From July 16-18, 7,000 representatives of the global sportfishing community came together for ICAST 2008, the world's largest sportfishing tradeshow. The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST), produced by the American Sportfishing Association, represents the cornerstone of the sportfishing industry, driving sportfishing companies' product sales year round and is the showcase for the latest innovations in gear and accessories. This year, ASA, the sportfishing industry's trade association, celebrated 75 years of serving the sportfishing industry.
With a sold-out show floor for the seventh consecutive year, ICAST 2008 featured 433 exhibitors filling 1,350 booths. The show boasted nearly 2,000 buyers and 458 media representatives. More than 800 attendees from 55 countries attended ICAST. ICAST also co-located with the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show (MAATS), produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), allowing more than 10,000 attendees to walk both show floors.
"ICAST is the year's most important event for the sportfishing industry. The show brings everyone together to enjoy the spirit of competition, interact with customers and the media, generate business and address sportfishing industry concerns," said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. "From our member exhibitors, to the buyers and media, to our sponsors, on behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, I want to thank everyone who participated in this year's show. I look forward to seeing everyone next year at ICAST 2009 in Orlando."
In 2008, 190 companies entered 695 of the industry's newest innovations in gear and accessories in the New Product Showcase, ICAST's flagship feature. The products in the New Product Showcase were entered into the "Best of Show" competition where buyers and members of the media judged each product based on its level of innovation, execution, workmanship and practicality to select "Best of Show" honors in 17 categories, as well as the overall "Best of Show" winner.
The Curado E Series, a freshwater reel from Shimano American Corp., was voted by buyers and media as the most innovative product in both the Freshwater Rod category and in the overall "Best of Show" category. Shimano also won "Best of Show" honors in the Freshwater Rod, Saltwater Rod and Saltwater Reel categories. Other winners in the 2008 New Product Showcase are: Bert's Custom Tackle, Boating Accessory; E21 Fishing, Clothing; Humminbird, Electronics; Old Harbor Outfitters, Eyewear; CTI Industries Corp., Fishing Accessory; Anglers Book Supply, Giftware; Mystic Tackleworks, Hard Lure; Shakespeare; Kid's Tackle; Pure Fishing; Line and Soft Lure; FisherGirl, Inc., Reel/Rod Combo; Plano Molding Company, Tackle Management; and Pallatrax, Terminal Tackle. The three first-time exhibitors who won a "Best of Show" honor are CTI Industries, Mystic Tackleworks and Pallatrax.
During the annual State of the Industry Breakfast which kicked off the show on Wednesday morning, July 16, ASA released the country's first top-10 list of the products that changed the way people fish as determined by a survey of the nation's most avid anglers. ASA partnered with the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) to survey the foundation's thousands of Anglers' Legacy Ambassadors, the country's most avid anglers, who voted for the products they feel have been most instrumental in shaping the sport over the past seven and a half decades.
The products that were recognized were Rapala's Original Floater Minnow (1936); Spring loaded bobber (1947); Mitchell 300 (1949), currently manufactured by Pure Fishing; Creme Lure Co.'s, Creme Plastic Worm (1949); Zero Hour Bomb Company's Closed Face Spincast Reel (1949) currently manufactured by ZEBCO Brands; Lowrance Electronics Inc.'s Lowrance Fish Lo-K-Tor (1957), currently manufactured by Lowrance/Navico; DuPont Stren's Monofilament Line (1958), currently manufactured by Pure Fishing; Minn Kota's Minn Kota Trolling Motor (1958), currently manufactured by Johnson Outdoors; Fenwick High Modulus Graphite Rod (1972), currently manufactured by Pure Fishing; and Shakespeare Ugly Stick (1976).
RBFF also presented its Anglers' Legacy Leadership Awards during ICAST. ASA members Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, ESPN Outdoors/BASS and North American Fisherman were honored for outstanding promotion of the Anglers' Legacy program and exceptional achievement in encouraging anglers to "take the pledge" to introduce someone to fishing.
In 2009, ICAST will be held at the Orange County Convention Center, from July 15-17, 2009. ICAST 2010 will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, from July 21-23, 2010.