Business trumps glitz and glamour for ICAST regular
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ICAST is proud of its reputation as the world’s largest fishing tackle trade show where major manufacturers from across the globe proudly launch their new offerings for the forthcoming season amid a glare of publicity.
The unveiling of the very latest rods, reels, lures, electronics and a myriad of other tackle and angling-related items, are eagerly awaited by manufacturers and visitors to the Orange County Convention Center, Florida every year.
But the show offers much more than just a chance for product-hungry dealers to salivate over the latest introductions and discover which ones walk away with an award in the coveted New Product Showcase.
Strip away the film crews, the army of top professional anglers welcoming visitors to the booth and the back-slapping good-humoured camaraderie and the show reveals the real reason that thousands of people within the industry make the annual pilgrimage to Orlando – business.
Kim Straley, President/Owner of LureCraft Fisherman’s Shop, a company that has been supplying lure moulds and components to anglers for nearly half a century, is one of those. She first visited the show in 2006 when she took over the business and has been a regular ever since.
“It is a unique opportunity for me to meet all my suppliers and customers in one place,” she told Angling International. “It is an important event on our calendar.
“We are a niche business delivering a niche product range to a growing market. I identified the growth in the number of anglers wanting to make their own soft plastic lures some time ago and it is a trend that is continuing. Every day we get at least one new customer ordering products from us.
“We have to ensure that we have the best components available, and visiting ICAST allows me to see what the major component manufacturers have to offer.
“With the advent of social media, it has become a much more competitive sector. Information is easily accessible on how to make moulds and the components available to make soft plastic lures, so we have to keep ahead.
“It is also good to see what the big lure-making guys are up to. Their products often set the trends, so it is useful to gauge the direction that the industry is headed.”