven-independent brick-and-mortar retail shops that were actively selling at the Expo.  All of which equaled up to massive selection and great deals for consumers, as well as, huge sales for the vendors on hand.

“We were pleased to have our factory booth at the Wisconsin Fishing Expo.  Over 400 anglers were in attendance for both Keith Combs seminar for bass and Tommy Kemos’ for walleye. This show offers us great exposure to our grassroots consumer in the Midwest! Our dealers had a successful show as well.”


Darren Jacobson- Strike King Lures


“Truly a great show. The promoters bring the crowds and they’re ready to buy. Wouldn’t miss it, it’s on our schedule every year.”


Rich Belanger- St. Croix Rods Promotions Manager


“As a first-time exhibitor, we were impressed with the attendance and execution of the event. There was a lot of excitement and engagement by the attendees with our Blackfish line of outdoor apparel. It was the perfect venue to introduce our new brand to the Wisconsin outdoors market.”


Dan Stefanich- Clam Director of Marketing


The WFE also added a new wing to the 150,000 square foot facility dedicated to fishing Kayaks and it was a huge hit.


“The Wisconsin Fishing expo and expansion of the kayak corridor felt to be a huge success this year in Madison.  The amount of interest and enthusiasm of the crowd was energizing, and we feel that kayak fishing is here to stay in the Midwest.  This excitement, the amazing seminars and easy flow of the show, made it a great start to the 2018 fishing and outdoor season.”


Jacob Slominski- Jackson Kayak & Orion Coolers


The 2019 expo is nearly full with many vendors looking to expand their presence at the 2019 Expo.  Yearly, a waiting list develops, as more vendors learn of the success of the Expo.


For more information go to wifishingexpo.com.


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