LAS VEGAS – If you build it, they will come.
In a thick Russian accent, Vitaly Pchelnikov said as much.
“Bring bass to Russia, and we’ll fish for bass,” said the managing director of Extreme Fishing Europe.
Russians love their fishing, as evidenced by one seventh of its 140 million population who go after trout, salmon and perch.
People like the husband and wife team of Daniil and Elena Pazdniak help put the International in ICAST. After 14 hours of air time from Moscow, they prowled the floor looking to make some key purchases for Ultra Fishing out of Saint Petersburg.
“We are looking for new products for market,” Daniil said.
While there are no such industry shows in Russia, Elena said Moscow has two shows each year for consumers. The Pazdniaks said they would end up putting in only a handful of orders because of exclusive deals in Russia with a number of tackle companies.
They were spotted buying art at the Pictures 3D booth, which also took orders from a South African firm, and a request.
“They wanted us to get images of yellowfin tuna, things they catch down there,” said Jay Garstecki.
From China came the likes of Bin Zhang of Weihalie-Max Sport Apparatus. He’s a manufacturer’s rep for Pure Fishing, meeting with production people and taking orders, and also looking at others’ offerings.
“Check out some product,” he said.
His crew needed 24 hours to travel from Hong Kong to Los Angeles and then to Vegas.
Japanese companies have been a fixture at ICAST for some time.
Fikae Miyu was in the OUYA booth, helping the company with its export/import lure business. She is a transplant from Japan living out of a motor home with her husband, professional angler Shin Fukae.
In 2003, he was the angler of the year in Japan then won rookie of the year with FLW the following season.
“I think I’m only one to win in two countries … I’m not KVD,” he said with a laugh.
Miyu said her company has been to ICAST the past 11 years and began making products to sell to U.S. retailers about two years ago.
“Japanese people like imports,” she said. “People in Japan like to have American lures.”