Great Gear finds new Homes at Quad City Swap Meet

Something happened recently involving the expanded Quad City outdoors community that’s, in my opinion, quite special. And as awkward as this may sound, it was the 18th time it has happened since 1997. Huh? How does that make any sense at all you may be wondering. I’ll explain.

The 18th annual Swap Meet took place at the Quad City Conservation Alliance Expo Center. It’s a time for outdoorsies to sell, buy and trade their outdoors related gear—both used and new. This event is not only open to any and everyone—it’s totally free!

The Quad City In-Fisherman Club, one of the five managing clubs of the QCCA, opens the Expo Center to the community, provides and sets up tables for display of gear and even provides complimentary coffee, soft drinks and pastries.

And if that isn’t special, I don’t know what special might be—what a great service to the community.

“This started as a small internal swap event among In-Fisherman club members,” Al Haas, one of the original event organizers said grinning. “We had a total of six tables that day, but considered it a success, so we continued it. It grew and we opened it to everyone. Today looks like it’s 50 times bigger than it used to be! This is good for the club and good for the community.”

I’m not sure of the 50 times bigger, but I can attest that more than two-thirds of the 60,000 square foot Expo Center was filled with tables, outdoors gear galore and lots and lots of people.

“I got here at 6:20 and there was a line of people waiting to get in the building to set up their gear even though we advertised that we’d open at 7:30,” club president Mark Parr said laughing. “Like Al just said, it just keeps growing. And it’s become a regional event—some of the folks have come from well over 50 miles away. Lots of people come every year.

“Folks can sell, buy or trade any outdoors related gear—for fishing, hunting, or camping – the only things we don’t allow are firearms or ammunition.”

If you want to mark your calendar for the 2016 Swap Meet, it will be the second Saturday in April, as they all are.

The Quad City In-Fisherman Club was founded in the early 1980s by a group of avid QC anglers. At that time, In-Fisherman chapter clubs thrived throughout the United States due to the popularity of the In-Fisherman organization, magazine, television show and the famous angling Linder brothers, Al and Ron, headquartered in Brainerd, Minnesota. But many years ago, the In-Fisherman organization stopped interaction with clubs and one by one chapters faded away, but not all.

The Quad City club is thought to be the only chapter still in existence and boasts 150 members—both individual and family. In addition to monthly meetings with experts giving presentations on angling, the club tries to have monthly angling outings—the annual September outing on Mississippi River Pools 4 & 5, at Alma, Wisconsin has been a success for 30 years. The original two-day event has turned in to a weeklong fishing trip for many members.

The club’s website (infishermanqc.com) says this very modestly: “It’s really quite simple. The Quad City In-Fisherman Club is a multi-specie angling club that is dedicated to promoting fishing education, conservation and preserving the sport of fishing.”

From my vantage point, those men and women are doing a bang-up job of every bit of that.