Down on the Delmarva, they know a little about blue crabs, oysters and rockfish (you might call them striped bass).

NF Highliner Robert T. Brown, Sr. is president of the Maryland Watermen's Association Board of Directors.Meet us in Ocean City, Md., as we kick off 2017 with the first commercial fishing trade show of the year.

The Maryland Watermen’s Association turns 44 this year, and its annual trade show celebrates its 43rd year with more than 100 exhibitors on the show floor at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 13-15.

Commercial fishermen will find everything they need from boats to bilge pumps, safety and foul-weather gear, outboards and diesels, oyster tumblers, twine, knives, gloves, and as always a National Fisherman show special.

Oyster fishermen in particular will be treated to a robust conference program running all day Saturday that will focus on the growth, future and diversity of shellfish aquaculture in Chesapeake Bay.

Attendees can also buy a $100 raffle ticket for a new pickup truck and participate in the Friday night cocktail party and auction, which always features a delicious assortment of the bay’s finest seafood — raw oyster bar, seafood chowder, crab cakes and chafing dishes stuffed with an assortment of rockfish dishes — as well as a wide variety of gear and goods in a live auction.

If you stick around long enough, you just might get treated to a slice of the auction’s coconut cake. It’s a longstanding tradition for the winner of the cake the bring it to the hotel’s main bar, slice and serve it up to the crowd for a sweet late-night bar snack.

If you make your way down to Ocean City, stop by booth 309!

Jessica Hathaway is the former editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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