ICAST 2023 creates a true industry buzz

The organisers of the largest sportfishing industry show, ICAST, deemed the 2023 edition a success and said the sport’s future looks bright as the 13,346 attendees headed home.

After a full week of activities and three full show days featuring more than 600 exhibitors at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, those involved headed back across the USA and to further far-flung destinations such as the UK, Denmark, Peru, Australia, Korea, Singapore and Japan, among others.

Indeed, there were more than 80 countries represented among the attendees, rubbing shoulders to view an astounding array of products from the obligatory rods, reels terminal tackle, clothing and bait through to full-size bass and bay boats, camper trucks, live trolling motor demonstrations, lounges and the show’s legendary social hours where visitors and traders could network further.

ICAST is produced by the American Sportfishing Industry (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.

ASA trade show and membership vice president Blake Swango said: “This is one of the most impressive shows we have had since I’ve been here. 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.”

On the fly

One key area which ICAST 2023 had focused on was fly fishing. To that end, the ASA built the ICAST Fly Shop to highlight this sector of the trade. Although best-known for conventional fishing tackle, ICAST has increased its fly fishing involvement by adding six new product categories and a dedicated home to showcase fly fishing exhibitors wares that replicates a world-class outfitter.
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 Blake. “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.”

Focus on the future 
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 the latest 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.

ASA vice president of communications, Mary Beth Long, explained: “Youth are so important to our industry. 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.”