Glenn Hughes: ICAST 2022 will be 20% bigger than last year – let’s enjoy the moment
ICAST bounced back from Covid last year to produce a highly successful in-person show. Now Glenn Hughes, President of the show’s organising body, the American Sportfishing Association, predicts further great things from this week’s event.
So what are your expectations for this year?
GH: It was great to have the show back in-person in ’21, but ’22, with its amazing response from members and exhibitors, is going to be 20% bigger than last year. And we have had more than a 13% increase in pre-registration. Yes, times are tough with travel and expenses, yet once a year, companies and individuals make the investment to be at the one place they have to be each year… that’s ICAST. Based on the more than 900 new products already lined up and the amazing promotion from the companies pushing the show, we think this year is going to be incredible. Blake Swango, VP for Trade Show and Membership, and his team are a well-oiled machine and we’ve got more than 12,000 industry professionals excited to come to Orlando this week.
Has there been any discernible shift in booth size and the type of exhibitor?
GH: There has been some consolidation with some companies buying others, but they’ve bought more booth space. GSM’s investment into Gary Yamamoto and Bill Lewis Lures, for example, is actually creating more space. And we have 130 new exhibitors this year. We are still missing many from Europe and Asia as Covid won’t let go, but overall we are very happy with the growth this year.
Do you anticipate any trends emerging from this show?
GH: Good question. Based on the promotion I’ve seen of the new products that will be at the show, I am expecting some very high-end equipment to be introduced. You’ll also see more companies adding rods and reels to their arsenals. There are, as always, hundreds of lures that claim to be the next big thing to catch bass. I can’t wait to check some of them out.
The unprecedented demand for fishing tackle triggered by Covid looks to be tailing off to pre-pandemic levels. Along with supply chain issues, shipping and container costs, and rising gas prices, does that give you any concern for ICAST 2023?
GH: I say, let’s take a moment to enjoy this show and appreciate the time we have together. With that said, I will be listening to the comments and concerns of the industry and we will focus our efforts on the future. At the ASA we are fulfilling our strategic plan of building the sportfishing community and improving our content and communications to help our industry succeed. We are still going to have issues to face, like we always have, but the fishing industry is strong and resilient. We will get through it and be smarter for it.