ICAST well worth the trip, says South African distributor
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It is 13,544 kilometres (8,415 miles) from Durban, South Africa, to Orlando, Florida and it takes nearly a day in the air to get there.
However, John Geils, a director at Xplorer Fly Fishing, which operates as Jandi Trading and is a specialist importer and manufacturer of fly fishing equipment, believes it is a journey worth making to visit ICAST, the world’s largest fishing tackle trade show.
He told Angling International: “I went to my first ICAST 17 years ago and have visited regularly over the years.”
Since its co-location with fly fishing’s IFTD, the show has added appeal to Geils’s company which is exclusive distributor of leading international brands that straddle both sides of the fence, including RIO Products, Redington, St. Croix Rods, Flying Fisherman and Glacier Glove.
“The addition of IFTD has given a dedicated fly section that appeals to me. ICAST is huge and there is so much to see that you cannot be anywhere else. It is important to go every year, not only to see new products, but also network with people behind the brands we work with as it gives us a better understanding of the companies and their people.
“It is also good to see players in the market and discover who is gaining or losing market share. I also like to attend the industry functions and gatherings. Some of the seminars are also interesting and it is good to attend ones that are relevant to my market and business.
“It is expensive to get to Florida for international companies and hard to get away during the busy summer season, but retailers should try to attend. It is important to see what the new trends are in the industry and being able to react to them.
“ICAST has been important in building up relationships with the brands we work with. It is also good to meet with other international businesses that attend and compare issues that affect us in South Africa – often they are similar to other countries. Getting an introduction to a factory or company through friends we have met at ICAST opens doors and makes business easier.
“It is always impressive to see the overall size of ICAST and it motivates me to want to do more every time I return from the show.”
Established in 1996, the Xplorer Fly Fishing brand offers the most comprehensive range of gear in South Africa and has recently established distributors in Australia, Brazil and Germany.