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Updated: 07/25/2014 08:00:00AM

A blast at ICAST

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By Josh Olive

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I spent three days last week at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, better known as ICAST, and it was a truly incredible experience. ICAST is equal parts show and gathering, drawing in nearly 500 exhibitors along with a who’s who of the angling world. I talked with inventors of bizarre new products, engineers working for the industry’s biggest names, fishermen from all over the world, and 2014 Bassmaster Champion Randy Howell. I played with hundreds of lures, reels, rods and assorted gizmos that will be hitting retail shelves in the fall. And everyone I spoke with got an earful of what an amazing sportsman’s playground Charlotte Harbor is.

ICAST comes to Florida every other year, going to Sin City the rest of the time. It’s held at Orlando’s enormous Orange County Convention Center and takes up most of it, with right around a half-million square feet devoted to the show. It’s truly overwhelming when you first walk in, but like all elephants it can be eaten if you take one bite at a time. Trouble is, there’s a time limit: The show opens Tuesday and runs through Friday. It sounds like a lot of hours, but it’s really not. To save time, we blew past a lot of booths featuring blue-water and ice fishing tackle and spent time talking with those whose products would have greater impact on our local Southwest Florida fishing. Even so, I’m pretty sure we missed a few things.

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