I don’t know if he fishes but last week, I followed the approximate path of Lebron James’ moving truck and drove 1066 miles to attend ICAST in Orlando, Florida. It is the “world’s largest sport fishing trade show.” The 11,000 plus attendees were “industry only,” so I felt fortunate to peek at some of the new, innovative recreational fishing products that will start appearing in stores.
There was some overlap from companies that exhibited at the Bassmaster Classic Expo which is open to the general public. However, this event also housed saltwater and fly-fishing products. It united fishing methods, techniques, and philosophies from around the world. Fly anglers talked about fishing for muskellunge instead of trout; Brazilian anglers spoke of peacock bass top water techniques. And I was entertained as French lure designer Patrick Sebile and famous Alabama angler Hank Parker swapped stories and mocked each other’s accent.
Famous anglers and hosts of fishing television shows were in every aisle, telling stories and making the familiar hook set gesture. I even shared a fish story with “Mike D” at the South Bend booth, as part of a competition to win an appearance on an episode of Lunkerville.
I returned from this fishing-related trip, not with “bass thumb,” but “tradeshow hand.” Halfway through the show, a woman using the Baker Grip ‘n Weigh, verified that I already was carrying 17 pounds of catalogues and brochures. By the end of the afternoon, my two bags had swelled to over 40 pounds of printed material and the straps cut into my hands.
While in Orlando I learned a few things, like where NOT to eat and how to hit every toll booth. I will be sharing some information on the latest boating and fishing related products, techniques, and ideas in future posts. It was interesting not only what products were “new,” but what products were “old.” Perhaps one of my favorites was a way to make old lures “new” again. It was great to see some companies of lures and products that I carried in my tacklebox as a kid that are still going strong.
What is your favorite new lure? What “old” lure do you still use?
Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Pennsylvania. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com.