US fishing future strong thanks to ICAST

Recreational fishing’s future continues to look bright, as the industry’s largest trade show, ICAST, returned to form last week.

In total, more than 12,000 exhibitors, buyers and media converged on the Orange County Convention Center to showcase the widest array of fishing gear, tackle, accessories and apparel available in one location.
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.
“The show was fantastic,” said ASA president Glenn Hughes. “The show exceeded our expectations, and most importantly exceeded exhibitors’ expectations. Everyone I spoke with said how wonderful the show was and how the energy is as good as it has ever been. The fishing tackle industry is alive and well and looking strong for the future.”

ASA board chairman Jesse Simpkins, the vice-president of marketing at St Croix rods, added: “When you think about it, the fishing industry is born out of ideas.

“At ICAST, there are new products and new ideas at every booth. This is the best place to showcase them. Most of the major retailers already have meetings set up with the big guys when they come here. But they’re also looking for that 10x10 booth that may have a unique product they can blow up into the next multimillion dollar seller.”
ASA’s trade show and membership VP Blake Swango commented: “This year, 73 countries were represented at ICAST as well as all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

The show floor was very busy this year, with exhibitors reporting back-to-back meetings and shoulder-to-shoulder attendance at their booths.”
“There was a great vibe on the floor,” said Trade Show Committee Chairman Travis Owens, vice-president of Pure Fishing, GM, Fin-Nor/Van Staal.

“The show has positive momentum and is going in a good direction. We had record attendance in the number of countries represented and an increase in participation in the On The Water Product Day and the New Product Showcase.
On Friday, ICAST doors opened to high school fishing clubs affiliated with Major League Fishing and B.A.S.S. to give them an inside look at the business side of sportfishing.
Designed to showcase job opportunities within the fishing industry, ASA’s partnership with the two largest grassroots bass fishing organizations on the planet was designed to show the young anglers that there are careers in sales, marketing, tech, product development and logistics in the sportfishing industry.

ICAST 2023 will be held in the North/South Building at the Orange County Convention Center July 11th to 14th, 2023.