Striper Day..or the future of it

I don’t drink much, maybe few beers a year but Saturday night after the Striper Day I came home, hugged the wife and daughter and poured myself a massive glass of Pelinkovac (Croatian bitter liquor). It was awesome seeing many of you and yeah, thanks for the kind words. SJ crew did a great job under challenging circumstances and my son busted his ass on his feet all day too at SJ table.

Did we expect such a crowd? Let me ask you something, if you did something for the first time in your life, could you tell me exactly what you would expect to get ? It got very crowded for about two hours in the morning, after that it seemed like a breeze in comparison. Vendors might like packed house but I don’t and I am pretty sure most people trying to buy stuff would prefer a little bit less. So I’ll use this blog post for you to tell us how we can we give you a better, more pleasurable experience

It is only fair that we take suggestions from our readers , after all we did his show for your enjoyment and to promote the sport we all dearly love. I was very touched that not few but over a hundred of you took the time to stop me in my tracks and tell me how much you enjoyed it and how much local surfcasters needed a show in this area.


(yeah, you knew that the BUT was coming)

you have to take in consideration these things BEFORE you reply.

  • There is no bigger place on Long Island that has a Theater and big room in proximity of each other. Rent a gym? Sure, do you want us to make another flea market type even on LI where there is NO seminars and no interaction with guides, authors and speakers? Keep in mind that sales rep from co like VS, Penn, St Croix and many more do not attend flea markets because they do not sell direct. Do you really want  another flea market ?
  • If I hear one more time “you guys need a bigger venue”….anyone on this blog knows of a bigger venue WITH not one but TWO seminar rooms in close proximity, one that seats at least 400 people for a seminar? I am all ears. Yes, we know gyms are great location for a show but I have not seen one yet that has any type of seminar room attached, never mind two. It seems that learning and sports do not go together.keep in mind that we spoke to just about every college in LI last year ad visited facilities
  • Please don’t mention the Nassau Mausoleum aka Colosseum . Not even the biggest publication in USA can afford that place. You want to pay $15 or $20 just to park your car? I think not
  • So no ability to get bigger venue except turning it into another flea market. Now that we take that in the consideration, lets hear some thoughts on how to make it better in the future. I bet that takes a lot of wind out of the sails of many but we’ll sit back and listen to our readers

67 comments on “Striper Day..or the future of it

  1. joe wilson

    I think it was great. very clean spot. mabye start it earlier next time I was there at 6 and there was about 200 people in front of me ha. other wise if there is fishing involved people will show up even if was in a cardboard box. I had a blast and won myself a st Croix and got a call from super strike telling me I won there free raffle. playing the lottery all week

  2. Jimmy S.

    Great show. I suggest starting the 1st seminar the same time the doors open. The crowds were more manageable when people went to seminars.

    1. Zeno Hromin Post author

      I am going to reply for a few things and I hope nobody takes offense to what I’m saying
      I’m trying to be as honest as I can
      It is not fair to the vendors to start seminars at the same time as the show
      If you’ve been to some of the other shows, you will find out that the room is sucked dry once the seminars start so you kind of want to be fair to them to too
      they are big reason why people come

  3. Scott Cunningham

    Hey Z
    Congrats on your first SJ show…If you’re going to run into snags, having a huge crowd certainly isn’t a bad snag to have. I unfortunately only had a limited window in the morning and turned around when I finally found the end of the line, knowing I probably wouldn’t get in quickly enough. The only suggestion that I can think of is that maybe having giveaways every hour (perhaps based on an entry ticket number) rather than to the first xx number of people in the door, might alleviate the front end crowd a bit. I realize that there are a number of guys going for the custom plug vendors that will always get there early to buy em (and flip em?), but maybe this would have an effect on the overall flow. Maybe you guys should reach out to the developers of the new coliseum to let them know the kind of facility that you need….I believe I read that they’re planning conference centers in addition to the new arena. It should be ready by Surf day 10

    1. Zeno Hromin Post author

      I agree hundred percent
      The people will come early when you have builders from which they can buy stuff that they cannot see anywhere else. It’s the nature of the beast
      As far as a giveaway to be honest with you I was in total shock that so many companies decide to get involved
      I’m not exactly sure if I could’ve ever pulled something like this again but then again I’ve been proven wrong time and time again

  4. Jim M.

    I thought it was awesome – great job. Been a loooong time since I’ve seen that many heavy hitters, together, in one spot. Great line-up of speakers too. Some of whom are getting older, and I’m greatful I am able to hear them speak NOW.

