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The ICAST Shuffle: GHM Editor Fred Garth (right) Blogs about oddities of the recent ICAST Fishing Show


By Fred Garth

GHM Editor Fred Garth with the Doug Dragoo, President of Abel Reels.

GHM Editor Fred Garth with the Doug Dragoo, President of Abel Reels.

As a writer, I love acronyms. I’m geeky that way. And social media has rocketed them to mega-celebrity status with LOL, OMG, WTF, IMO and IDK. But, sometimes you wonder which came first, the title or the acronym. Take ICAST– for example. It’s a fishing show. Coincidence? I think not. The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades is a mouthful to say but the acronym is snappy. I’m sure the committee ruminated on that for weeks before the light bulb popped. REEF is another one. The Reef Environmental Education Foundation. Clever!

Earlier this month, I found myself at the ICAST trade show amongst the thousands of fishing products, services, fishing pros and media goons. It’s heaven for us fishing freaks and I always wish I had an empty train car I could fill up with all of the amazing toys. Unfortunately, my only car is a scary minivan with 200,000 miles and 14 rolls of duct tape on it. Basically, a chick magnet.

This was the sixth ICAST show I’ve attended. A few years ago they absorbed IFTD, the International Fly Tackle Dealer show. Sadly, not a lot of thought on that acronym. Nonetheless, IFTD and ICAST share the humongous exhibit hall. About 2/3rds is ICAST and 1/3rd is fly fishing swag. Like lots of fishing peeps, I love all fishing, including fly fishing. But I noticed that walking from the ICAST area into IFTD is like going from a Kenny Chesney concert to a Grateful Dead festival. The fly fishing dudes are all bearded up, khaki-ed out and seems to have Colorado bliss-smiles on their faces.

The IFTDers were playing excellent music, booze was flowing freely and it had the feel of a laid back, super hip party. When I walked back into ICAST, I expected to run into Rush Limbaugh and Mitt Romney. By the last day, I had stopped shaving, started wearing muted colored clothes and was considering a tattoo of a Clouser minnow on my ankle. I ordered a vape online. That’s not all entirely true. I actually was shaving.

The real truth is, both shows were amazing and I spent most of my time on the ICAST side where there was also plenty of beer and wine at multiple booths. But their music does need some serious help. I also discovered that even a lame name like FRED can be an acronym – Fishing Redfish Every Day. Maybe I’ll start a club.

See GHM’s Ion ICAST interviews here.


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