I had the opportunity to attend ICAST 2012 in Orlando a couple of months ago. I have never been to one of these shows and had been told they were pretty impressive. Nothing could have prepared me for this! The event was held in the Orange County Convention Center. I arrived on a Tuesday and picked up my Badge. I was there with the Sportsman Channel and had an all access pass. I was able to go inside and see the exhibitors setting up their areas. It was controlled chaos as there were forklifts and giant packing crates everywhere.
The show boasted 300,000 square feet of exhibitor space with thousands of industry representatives attending. All of the big names in fishing were there, Shimano, Diawa, Penn and many more. They all were showcasing their new products as well and some fan favorites. There were also many smaller companies there with many new innovative products that will be making their way to tackle retailers soon.
There were many items of interest for us kayakers there. One of the most notable was the Hobie Pro Angler 12. In addition to being shorter and lighter than its big brother, the Pro Angler 12 also has a seat that is unrivaled in the kayak arena. It is also designed to fit a Lowrance transducer with no drilling required. The Pro Angler 12 has so many new features that appeal to anglers that it was named Best of Show boat and Best of Show Overall for ICAST 2012.
Other kayak manufacturers there included Diablo, Jackson and NuCanoe. They all had the latest designs and accessories including Diablo’s new carbon fiber shallow water paddle. Bote Paddleboards had some beautiful designs for fishing SUPs with features such as a Yeti cooler seat and leaning post with rod holders.
It was very much an all inclusive show with representatives from all aspects of fishing. Manufacturers of kayaks, rods, reels, lures, terminal tackle, fishing line and apparel, they were all there. It was a great show and fun to be a part of it. I look forward to using some of the new gear that was introduced there and writing about how well they work in the field.