    I was actually pleasantly surprised you were able to get the building at Hofstra, I used to do this for colleges (mostly Suffolk) and trying to find space like that in a college was tough duty, within a reasonable budget. We used to use hotels, but even that got crazy with $$. Anything on the Island is not cheap, and everyone has their hand out.

    It was a hell of a show – great job, I wouldn’t change a thing (besides what you touched on). I’ve been all over, courtesy of military, etc. and it is rare to find a group like this willing to do this, especially in what is normally a closed-mouth hobby/lifestyle…

  5. Lawrence Carlucci

    Having been to the New Jersey Surf Day last year, the old Nassau Colosseum Outdoor Shows of years ago, and the current NYSFF Show at the Freeport Recreation Center , this show tops them all. It had free parking, two rooms for vendors, and seminar rooms close by. We don’t need another fishing flea market on Long Island, we have 6 or more the next three months, this is a real show and it focused on our sport, Surfcasting. I would not change a thing.

    1. Chris Richard

      I agree 100%. I was not in a buying mode this year and I strolled in just before 10am. Zero hassle. Waited about 5 minutes to enter the main room. Just wanted to spend a few hours with the guys from all over. Jamie from Flatlander is a class act all the way, as is Don from AH, Lou Caruso, and Glen Lewis (GooGooMan). Picked up and played with some gear I have in my sights for this year. I mean, what else do folks want? And even if I was buying heavy like last year, at 10am there was still plenty of CCW, GooGoo, Black Label, Afterhours and all the bucktail guys. So if you went and thought it was a waste, you need to really look in the mirror.

  6. Leif

    Hi Zeno,
    I had to work Saturday and couldn’t make it but I probably would have left if I saw the crowd that was on line. I enjoy shows when there is a good mix of vendors and manufacturers along with folks who give seminars so please avoid a flea market type show. No idea if it’s feasible but you could do the show again at Hofstra but make it two days instead of one. That could cut the crowds down significantly and make it more manageable and enjoyable for everyone.

    1. Zeno Hromin Post author

      One of the things that we’ve discussed off the show was exactly that
      Here’s the problem how do you tell the guy to come to Sunday when 50% of the custom builder stuff is sold out that stuff half way through the day on Saturday?
      Really a difficult thing to for pull off and not only that but added expenses to us, the vendors with hotels, and time of course. Trust me something very seriously talk about but I just can see how feasible considering the sport we are in
      good idea thou

  7. Dan Radman

    Zeno and team,
    You pulled it off! Great show, tremendous amount of vendors all in one place. The crowds were insane in the morning, but as you mentioned above, after the first hour or two – and seminar starts – it must have leveled off. Made the drive from CT with my son, but was only able to stay for an hour or so. Still great seeing all and getting my hands on some great plugs and gear.
    I would agree with the gentleman above, Scott C, to stagger the goody-bag giveaways somehow. Everyone gets a number ticket anyway, use that number to give away 50 bags every hour. Then at 4:00pm, all those same tickets that were pulled go back into the main pot for the big drawings at the end. Win win.
    Just my two cents.
    Again, great show and you should be very proud to have pulled it off.

