The newest evolution of the softbait story will be unveiled at the boat show in Auckland next month.

Since its introduction here about seven years ago, softbaiting has seen hundreds, perhaps thousands, of keen fishers flocking to seminars and tackle shops to update their knowledge and equipment.

Most major fishing writers have produced at least one book on the subject and now few boats head out without at least one softbait rig.

At the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show in Greenlane, the people who did more than anyone else to launch the softbait craze in New Zealand plan to give it another boost.

The team from Pure Fishing, distributors of the Gulp! and Gulp! Alive brands of softbaits, are promising products that will improve catch rates and give anglers new weapons with which to target fish.

This "giant leap forward" appears to have three main planks: New nano-technology rods and reels, an improved version of the popular Firewire Exceed braid and a completely new product called Bio Dip.

Bio Dip is a specially formulated dye that will enable fishers to completely customise their softbaits, simply by dipping the bait into whatever dye or dyes they wish.

"Bio Dip will allow anglers to create unique colour combinations," says Pure Fishing's Mal Dawson. "They can match their softbaits to the water conditions where they fish."

Dawson and his team will showcase the new Bio Dip and Abu Nano rods and reels throughout next month's boat show on the Top Catch Ask the Experts stand.

But they won't be the only fishing experts sharing their knowledge at the show. Top fishing "gurus" Justin Corric, Paul Senior and Joe Dennehy will present hourly seminars on a wide range of fishing topics.

Organisers have also lined up several other attractions for fishers.

"For a start, visitors to the show will be able to restock their armoury in what is unquestionably New Zealand's largest fishing supermarket,"'says the show's general manager, Dave Gibbs.

"In our Hauraki Fishing Hall we will have an estimated $2 million worth of rods, reels, tackle and fishing accessories," Gibbs says.

"All of it is for sale, much at incredible show-only prices."

Visitors can also have a go on a realistic fishing simulator, enter the draw for a heli-fishing trip or enjoy a break in the Fisherchick Haven.

"Those who fancy themselves as big game fishers, or who would like to find out what it is like to fight a large fish, should make their way to the De Coro gamefishing simulator on the New Zealand Sport Fishing stand.

"Guided by top big-game fisher Leanne Tasman-Jones, anglers will be able to try to land an imaginary (but very hard-fighting) tuna.

"Fight times will be recorded and the winners will receive prizes including fishing spots on Auckland charter boat Wavedancer and Best Western Travel Cards."

Gibbs says visitors to the Hauraki Fishing Hall will also be able to go in a free draw to win a heli-fishing trip.

The prize is for the winner and two friends to accompany Radio Hauraki breakfast host (and mad-keen fisher) Nick Trott on a half-day Heletranz fishing trip. This will include a helicopter flight to a remote and usually inaccessible part of the coast (often on Great Barrier or around the top of the Coromandel Peninsula), plus the chance to land an XOS snapper or kingfish.

Gibbs says female anglers might also like to enjoy a break from all the show testosterone by visiting the Fisherchick Haven.

"This was a really popular area last year," he says. "Staffed by the Bayfisher Fisherchicks, this is a great place to get advice, go in the draw to win some great prizes or relax on their signature pink couch."

Gibbs says that while the Hauraki Fishing Hall is the hub of fishing activity at the show, there are fishing products, advice and demonstrations right throughout the large boat show.

"In the Discover Boating Centre, both main MCs, Adam Clancey and Bruce Duncan, are expert fishers."

Gibbs says the pair will be doing a series of fishing demonstrations in and around the large Hutchwilco Pool in the Discover Boating Centre.

"They will also be doing filleting and cooking demos, helping identify different fish species and sharing their favourite (and most productive) winter fishing spots."

Gibbs says organisers also arrange for a fun "fishing contest" for children to be run around the Hutchwilco Pool throughout the show.

"This is really popular with kids of all ages," he says. "And it also gives them the chance to learn some really important lessons.

"All of those taking part have to wear a lifejacket. They are shown how to choose one that fits correctly, how to put it on and how to secure it properly. Then, when they have caught a fish, they have to take it to the fishery officers and have it measured."

Gibbs says all the children seem to really enjoy the experience - and the chocolate fish they receive as a reward for all their hard work.

The boat show is on at the ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane, Auckland on May 12-15. Entry is $18 for adults and children 13 and under get in for free, as long as they are accompanied by a paying adult.

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Great catch
What: New revolution in softbaiting

Where: Hauraki Fishing Hall

Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show

ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane

From: Thursday May 12 to Sunday May 15. Daily 10-6; late night Friday to 9pm

More info: www.boatshow.co.nz