Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL — 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.”
The American Sportfishing Association
(ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association committed to representing the interests of the sportfishing and boating industries as well as the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry and anglers a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. ASA invests in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous, as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation and social values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America’s 55 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing
, our national angler advocacy campaign. America’s anglers generate nearly $50 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for 800,000 people.