  8. Zeno Hromin Post author

    Another thing that i should mention
    We really really like the people at Hofstra
    We thought the place was very classy unlike some of the other flea market venues (no offense to them , just honestly stating how I feel)
    The staff and even the food…people raving about the quality of food in the cafeteria which if you went to enough shows you know it’s never a plus. Usually people complain about the quality of the food at shows. My son had past and chicken sandwich later and said it was delicios.
    The Student Theater, we thought it was awesome to have and the ability to showcase our talent AND an original movie and to have a AV person with us. Wireless mics so I’ll speakers could move around freely without being bothered by cords or mic in their hands, we though it was awesome too
    little things yeah, but mean a lot at the end of the day

  9. Tommy S.

    Hi Z, I want to congratulate you on a great show. You guys worked hard at making Striper day a success.
    I had a great time and look forward to next years show. I am not going to tell you to get a bigger place, instead I have a suggestion to make Striper Day even better. In 2017, it should become STRIPER WEEKEND!!
    My suggestion is to have a 2 day show!! Yes thats right, invite more vendors, and charge a higher entrance fee. Maybe sell a one day, or a 2 day pass. Get some of your other sponsors there like PENN. Now you will have some tackle manufacturers and all the great plug builders there. This can be the biggest show on the whole east coast for surcasters and further promote the sport. anyway, good luck with the Journal and all future plans for the magazine. You guys keep getting better and are moving in the right direction. Happy New Year.

  10. John L.

    Line management tape on the floor of the cafeteria if you use Hofstra again. The entrance line was surprisingly self-organized and more surprisingly civil when the last two coils around he car merged into one line and half the people waiting to get in suddenly found themselves behind half the people they were formerly in front of.

    Maybe check the Huntington Hilton. They have huge partitionable conf. center and smaller breakout rooms.

  11. John maglione

    I think allowing people to purchase and print their tickets online in advance will help move the line at entrance and give you a better idea of how many people to expect.

  12. John maglione

    Also, this may be a bit hi-tech, but look into virtual attendance, viewing the seminars online wit interactive q & a, and being able to view and buy the products in real time online during the show. I know it’s no substitute for bring their live and in person but long distance fishermen may benefit v

  13. Jimmy S.

    In this case u r hoping the people go to the seminar because it’s was too crowded.

    If this is the best venue given ur circumstances, something is going to have to give.

    I liked Hofstra too especially since it is my alma mater.

  14. Tommy B.

    it was a great show, maybe run Saturday & Sunday next time ,
    speakers where great, looking forward to next year.

  15. Jerry Audet

    I drove 4 hours to come down. I’d do it again. Was it crowded? Hell yeah. I’m not a plug fiend, so I just headed to an open spot and chilled until the seminars started. $15 to hear all the speakers seems like a deal. In fact, my conversation with John alone is worth the $15. Then I snooped around and picked up a few things. I was also happy I could get lunch without leaving.

    I get it, it was the first year, of course there will be little things. And for a first year show, it felt like it had been around forever.

    My wife enjoyed it too, but she said maybe next time require that everyone shower at least 24hrs in advance…there were some smelly dudes there LOL!

  16. Jim M

    A great first show. Can’t wait til next year. Thankyou for your hard work. I was one of those guys that stopped you to shake your hand by the way, and I will be there next year to thank you.

  17. Brendan

    Couldn’t make it but a friend tried. The wait to get in deterred him because he was short on time. Sounds like you really liked the venue so I’d also suggest advance ticket sales and/or a two day event. Have custom builders hold back inventory or stagger the vendor days. Something tells me it’ll be just as popular next year! Congrats.

  18. Alex A.

    Want to say that me and my friend had a great time! starting out on this sport;searching through the countless articles and videos online has been overwhelming. But finding your online resources and attending your event has been a real treat so far. Thank you for all the hard work running this Journal and the event – it really is helpful. Especially to newcomers who want to do things the right way.

    A 2 day event would be great – more speakers; more time?

    Absolute must for mobile electronic card readers – kinda bummed i couldn’t purchase more cuz i had no cash 🙂

    Guys leave the camo gear at home lol

    electronic ticket purchases

    besides all that its easy to say this stuff. I know its hard to plan an event. And for my first time i had a blast. Great job to everyone!! im ready for the next one!

    Alex A.

