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February 2nd, 2012, 07:56 PM
Tompkins: Boat show ready for annual splash at Reliant
Houston Chronicle http://analytics.apnewsregistry.com/analytics/v2/image.svc/chron/RWS/chron.com/CVI/5/CAI/2442331/E/prod/AT/HL Copyright 2012 Houston Chronicle. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. (http://www.fishwestend.com/forum/admincp/#license-4f2b2f9907010) Updated 11:39 p.m., Wednesday, January 4, 2012
When boaters and anglers walked through the doors of the Sam Houston Coliseum in downtown Houston on a winter day in 1956 to attend a new event called The Boat Show put on by local marine businesses, they found about 55,000 square feet of the indoor arena sprinkled with the latest in boats and motors and trailers and fishing and marine gear. [...] local saltwater fishers took a liking to the deep-sided, fiberglass Lamars constructed down in La Marque by folks who knew what it took to build a boat that performed in the open water of Galveston Bay. For folks just looking to cruise, there were fiberglass runabouts sporting tail fins and lots of chrome, a marine imitation of the body style of the flashy cars coming out of Detroit. Just as it was in 1956, The Boat Show is a place for boaters and anglers and outdoors enthusiasts to gather, check out new technology, talk with experts, share information, dream and plan adventures. The Boat Show has similarly grown; this year's event covers more than 16 acres - more than 700,000 square feet - inside Reliant Center, with more than 1,000 boats, dozens of recreational vehicles, aisles of booths holding fishing tackle, fishing guides and folks dealing in all manner of boating- and fishing- and camping-related gear and activities. Over the past decade, use of kayaks, especially among inshore coastal anglers, has exploded as anglers have learned how effective the paddle-powered craft can be for accessing and fishing shallow flats and other out-of-the-way places that most powerboats can't reach. Accessories such as padded seats, rod holders, built-in tackle boxes and even insulated ice chests, rigs for mounting depth finders and GPS units and other angler-specific gear increasingly are being incorporated into sit-on-top kayaks. Just as boaters who attended that 1956 Houston Boat Show almost certainly would shake their heads in amazement at today's burgeoning interest in kayaks, they would be dumbfounded with the changes in outboard motors. [...] they are "dirty" and fairly inefficient engines, as some of the gas/oil fuel doesn't burn in the combustion chamber and is released as an oily, smoky exhaust. Because of the environmental issues associated with two-strokes, outboard manufacturers have been pushed to cease making the engines and convert their lines to four-stroke engines - engines that operate much like a gasoline engine in a motor vehicle.

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