Records fall at 66th ICAST
Records fell when ICAST kicked off its 66th year with the On The Water product demo day, held on the lakes outside the Orange County Convention Center’s North building.
Show organiser, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), said there was a record number of exhibitors for On The Water, popular with visitors wanting an early look at new products before the indoor exhibition starts officially.
“It was bigger than it’s ever been,” said the ASA’s Trade Show and Membership VP, Blake Swango. “We had people dropping boats into the demo pond, tents, food, drinks, a women’s anglers meet-up and more than 60 exhibitors’ booths.”
The New Product Showcase, for many the highlight of the four-day show, also set a new high of more than 1,100 entries as companies planned their new launches around ICAST. The 37 categories covered everything from rods and reels to boats, electronics, accessories and more lures than ever seen at one time.
The show featured a new Fly Shop area, a fly-casting pond and six additional fly fishing categories as ICAST embraced fly fishing in a big way. “More fly fishing companies exhibited this year than in the past,” added Swango. “We saw companies that have traditionally not been at ICAST come into the fold. And there was more fly fishing media than we’ve ever seen before.
“NPS winners receive coveted media coverage, industry appreciation, instant credibility and new customers.”
Another high point of the show was the international attendance. Eighty countries were represented, topping the 73 recorded last year. “It’s a really strong showing and speaks to the quality of the show,” said Swango. “Hosting people from so many corners of the globe really gives us a sense of the momentum of sportfishing.”