Sportfishing Summit Convenes Amidst Rising Tide

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C.— A Charleston suburb is playing host to influential fishing industry leaders from across the globe this week, as Hurricane Michael bears northeast. 

“Based on what we know right now, from a variety of weather sources, the 2018 Sportfishing Summit is proceeding as planned,” the ASA said in a Monday email to attendees. “We have a terrific program in place for this week with contingency plans to move inside if need be.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, while Michael made landfall as a record setting Category 4 storm at Mexico Beach, Florida, those plans were not yet needed. Its remnants are expected to arrive in Charleston as a tropical storm early Thursday morning.

What is the Sportfishing Summit ?

Each year, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) hosts an annual Sportfishing Summit. If you’ve heard of ICAST, you should have also heard of the Summit. It’s where industry leaders gather not only to assess and plan for future trade shows, but also to discuss a variety of critically important topics that affect the future of fishing, and the livelihood of your business. For one week, leaders from the most renown brands in fishing gather, place their company hats at the door, and convene to find solutions on topics as wide ranging as ICAST, pacific salmon, Atlantic long lining, angler recruitment, and tariffs.

These are tables where FLW sits across from B.A.S.S.; where Shimano shakes hands with St. Croix; where Bass Pro Shops parlays with Big Rock Sports—all for the future growth of the sport.

Groups are split into committees that ultimately report to the ASA Board of Directors. Here’s a list of the committee meetings being held this week:

  • Advocacy
  • Communications
  • Data and Statistics
  • Trade Show
  • Government Affairs
  • Saltwater East
  • Saltwater West
  • Freshwater
  • Trade and Commerce
  • Finance
  • Consumer Shows
  • Membership
  • 60 in 60

The Sportfishing Summit also hosts keynote speakers each morning, focusing on buyer dynamics, conservation, growing the sport, behavior, and team dynamics.

Hot Takes

“If you don’t like Facebook, get over your opinion.” – keynote speaker Marcus Sheridan, a small business owner who says 80-perecent of all content consumed online will be video-based as soon as 2019. Sheridan’s best advice? Get it through your head: you’re a media company now. Whether you’re a media company that sells fishing tackle, or a media company that cleans pools, you should have an in-house videographer to create social media posts and follow up on sales leads with personalized video. “Your videographer,” Sheridan says, “is 10 times more important than that sales person you’ve been thinking about hiring.”

“You need video on your website. You need two buttons—see exactly how this works, and see why it costs this much. That changes everything with eCommerce.”

Sheridan suggests a salary of $30k-$50k per year.

155mph—That’s the wind speed recorded as Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday morning. Nobody at the Sportfishing Summit is playing up the storm. They know the real danger is in the Florida Panhandle, where many friends, family, and business associates will be hardest hit. Still, Michael is expected to retain hurricane status during its march through Georgia, and there’s a palpable tension in the air as the storm plods towards South Carolina, where the possibility of a power outage at the conference and the cancellation of flights could leave attendees stranded in severe conditions.

New trophies at ICAST? The Trade Show committee voted to explore options for a Best of Show trophy redesign heading into 2019.

12-percent. That’s the percentage of Americans who want to begin fishing, or want to start fishing again, according to the ASA. If recruited, they estimate those people would contribute $35 billion to the industry.

99-1. That was the Senate vote today in Washington D.C., as a bill supporting Everglades restoration and research into zebra muscle and asian carp invasions was sent to the White House for presidential approval. This week, the ASA has been touting the need for membership in its Sportfishing PAC. The average donation? $1,500. PAC members say that’s helping to put fishing industry leaders in D.C. offices.  And you see some of those results here.