Stellar ICAST Signals Continued Growth in Recreational Fishing

ICAST crowds continue to grow while the industry benefits from increased numbers of anglers

The future of recreational fishing continues to shine bright at the sportfishing industry’s largest trade show. After a full week of activities like fishing tournaments, workshops and product demonstrations, the 13,346 attendees from ICAST 2023 are heading home.

While some ICAST visitors will make a short drive to homes within the Sunshine State; others will set off for far-flung domestic destinations in the northeast, the pacific northwest and the desert southwest. Still more will board flights for places like Australia, Denmark, Peru and Japan.

ICAST is produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), a national, non-profit trade association made up of more than 800 member companies and organizations who share a stake in promoting sportfishing for community and commerce. This year, the show’s 13,346 attendees came from all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico as well as 80 countries. This year, 633 exhibitors set up booths inside of the Orange County Convention Center featuring an astounding array of products from full-size bass and bay boats to camper trucks, live trolling motor demonstrations, lounges and—of course—the show’s legendary social hours. 

“This is one of the most impressive shows we have had since I’ve been here,” said ASA Trade Show and Membership VP Blake Swango. “The booth spaces are bigger, better and more impressive each year and I think this is probably the most beautiful show that I have worked on.”

American Tackle Company Wins “Best of Show” 

Florida-based American Tackle Company took home ICAST’s most prestigious honor, the coveted “Best of Show” award with an all-carbon fishing rod handle, the G2 Tsuka 2 Complete Carbon Handle. The innovative custom rod component beat out a field of more than 1,000 other entries in the ICAST New Product Showcase Awards, coming out on top of 37 other category winners to give rod builders industry bragging rights.

“To win Best of Show against all of these other products is pretty unreal,” said American Tackle Company Marketing Manager Kevin Landers. “It’s great to be representing the rest of the custom rod builders and rod component companies in the industry,” added Vice President Darrin Heim, who noted that the product itself was more than a decade in the making. 

Popular Fly Fishing Section Takes Off 

This year, the ASA built a touted ICAST Fly Shop to increase its spotlight on the fly fishing segment of the trade. Long known as the definitive source for conventional fishing tackle, ICAST has increased its focus on fly fishing by adding six new product categories and a dedicated home to showcase fly fishing exhibitors wares that replicates a world-class fly fishing outfitter.

There, attendees could watch fly casting demonstrations at the adjacent FLYCASTing pond, take fly casting lessons or scout a selection of products from an array of manufacturers before deciding which booths to visit.

“Fly fishing manufacturers responded in a big way,” added Swango. “We had new fly fishing media outlets attend the show as well. The ICAST Fly Shop seemed busy all week long, and we’re looking forward to welcoming more exhibitors in the fly fishing world next year. We might even have to build a bigger Fly Shop.”

Youth Anglers Welcomed with Open Arms 

On Friday, youth anglers from high school fishing clubs affiliated with Major League Fishing and B.A.S.S. were ushered onto the show floor for the ICAST Youth Angler Development Day. Surrounded by a sea of thousands of new fishing products, these enthusiastic young anglers were able to hear first-hand testimonials from industry professionals ranging from top-tier anglers to other fields that often provide jobs behind the scenes.

“Youth are so important to our industry,” said ASA Vice President of Communications Mary Beth Long. “They have a lot of enthusiasm and a passion for fishing, and this is a cool opportunity of them to come and meet some of our vendors to see other ways that they can potentially have a career in fishing. It’s not just as a pro, but also as a marketing person or a writer.”

ICAST 2023 Best of Category Winners

Best of Fishing Lifestyle  

Novelties and Wellness
Product: The GoMist Drink and Misting Bottle | ExtremeMist Personal Cooling Systems 
Contact: Devin Holmgren

Motorized Boating Accessories
Product: PowerPole Move ZR | Power-Pole®
Contact: Curt Hill

Non-Motorized Boating Accessory
Contact: Suzy Hunt

Boats and Watercraft
Product: Old Town Sportsman BigWater ePDL + 132 | Johnson Outdoors Watercraft, Inc.
Contact: Alex Sherbino

Product: Ankle Deck Boots – Black | AFTCO
Contact: Denny Le

Ice Fishing
Product: LiveScope Plus Ice Fishing Bundle LI with ECHOMAP UHD2 93sv | Garmin USA
Contact: Carly Hysell

Product: King Tide 8, Black 580G Blue Mirror | Costa Sunglasses
Contact: Hannah Trotter

Lifestyle Apparel for Women
Product:Women’s Coverup Dress | Huk Performance Fishing
Contact: Bobby Lader

Lifestyle Apparel for Men
Product:Ocean Bound Hooded Performance Shirt | AFTCO
Contact: Denny Le