    1. Zeno Hromin Post author

      Surf fishing shows are really not made to be 2 day events. Like i mentioned before . half of vendors would be sold out by second day which would make it hard to pull off

  19. Jerry

    Use the crowds to your advantage. Next year invite a few politicians or some reps from NOAA/NMFC or ASMFC. Let them see and hear from the vast number of people willing to travel long distances and spend money to preserve something that they care about deeply. Also, maybe drink the pelinkovac before the event. Congrats on pulling off a great striper day.

  20. John

    Overall I enjoyed it. Maybe some type of advanced sales/admission only up to a certain point in the day (say noon) and thereafter general admission until close. This would allow you to limit the amount of people in the morning.

  21. JohnP

    When I got in it was so crowded I thought “Oh man, the fire department is gonna come and shut it down” But it did thin out just enough after the plug whores had their fill.
    Stuff i particularly liked:
    The Musso guys are always personable and can go into great detail about their products. And Don always has great stories for each plug on the display.
    The guy from StomR knew a hulluva lot about neoprene also went into great detail on the whole product line, then he told me a little about the surfing and triathlon side of the business.
    I liked the movie. This was a great addition not typically at a surf show. We should encourage more of this.
    By the afternoon I was looking for the beer station. Why not Montauk Brewery? Blue Point? Then I realized this is a university.

  22. John Lindquist

    Great job on your first Striper Day. Yes, the line in the morning was unorganized once it entered the cafeteria which made for some B.S. Line jumping and the like….those are the same people who try to fish out of your front pocket after you release one anyway. A couple of line organizer/monitor types and that goes away. You might not get the early morning walk outs either. The caliber of speakers and vendors were excellent.
    Would not change the venue, maybe spread out the line up a bit ( Bill W. followed by Al with hard to get customs all in A.M.) again that’s what made it a great show but maybe a little tough to move around and manage. Thanks again, and an awesome job by you and your staff!!!

  23. Anthony

    Great show I had a good time. How about putting the vendors that cause lines in the back rooms. Most of the people who get there early are there for them. It will keep the front flowing.

  24. Csr

    Zeno, didn’t get to stop you and shake your hand, but awesome job!!! You guys should be proud. I was the guy you had to pull away from John Skinner so he could give his lecture 😀

    Given the constraints you listed, I would say kill the giveaways and do more raffles. You’ll still have a line for the plug collectors, but it won’t be as long, and the main floor won’t be as bad in the morning. I got there a little after 8, line was crazy long, but it moved very fast once the doors opened. After I left Alberto’s lecture, the main floor was much better, I could move freely, talk to people and buy what I wanted.

    Again, fantastic job. Thank you for doing this. The lectures were so good, vendors were great. Can’t wait for next year.

  25. Asim Can "Awesome John" Gunduz

    Wow, you sound toasted 🙂
    Yes I know exactly how it is Z, because I too have had to roll up my sleeves and become the “organizer” for many events that needed to be done nut nobody did. I know only too well the unseen X factors that pop up, the endless complaints, the wave after wave of jiberish, the ungrateful bastards 🙂 and in the end you want to take a can of gasoline and burn the whole place to the ground while playing an out of tune violin laughing out loud hilariously like “the joker” from batman… yes these events can make you drink that’s for sure 🙂 But its all a learning experience brother Z… you learn that next time you should get a few of these endless energy preppy girls with ipads to do the footwork while you do the PR and keep your sanity and avoid alcoholism 🙂 …

  26. Montauk Gal

    Great show ! I stopped you as well ..saying I Loved the journal
    Hofstra was perfect .. Clean classy and spacious – great lunch area too –
    Went with my nephew jake – my mentor and fishing buddy …
    I can only suggest more organization w the lines at the entrance – guides – ropes —
    And hourly raffle calls …
    Please do it again

  27. Marc Levy

    A wise man once said”If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”. Plenty of parking! The line was long but moved quickly and was INSIDE OUT OF THE WEATHER with coffee,snacks, bathrooms available and a place for folks who needed to sit down to do so. I have waited on line outside during the winter for hours at shows that didn’t offer half as much.
    Well conceived and brilliantly executed!

