Australian trade show brings smiles all round

The return of the Australian Fishing Trade Association’s trade show in August brought smiles to the industry as buyers and sellers gathered on the Gold Coast to do business.

The three-day event attracted several hundred stores and buyers on the first two days followed by thousands of public on the final day as the show threw open its doors to consumers.

AFTA president Michael Starkey said: “Wow, what a show we’ve seen this year; the support from exhibitors has been fantastic with the show floorspace selling out weeks early. We saw many retailers visit the show and take advantage of the attendance incentive. 

“The trade show calendar offered plenty of networking opportunities, from the show itself, AFTA’s AGM, Happy Hour and the Gala Dinner & Awards Night, which was the biggest that AFTA has ever seen with 400 people attending for four hours of drinks and socialising. The support from the Victorian Government and Brandscope for the dinner was fantastic.

“The incredible sponsorship from the Queensland Government enabled AFTA to offer free entry to all members of the public. The lines were long and at times the hall was packed. 

“There’s already plenty of talk for the 2024 show; if you missed it in 2023, start planning now to ensure you don’t do that again!”

Among those attending was government fisheries minister Mark Furner who also attended the gala dinner as well as officially opening the public day.

He said: “Anglers and fishing enthusiasts like myself were out in force on the Gold Coast for the Australian Fishing Trade Association Tackle Show.

“This popular event showcases so many outstanding fishing and marine products, all under the one roof.

“As the Minister for Fisheries, I’ll continue to champion our world-class fisheries sector and the outstanding produce it delivers to our plates.”

In a first for the organisers, AFTA’s AGM was held on the first trade day of the show at the Let's Fish Australia stage and was immediately followed by Happy Hour.

The meeting was attended by 48 members, representing 16 wholesale companies, 12 retailers and one media business.
There were three positions on the board up for nomination this year, with Ben Scales, Alicia Bolitho and Kord Luckus all re-elected.

Once again AFTA's Gala Dinner was sold out – twice! This meant the organisers had to request a larger room at the venue and that evening more than 400 fishing industry members filled the room.

The Seven Network’s Paul Burt was MC for the evening while AFTA president Michael Starkey delivered a quick update about what the board has been working on over the past 12 months.
The AFTA Hall of Fame welcomed its newest inductee, Bill Classon, the executive team from WARFFA was recognised by the industry for their contribution over the past 12 months and product, stand and best store awards were also handed out. 
Meanwhile, Victorian Fishing Authority’s Caitlin Berecry-Brooks presented some interesting insights on the Women in Recreational Fishing and Boating network.

The Best In Show product awards were voted on by the retailers who attended the 2023 trade show, with the Best Stand awards were voted on by the Victorian Fisheries Authority and Women in Recreational Fishing and Boating (WIRFAB).

The Best Tackle Store award was voted on by AFTA member wholesalers prior to the show.

You can see all the award winners at


Day 1 - Thursday
285 buyers
143 stores
691 attendees

Day 2 - Friday 
275 buyers
139 stores
748 attendees

Day 3 - Saturday

17 buyers
10 stores
4,854 public registered
2,620 public attended
3,067 attendees