Every angler, bait shop and manufacturer is looking for the latest and greatest bait, rod, reel or idea.
And nowhere — at any time or place in the world — is there a greater concentration of all of the above than in Las Vegas each summer during ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades).
The show, being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, July 16-18, is the cornerstone of the sportfishing industry, helping drive industry companies' product sales year-round. From buyers to media to exhibitors, ICAST annually attracts 7,000 members of the international sportfishing community.
To see ICAST 2008 by the numbers, click here.
In 2007, the show had nearly 2,000 buyers and 350 registered members of the media (eight of whom were working for ESPNOutdoors.com). It featured a sold-out floor for the sixth consecutive year, with 421 exhibitors filling 1,338 booths on a 350,000-square-foot show floor, and included 600 international attendees from 47 countries.
Not only is the show on pace to sell out again in 2008, but the show will co-locate with the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show (MAATS), produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).
The problem is, with 400 companies throwing their latest and greatest at the wall, not all of it can stick. That's where we come in.
We featured last year's Best in Show and Best Fresh Water Rod, E21's Carrot Stix, which led Boyd Duckett to one of the greatest BASS tournament seasons ever seen and is now a staple on the Elite Series.
And who could forget The Floater? (speaking of sticking to the wall ) It made legendary angler Bill Dance stop mid-sentence and exclaim, "That guy looks like he's got poo hanging all over him."
While there are always plenty of surprises at ICAST (once again, see The Floater), it never ceases to shock that fishing as an industry can support so many companies, so many lures, rods, reels, paintings, etc.
Hundreds of booths lined up back-to-back, side-to-side, trying to push their new product as the absolute must-have for every fisherman (or fisherwoman).
But a quick look at these numbers and it starts making a little more sense.