  28. Josh

    Guys who collect and go to flip plugs have ruined most of the shows up and down the coast. The plug collection market is absurd. Most of these guys are making more off the plugs than the builders. I think the big name plugs the “investors” go after should be put in the back or off to the side away from the main flow of traffic. You could open the show a couple hours early to the people who want to buy the plugs from the big names. Have two separate lines, one for the main show and the second to the area where the sought after builders will be located. Let those guys have their fun and sit in line.

  29. bucktail 1169

    I thought it was a great event . I don’t get to the out of state shows because of work and family , so it was awesome to have something like this close to home and in the middle of winter . I got there by 7 a.m. and was probably 200 people deep on line , but the line moved quickly and was very orderly . The place was clean , had food available , bathrooms were clean , free parking and easy to get to also . As crowded as it was at some points , it was still easy to get around to all the vendors and check stuff out . You still can’t beat the cost of admission for so many quality things . Great job from surfcasters journal ! Def hope to do this again . Don Musso has to be one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met .

  30. Ernie

    I agree with cutting out the giveaways with the first x amount of people in getting free stuff. Either everyone gets a small goodie bag or no one gets jack. It will cut down the line with guys who are waiting since 9pm the night before like theyre trying to get Black Sabbath tickets. Leave the raffle as is. Splitting between two days is also a good idea if you split up the vedors a bit. For example Don with Afterhours on Saturday and Gary from GRS on Sunday. This way all the plug hoarders wont come at once.

  31. Mike S.

    Zeno …. you and everyone at SJ deserve a big CONGRAT’s, especially Tommy and your son Steve who were both so friendly manning the SJ booth!

    I got there around 930 and yes the line was long (a good problem to have IMO), but it moved quick …. I’m not a plug collector so made a quick loop and then spent most of my time in an out of the seminars (which were all great) and then made it back thru the vendors later in the day when it was less crowded.

    Spoke to Craig from VS (super nice guy), Flatlanders, Joe Baggs, S&S, Al Gags, and of course Ralph from West End …. all great to talk to!

    In reading the comments above, I would agree with the hourly raffles in lieu of just those first in attendance as that may spread out crowds and although I am sure there are a ton of logistical issues with it being 2-days, I for one would love to buy a 2-day pass.

    Congrats’ again and looking forward to 2017 …. !

  32. Mimo Emo

    I showed up at around 10:30 and was stunned by the number of people that were walking out of the show as I was walking in. To me, at 10:30, yeah it was crowded, but that was fine with me, as it was clear the show was crowded for a reason: Because it rocked, because I didn’t have to drive to Jersey, because the presenters were top-notch, etc.

    I hope Striper Day 2017 happens. I will show up late again. The only thing that maybe could separate the custom plug afficionados from the rest of the attendees would be to push back the start of the seminars? Also, giving out free stuff at the door for the first 500 people probably made the situation worse. Either way, I loved it, hope it happens again, thanks for standing tall and meeting the need. Hofstra was perfect.

    1. Zeno Hromin Post author

      considering our first show, we wanted to give some stuff to readers but did not expect everyone to show at

  33. Keith Alexander

    Hi Z
    I was there at the most crowd time and I did feel it was bad , the only thing was people start to stand in the middle isles and there where buying from vendors and then moving . place you could try is Suffolk community collage in Brentwood , one of the many Hotels in the area, But you can say right where you are I think because people saw what it like and will adjust . You and Sj crew did a great job Kudos to you

  34. andrew house

    you can look into a fire department willing to host it for you with ample room via the meeting room truck room I don’t know any Nassau depts. to reccmod to you but in Suffolk there may be some that will be willing to work with you on it

  35. Adam

    It was awesome!
    If the facilities guys at Hofstra can get food & set up a seminar area the PFC I’d go there.
    Hofstra & SJ both class acts!
    Thanks again!

  36. Mimo Emo

    Ha. I totally understood the giveaway, as the goal is to get people to come to the event so it does not flop. Who knew there was so much pent-up demand in LI? I guess it is obvious after the fact. Anyway, another point I wanted to make was that the crowds were not really a problem because those who showed up were a remarkably courteous and respectful group of people.

