Approximately 3,000 people attended the WYMT Kentucky Fishing Expo presented by Pittsburg Marine, which was open to the public Friday through Sunday at The Arena in Corbin.
Over 20 vendors from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and Alabama set up at the expo.
The expo consisted of vendors who offered a variety of products for attendees to purchase.
Among the booths was the Corbin Redhound fishing team, which manned a both as a fundraiser to raise money for competitions like regionals and state. The group takes six individual teams to regionals each year. Teams consist of two students and an adult who serves as the boat captain.
Students are required to pay membership to The Bass Foundation which provides insurance for the year. Team members include both males and females from grades seven through twelve.
Coach Mark Davis said experience on the team provides students with scholarship opportunities to be able to continue their education and compete at the next level.
“I really like trying to help these kids to get where they need to be. If they want to go on to that next level, I am all for it,” said Davis. “We have had kids every year since I have started has gone on to that next level – went on to the state or national level.”
Another local vendor, Kentucky Outdoorsman, said the company has attended each of the three years the event ha
s been hosted. Kentucky Outdoorsman fishing manager Terry Shumate said because the company is located between London and Corbin, it tries to do its part to help the expo be successful.
Vendors, such as the Berea-based soap company, Sugar Mountain Trading Company, offered unique items to help fisherman while out on the water and after their fishing expeditions. The company has created a unique soap designed to remove fish and tackle smells from users’ hands. The soap is a natural lye base and is made using a triple-batch process. Company owners Lisa and Scott jokingly said that they had heard reports of women stealing the soap from their husbands because the soap also removes smells, such as onions and salmons, from their hands when cooking.
Also at the expo, were the Corbin and London-Laurel Tourism offices.
Maggy Kriebel, director of the Corbin tourism office, said they were excited to the host city for the expo as well as have The Arena be the hosting facility.
Kriebel said in light of the Coronavirus, the event saw great attendance.
“I think people are looking for something to do,” said Kriebel. “You’ve got a wide variety of businesses and organizations represented here.”
Kriebel said the two tourism offices were partnering to co-host the National Championship College Kayak Bass Fishing Tournament on Laurel Lake in October.
Kayak Bass Fishing Founder and President Chad Hoover attended the expo to spread awareness about kayak bass fishing and the upcoming tournament.
“We are in our fifth year of the Kayak fishing trail series, which in a nation-wide series of trail events – it’s called a trail because they are all connected. What we do is we compete to crown an angler of the year in Kayak Bass Fishing series,” Hoover said.
Hoover said there are already a lot of college and high school students who compete in the series and those individuals have started expressing their desire to have a competition of their own.
Organizers of the tournament have worked with universities, such as Campbellsville, to come up with a four-person team format.
The competition consists of four-person teams that work together to catch their top five fish. A school can have multiple teams but a team cannot be made up of individuals from different campuses within a single university. The maximum number of individuals on a team is four, but the competition will be accepting two person teams for the first couple of years to help smaller or less established schools grow their programs, Hoover said.
“We have already gotten commitments from the universities that after the second year of doing this [tournament], they are going to put up some really big scholarship offers because then we will launch the high school series,” said Hoover. The goal is for the high school series to be a feeder to the college series and the college series to be a feeder to the pro series. Two years after the college tournament launches, the organizers plan to launch a little league series.
The college tournament will be hosted on Laurel Lake in October.
“The idea behind it was, I needed a partner that had a great fishery, that was centrally located in the country to make it easy for all the schools to come,” said Hoover. “We connected with Laurel River – this is a place I love to come fish. I used to just keep it to myself and not talk about it, but now we are going to descend 50 to 150 teams of four on the lake in October.”