IFTD 2013 Debrief

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If you read my article on the 2013 IFTD show, then you know that I think everyone in the fly fishing industry should support it.

What you might not know is that going into this year’s show, I was a little concerned. The last few years have been tough ones for IFTD. Support has wavered for the show and dealer attendance has been hit and miss. Some of the large manufacturers have, at least threatened, to sit it out. AFFTA’s decision to combine IFTD with ICAST, the huge conventional fishing industry show, was a bold roll of the dice. Many people, including myself, were not convinced it would come up sevens.

I am very happy to say that my concerns were unfounded. In fact, looking back, I think combining the two shows was pure genius. Sharing the floor with ICAST gave the show an excitement that it hasn’t had for years. That enthusiasm translated into confidence, and everyone I spoke to at the show felt that it was the most productive IFTD in years.

Some folks were concerned enough to sit the show out, or at least walk the floor as attendees rather than drop the cash for a booth. I talked with several of the “wait and see” crowd and every one of them plans to have a booth next year. I think that may be the greatest indicator of success.

I had been concerned that the fly fishing crowd would not be accepted by our plug tossing neighbors. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only did the gear guys accept us, they were excited to cross the aisle and see what we had to offer. My only regret is that I couldn’t spend more time at ICAST. It was a blast!

Why does it matter? I’ll tell you. A thriving fly fishing industry benefits us all, anglers to manufacturers. Confidence and enthusiasm are the fuel that the economy runs on. If we want the fly fishing industry to thrive, there is no replacement for confidence and enthusiasm. This year’s IFTD show had both in spades. Three days pounding the floor of a trade show can be brutal, but most folks I asked said they wish they’d had another day. No one wanted it to end.

I am encouraged by what I saw in Las Vegas. A fly fishing industry revitalized. Folks on very different sides of the fishing world finding their common ground. Everyone involved talking about the future of the show, not its past. I feel that the best days for the IFTD show and the fly fishing community at large are ahead of us. I’m looking forward to next year in Orlando. Let’s all come together and get some business done.

We will continue to share videos of some of the exciting new products that we saw at IFTD on Fridays. There is some pretty cool gear coming in 2014 so stay tuned!

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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4 thoughts on “IFTD 2013 Debrief

  1. Glad to hear the show was a success. Your gear reports are always informative and all of us benefit from a strong industry.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. There was a certain energy that wasn’t present in previous shows, and also, it really is interesting and inspiring to see products that we might not see other-wise.

  3. The overlap in audience should be a no-brainer. As an avid fly fisherman, I think plug casting for snook, small tarpon, and bass where the Everglades drain into Florida Bay is very cool. The skills required are considerable. The fun is immeasurable. It has been about 10 years since I did it though, as I moved northward. I wish I had more opportunity to do it and more funds to gear up for it like I do with fly fishing.

  4. Louis and Kent, I shared both your concerns and also the observation that this was the best and most promising format in both the show and also the flyfishing industry in many moons. Combining fishing and flyfishing together is the natural thing, and seeing this in practice, even in the unlikely setting of Las Vegas in early July, was an eye opener and a breath of fresh air. As someone who has been to each show for the last two decades, I wish that we had reached this solution sooner.

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