ICAST is one-stop shop for all tackle shop retailers
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The world’s biggest fishing tackle trade show – ICAST – has grown dramatically to become the one-stop-shop for retailers.
That is the view of Aledia Tush, owner and operator of Florida-based CB Saltwater Outfitters. She has been visiting the event since its formative years when it was held in Atlanta, Georgia and says: “It has changed so much since those days”.
“The biggest difference is the dramatic increase in the number of vendors, and that has added a new dimension to the show. It is now not just about fishing tackle, but everything associated with the sport – from apparel, accessories, marine, right through to sunscreen and bug spray. Everything that a retailer needs to stock in a tackle shop is on display at ICAST.
“It is that diversity of product that makes it so important for retailers to attend. It is the only show where you will see so much gear in one place. There is nowhere else in the world where so much is gathered under one roof. The big plus for us in recent years has been the addition of fly fishing via ICAST’s link-up with IFTD. For us it has made the show complete.
“The New Product Showcase is a fun thing to do, but also very enlightening. It gives you an opportunity to see new innovations that you might miss while walking the floor. While there, you may just discover a gem.”
Tush added that while she understands the difficulties retailers face leaving their businesses and getting to Orlando, she firmly believes it is a trip worth making. “If I could, I would take all my staff to ICAST. I try to ensure as many as possible attend because it is so important they get a taste of what is happening in the industry.
“What you learn at ICAST will stand you in good stead for the rest of the year. Our business has certainly been influenced for the better by attending ICAST.”
As well as a comprehensive range of fishing-related products under one roof at ICAST, the show also attracts a veritable who’s who of the industry. Tush says: “Where else can you go to meet the CEOs of the top companies? There are very few – if any – events where this happens. From my point of view it is important to be able to do that and put faces to the names.”
ICAST also represents an opportunity to better understand not only what is happening within the industry, but on a wider scale, including conservation issues and the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) work to ensure recreational fishing’s future and to conserve the resources upon which it depends.
“It is our industry and we have to look after it. Learning about what goes on behind the scenes to ensure the survival of our sport is very important and ICAST gives retailers a chance to mingle with organisations that are working on our behalf.
“I believe all retailers should be members of ASA. It is important we all support our industry and you can do that by visiting ICAST, getting involved and becoming a member.”