Warm Weather Technical Apparel for Women
Product: Mojeaux 1/4 Zip Performance Shirt | AFTCO
Contact: Denny Le

Warm Weather Technical Apparel for Men
Product: Channel Hooded Performance Shirt | AFTCO
Contact: Denny Le

Cold Weather Technical Apparel for Women
Product: Women’s Barricade Rain Suit | AFTCO
Contact: Denny Le

Cold Weather Technical Apparel for Men
Product: Gale Pullover | Blackfish Gear
Contact: Addy Hansen

Best of General Tackle 

Soft and Hard Coolers
Product: Flop Box 10 | Flop Industries
Contact: Kyle Dougherty

Product: Westin EscapeCam | Westin Fishing
Contact: Michael Trost

Cutlery, Hand Plies or Tools
Product: BUBBA Pro Series Smart Fish Scale | BUBBA
Contact: Matt Kinamore

Fishing Accessory
Product:  ENGEL USB Rechargeable Lithium-Ion XL Live Bait Aerator Pump | ENGEL Coolers
Contact: Chris Holloway

Kids’ Tackle
Product: ProFISHiency Next Gen Crazy Combo | Anything Possible Brands
Contact: Amanda Rispoli

Tackle Management
Product: Pontoon Boat Tackle Center | Boat Outfitters
Contact: Jared Walton

Terminal Tackle
Product: VMC Swingin’ Ned Rig Jig | Rapala
Contact: Matt Jensen

Custom Tackle and Components
Product: G2 Tsuka 2 Complete Carbon Handle | American Tackle Company
Contact: Kevin Landers

Fishing Line
Product: Mastiff Fluorocarbon | Shimano
Contact: Cory Van Auken

Best of Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing Waders & Wading Boots
Product: G4Z Stockingfoot Wader | Simms Fishing Products
Contact: John Frazier

Fly Lines, Leaders, Tippet and Line Accessories
Product: BUZBE Colony 8T (THIN) | BUZBE
Contact: Caleb Sutton

Fly Fishing Packs, Bags & Luggage
Product: Flyweight Vest Pack | Simms Fishing Products
Contact: John Frazier

Fly Fishing Technical Apparel and Accessories
Product: Master M6014 Edition | Renzetti, Inc.
Contact: Lilly Renzentti

Fly Fishing Reel
Product: Cheeky Spray Fly Reel | Cheeky Fishing
Contact: Peter Vandergrift

Fly Fishing Rod
Product: Hardy Marksman Z | Pure Fishing, Inc.
Contact: Kimberly Hoffman

Best of Lures

Freshwater Soft Lure
Product: Berkley PowerBait Nessie | Pure Fishing, Inc.
Contact: Kimberly Hoffman

Saltwater Soft Lure
Product: Mulletron LT (Line Through) Swimbait | Z-Man Fishing Products
Contact: Cory Schmidt

Freshwater Hard Lure
Product: ChatterBait Elite EVO | Z-Man Fishing Products
Contact: Cory Schmidt

Saltwater Hard Lure
Product: MIrrOlure The Duke Dog | L&S Bait Company
Contact: Michael Tennian 

Best of Rods 

Freshwater Rod
Product: St. Croix Mojo Bass TRIGON | St. Croix Rods
Contact: Josh Lantz

Saltwater Rod
Product: NRX+ Inshore | Shimano
Contact: Cory Van Auken

Rod & Reel Combo
Product: Abu Garcia ZATA Baitcast Combo | Pure Fishing, Inc.
Contact: Kimberly Hoffman

Best of Reels

Freshwater Reel
Product: Stradic FM | Shimano
Contact: Cory Van Auken

Saltwater Reel
Product: Seapower 1200 | Daiwa Corporation
Contact: Chip Cone

Keeping Up with ICAST

ICAST can be found on social media at: Facebook – @icastfishing – Instagram – @icastshow and Twitter – @ICASTshow. When posting, use hashtags: #ICAST2023 #ICASTshow #ICAST.

Thank You ICAST 2023 Sponsors!

ASA extends our sincere thanks and appreciation to our members for their generous support of ICAST 2023.

Platinum:Recreational Boating & Fishing FoundationUnder Armour and Wired2Fish

Gold:Coastal Conservation AssociationCrocodile BayEngel CoolersFishing Tackle RetailerGarminMajor League FishingKastKingShimanoSt. Croix RodVisitOrlando and WayPoint TV

Silver:AFTCOANYTHINGPossible BrandsBonnier CorporationGet Folks Fishing Foundation  and Marsh Wear

Bronze:Beer BungHook + Bullet and Hook & Tackle

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