Take a few steps into the Orange County Convention Center and immediately visible are the lines of fishing industry professionals and enthusiasts, product buyers and media personnel waiting to receive their badges for entrance into ICAST 2016. Continuing down the hallway spanning the perimeter of the OCCC, the low rumble of crowded convention halls can be heard. Immediately, through the doors of Halls A through D, a decision must be made: Start at one end of the conjoined halls and walk down the many aisles of exhibitor booths? “Wing it” and start in the middle? Or follow a certain schedule and try to find the first booth on the list? Regardless of the approach, the size of the convention center (approximately 650,000 square feet) can be overwhelming for both a first-time attendee and a seasoned regular.
The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST), held in Orlando, Fla., July 12-15 at the OCCC, is produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). The 59th annual show is being noted as the largest trade show in the combined domestic and international sportfishing communities, with roughly 15,000 people in attendance and over 700 booth exhibitors. Represented by these attendance numbers are product buyers, professional anglers and representatives from hundreds of manufacturers. Also in attendance were several angler-associated media outlets and their representatives.
The International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) Show was also held, as it has been for several years, at the same time and in the same location as ICAST. New for the 2016 event was the addition of the Marine Accessories Pavilion, an area reserved for showcasing boating accessories and their manufacturers.
Members of the product buying and marketing teams at FishUSA met with representatives from several manufacturers, including Shimano, Rapala, Daiwa, Okuma and 13 Fishing. In these meetings, the buyers discussed specific product performance in the FishUSA store, as well as strengthened relationships between FishUSA and many of the most popular manufacturers in the sportfishing industry. The marketing team was afforded the opportunity to shoot exclusive video with professional anglers and manufacturer representatives about new products and changes made to old favorites, and to discuss possible promotional events for the upcoming year. This exclusive content will be made available through Angler Resources, FishUSA’s new content site.
Notably in attendance at ICAST this year, in addition to members of the fishing and boating communities, were the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, the Lieutenant Governor of Florida, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and several Florida Fish and Wildlife Commissioners. While speaking Thursday, July 14, Governor Scott declared July as Keep Florida Fishing month.
The week of ICAST included several different events leading up to the trade show. The location of Orlando allowed manufacturers to hold On the Water demonstrations of sportfishing, fly fishing and boating products. A few fishing and golf tournaments were held in the beautiful Florida weather and a showcase featuring brand new products from manufacturers was held the evening before the show officially opened.
The FishUSA team has been working since ICAST to provide the most current product and promotional information to customers in all areas. To continue keeping up to date on new products and manufacturers, stay tuned to Angler Resources and FishUSA’s social media pages.