New products and outdoor fun welcome America’s recreational sportfishing industry to Orlando
On Tuesday, a small city of exhibitors readied booths inside the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) for ICAST, the sportfishing industry’s largest trade show. Around Central Florida, a swarm of attendees anxious to kick off the annual festival of fishing produced by the American Sportfishing Association flocked to a trio of pre-show activities known as Super Tuesday.
From Tuesday July 11 through Friday July 14, more than 12,00 industry representatives will be in attendance to get a first look at the products that will help define recreational fishing’s future.
As day broke over nearby Lake Toho in Kissimmee, the team of Steve Weist, Christian Bellomono and Trevor Bates topped a field of 46 teams in Major League Fishing’s ICAST Cup Bass Fishing Tournament with a winning weight of 17-pounds 3-ounces. The event, now in its eighth year, raises proceeds for ASA’s angler advocacy program, Keep America Fishing via the early morning bass fishing tournament.
“I can’t think of a better way to kick off ICAST than to have teams competing on Lake Toho,” said Major League Fishing vice president of operations Dave Washburn. “We only fish for four hours and every year we catch quality fish.”
This year, the ICAST Cup raised $9,200 for Keep America Fishing bringing its all-time total to more than $80,000.
On the Water Product Demo Day Reels in Record Attendance
From the doors of the OCCC’s North Concourse, a hive of activity could be seen for the ICAST On the Water Product Demo Day sponsored by Garmin. This year, the event set an attendance record for exhibitors, who lined the shoreline with new rods, reels and apparel while a flotilla of personal watercraft and a bay boat patrolled waters stocked with fish.
“I feel like ICAST is back to life again,” said KastKing CEO Tate Cui. Cui said attendees and competitors alike were thrilled to take part in hands-on product demonstrations. “We are seeing a lot of international visitors at this event. We are seeing the audience here try new products, and new products really drive the industry.”
Dockside, Old Town Canoes & Kayaks pro Ashley Lewis demonstrated the company’s new electronic pedal drive system to attendees. “The crowd is very eager and excited,” said Lewis. “They want to come in and see what is going on. Being on the water gives us an opportunity to congregate as we naturally would around docks and boat launches to experience fishing. So, we get to do that with new products and with each other to generate some excitement for what’s new.”
New Product Showcase Preview Reception Sheds Light on Show Floor
By Tuesday evening, the doors of ICAST cracked open to allow qualified voters a first look at more than 1,100 new products during the New Product Showcase Reception sponsored by Fishing Tackle Retailer. In a special section of the ICAST floor, rows of new products like rods, reels, lures, apparel and marine electronics all glistened for a gallery of peers set to decide the winners in 37 categories.
“It’s such a big deal to win a category at ICAST,” said Fishing Tackle Retailer publisher Angie Thompson. “It means so much to these brands, to get to establish immediate credibility and immediate value. It’s huge from a marketing standpoint and they take it very, very seriously.”
Thompson said the voters in the New Product Showcase—tackle retailers and media—are engines of the industry, one that is running at full speed at ICAST.
Voting continues on Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The winners will be announced on Wednesday evening during the Industry Awards Reception the OCCC’s ballroom.
ICAST Opens in Full Today
On Wednesday, attendees gain access to the complete ICAST show floor. In addition to the New Product Showcase, the full gamut of 633 exhibitors for ICAST 2023 will be ready and waiting for attendees excited to peruse an almost endless array of fishing tackle. From major industry players and household names to startups and newcomers, the aisles of ICAST are home to a deep well of products hoping to find a home in tackle stores around the world.
New for ICAST 2023, the ICAST Fly Shop, adjacent to the New Product Showcase, is set to provide a first-class experience for fly fishing aficionados. The Fly Shop recreates the experience of visiting a world-class fly fishing dealer right on the ICAST floor—complete with fly fishing products entered by ICAST exhibitors that complement the segment’s “Best of Category” awards.
In addition to the Fly Shop, the booth’s adjacent FlyCASTing Pond provides a place for attendees to try out those products for themselves or enjoy casting demonstrations.
Activities on the Show Floor
The ASA Pavilion (Booth 1338) is set to offer attendees a break from new products by shifting the focus to industry advocacy, while the NMMA Pavilion provides a platform for marine industry innovations.
Navigate the ICAST Show with the ICAST App
Loaded with helpful features, the ICAST mobile app, sponsored by ANYTHINGPossible Brands, is a one-stop shop for maps, event schedules, booth locations and exhibitor listings. Available on both Android and Apple devices, the app is a convenient digital companion to keep a busy week organized.
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.
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