  37. unkaharry

    I got to the show at 7:45 walked in and couldn’t find the end of the line.With 800 people in front of me I didn’t see a goody bag in my future.Went back to my truck and waited till 9:00,went back in to 1000 people and still couldn’t find the end of the line,see ya later by! If I waited on line at 8:00 about what time would I have entered the show??? THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU AND YOUR CREW DO FOR OUR SPORT!!!

    1. Zeno Hromin Post author

      Hearing that makes me sad to be honest but looked at it this way, if you attended Striper Day 2017 its the only Striper Day that was ever put together…the way it looks right now i would not bet on 2017 version

  38. unkaharry

    Z you took it the wrong way,I mean no disrespect,I’m just wondering how long of a wait between 8:00 and entry. I regret not going back later in the day but I got involved.And the THANKS was heartfelt,I’ll be there next year with bells on!!! as a matter of fact if I win powerball tonight I will pay for the whole shindig and buy you a new drone!!! Sorry that you missunderstood

    1. Zeno Hromin Post author

      no, no,no..bud,,you took it the wrong way ( i hate internet sometimes)
      I did not take that as disrespect, NOT AT ALL !
      what I meant to say , the 2017 edition of the show is probably not a sticker shock today from a

  39. Edward

    Sorry I missed the show, but I couldn’t get thier cause your show is far too early in the year. You really should consider doing it in say February -March. Most people like myself are “BROKE ” in January, right after the holiday s, think about it, right! !!

  40. Richard Fuchs AKA Woodwker99

    Mixed feelings having missed the show for Work. I have heard nothing but complaints from my friends. mostly about having to wait on lines and not being able to move. But nothing bad about the amount of vendors or the great names of the speakers. Personally I’m going to be the wet blanket. Shows like this are a two edged sword. They take up the space between fishing and wishing I was fishing. Maybe the answer you speak is simple. Hold it in the middle of summer. Yeah that’s right I said summer. it’s prime fishing/ Vacation/work/Honey do season. This also makes the possibility of a snow out out of the equation. those who show up will be getting the plugs, lures, equipment right when they can use it most. it MIGHT and I only am guessing cut down on the numbers a bit due to all the things I mentioned. might make it easier to handle the crowds, then again it might blow up in my face. in any event, keep keeping the good work you do.

  41. Jim Nash

    If you had a problem with Hofstra, instead of bitching at the guys that put on the first Surf Show on Long Island of the caliber of Striper Day, volunteer to help or START YOUR OWN MAGAZINE AND SHOW.

    Very few people have any idea of the costs involved in putting on a convention of that scale in a place like what some of you are suggesting. Hotels, convention centers and state run facilities like high schools and colleges can generate extra costs and put restrictions on time and labor. A two day show would probably mean $50 at the door at a minimum.

    If it were in a union facility, the union would have to do all of the load in and load out of very vendor’s table, even if they could carry it themselves. I work for a multiBILLION dolor healthcare company that puts on conventions all over the country that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars at the low end. So unless people start buying subscriptions left and right and Surfcasting becomes as big as comic books, there are going to be hiccups.

    Common sense should also apply, every show has it’s crowd of weirdoes that line up at the ass crack of dawn to buy fancy plugs that they don’t ever fish, and instead sell them to some of they guys that might even be bitching for more money than they’re worth. So arrange your schedule around being able to go- its been advertised for months now- poor planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on everyone else’s part.

    Surfcasting is a sport that takes initiative and timing, and planning to get on the fish, or at least it used to, so next year, do it like how a lot of us do it, call your buddy who is there already and ask him how it is, then decide if it’s worth your time. If no, there are great shows in Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

    I had a great time, thanks for all that you and your crew did, and count me in for the volunteer crew next year.

  42. Chris L

    Something that occurred to me. The raffles. Seemed kinda random, grab something and call it out. So the first guy that wins theoretically loses one chance at the top end prizes. I would set them up in order of desirability/price, at least the top end stuff, and start with the biggest. It might seem counterintuitive, but that way everyone has all their tickets in for the grand prize. You win it, all the rest of your tickets are there for #2, etc


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