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Featured Article: Show Coverage

ICAST 2003 A sure bet, plenty of new and exciting solutions (Part 1)

Date: 7/13/03
Location Las Vegas, NV
Admission Buyers/Press only
Reviewer: Team TackleTour

Introduction: ICAST continues to be the industry’s largest trade event where buyers and press can not only see the latest tackle, but have an opportunity to book orders for the upcoming season. TackleTour once again travels to Las Vegas for ICAST 2003, to report on the industry, and the exciting products and innovations that will be hitting the streets at years end.

Welcome to ICAST 2003, once again in the Las Vegas Convention center

Impressions: For many tackle companies ICAST is a barometer reading of how healthy the industry is. Prior to the start of the event exhibitors had to line up to lock up their floor space, as the show has continued
to sell out for three consecutive years. Mike Nussman, President and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association stated "We're confident that ICAST will be a strong catalyst for sportfishing companies this year because the latest trends in the industry show that sales are especially good for new fishing gear and creative innovations to already popular products." In the first days of ICAST the ASA shared a number of key facts that are a testament to the strength of the industry.

ASA Facts at a Glance

44.3 Million Anglers in the US
$41.5 Billion in Retail Sales
$116 Billion in Overall economic output
1,068,046 Jobs in the Industry
More Americans Fish then play Golf and Tennis Combined!

These facts prove that sportfishing is more then just a popular
American pastime, it is a strong industry that helps fuel the economy,
as well as play a vital role in conservation and culture.

JIP examines one of the new rods from Quantum's new Saltwater lineup

Simply Business: This three day show includes many seminars that are designed to help both the largest and smallest tackle manufacturers and distributors increase the effectiveness of their product marketing and distribution. The ICAST slogan, “Simply Business,” characterizes the show perfectly. This is not a show for consumers, in fact end users are not allowed on the show floor. ICAST is a show for the distributors and retailers that bring tackle to your local shops and catalogs to make decisions on what they feel will be the finest new tackle. For the angling press ICAST is like a walk in the world’s largest candy store. While not
all companies are willing to share a glimpse into the 2004 offerings, many industry leading companies were more then willing to enlighten us on some of the most exhilarating gear we have seen in years.

We caught up with Naomi Jost who showed off the tackle solution that won
our Editor's Choice last year, the Albackore, with the new color coded box system

Product Diversity: More and more solutions are becoming available to anglers and the key driving factor is consumer demand. The industry continues to grow as more and more anglers partake in the sport. Manufacturers no longer simply produce a catalog of products, and see what does and doesn’t take off. Pressure from innovative smaller fast moving manufacturers has forced even the largest players to rethink exactly how they do business. Now the consumer is king, and
introduced products represent exactly what consumers and pro staff have been asking for. For this reason the diversity of products on the show floor is greater then we have ever seen. Whether you are looking for a special scent, net, hi-tech reel, or fly-embedded toilet seat, ICAST has an manufacturer/exhibitor that can deliver.

ICAST is a great place to see the newest updates firsthand, at the show Robert Karashin President of RMK International shows us the finished Rollo System lures

Major Players: The largest booths on the floor belonged to giants like Shakespeare, Shimano, Pure Fishing, Zebco, Okuma, Penn, and Rapala. Most of these companies have listened to the consumer, surveyed the competition, and are preparing to introduce entire lines of new products. The increased competition has truly benefited the consumer as we witnessed the introduction of some of the finest new tackle, at prices that simply amaze. For example, for the same price as mid-range reels just 2-3 years ago anglers are now able to get products that are vastly superior in design, material, and construction. (Stay tuned for our "Highlighted Manufacturer" coverage tomorrow for actual details on
these thrilling new products.)

Nick Nakao, President of Megabait, introduced the new enlarged Charlie lures at this year's show

Conclusion: The industry is healthy, and it’s growing, all of which benefits all anglers. Whether you are a seasoned pro, or a once a
month weekend warrior you can fish with tackle that is more application specific, higher quality, and more affordable. While Las Vegas may be
the betting capital, you won’t need to gamble when it comes to seeing plenty of exciting new products guaranteed to get your juices flowing when you receive your new tackle catalogs, or make the trip to the tackle shop. If ICAST is an accurate snapshot of the year to come
then we are all in for a great season!

(Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article where we highlight our picks
for highlighted manufacturers!)  










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