The great outdoors

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

Shawn Cameron of Big Creek Calls at Saturday’s sportsman’s show and yard sale in Port Rowan. JACOB ROBINSON/SIMCOE REFORMER

Shawn Cameron of Big Creek Calls at Saturday’s sportsman’s show and yard sale in Port Rowan. JACOB ROBINSON/SIMCOE REFORMER

Saturday’s gathering at the Port Rowan Community Centre offered area anglers and hunters a break from the ordinary.

“Personally, I would rather buy something that someone has hand-crafted,” vendor Shawn Cameron said during the Port Rowan Sportsman’s Show & Yard Sale hosted by the Long Point Area Fish and Game Club (LPFGC). “It’s got that personal touch to it and you don’t get that in the big box stores.”

Cameron, a Delhi resident, has turned his love of hunting into “Black Creek Calls” – a business selling hand-made turkey calls.

He uses the sales to further the venture, which began about eight years ago.

“I’ve always been a hunter ever since I was young, I got into turkey hunting and got the urge to try and make my own calls and went from there with little steps at a time,” Cameron said.

“It’s a lot of trial and error until you find what you’re looking for.”

Close to 400 people had come through the doors by the time the day-long event was complete. The hall was packed with 32 tables of items relating to the outdoors like guns, lures and even camping equipment.

“You meet a lot of people from the same field with the same passion for the outdoors,” Cameron said.

Another vendor selling hand-made goods was Peter Stoepker of “Pimps Handmade Lures.” His wooden fishing baits are very much by an angler for anglers.

“I fish out by Long Point all the time and was throwing out everything but the kitchen sink and not catching anything. I started throwing old, antique lures and I was slamming the fish,” Stoepker said.

“I used to airbrush a lot of things when I was young and thought, ‘I’m going to start doing my own lures.’”

Stoepker uses pine and cedar – some of which is a century old. He finishes each piece with epoxy and adds stainless steel hooks to ensure longevity. Being made of wood, each lure moves through the water a little differently to give fish a unique view each cast.

“If I buy a lure from a store, (after) a few fish the coating is off and when I put this epoxy coating on it holds up,” he explained. “I have a few charter captains that buy lures from me and they’re using that same lure a year or two or three years ago. I might not have return sales as much but these guys come to me for lures all the time so I don’t have to advertise.”

Stoepker is going on 40 years of making his own lures but hasn’t tired of the hobby yet. In fact, he makes a point to encourage the next generation to get out on the water.

“One of my buddies said, ‘You make memories for people.’ Fishing is a memory – there’s too many video games and stuff like that nowadays,” he said. “If I go to a show I’ll give a kid a lure and that promotes fishing and the outdoors.”