KVD: ICAST is busy time for Elite anglers

gopr9257.jpg

Thomas Allen

By now you probably noticed on Bassmaster.com this is a big week for the tackle industry.

It’s ICAST week, a time when all the major manufacturers get together with buyers and the media at a huge show in Orlando to unveil new products for 2018.

ICAST week is just as big for Bassmaster Elite pros, as it’s a critical time for us to meet with our sponsors and talk to the media about how those new products will play in the sport of bass fishing.

There are always big new product launches in several categories and companies battle for “best of show” bragging rights. When one company raises the bar in product development, it challenges another to do even more next year. It’s competition at its finest.

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year and a very important event for any bass pro. It’s one place where you can interact with company personnel that you deal with intermittently throughout the year.

A lot of anglers use the show to develop relationships and sign with new sponsors, but it’s also a good time to see new products and get a better understanding of how they are built and can be used.

My day started early Tuesday and will run through Friday. When I’m not working in sponsor booths I’m in meetings with company personnel, talking with buyers or conducting interviews to showcase my sponsors’ new products. At night there are dinner meetings with sponsors.

What makes ICAST special for me is that I’ve had input in a lot of the new gear introduced each year. It’s one of the cool perks my job offers – the opportunity to work with manufacturers to develop new and better tools for anglers, and in many cases, put my name on them.

I’ve had a hand in Humminbird features, helped guide TH Marine in some of its new products for boating and bass anglers, assisted Quantum in rod and reel concepts that improve casting and fish landing performance and even provided ideas for HUK in clothing to fill angler needs. Of course, I’ve helped create and test new baits for Strike King and have used several of them in tournament wins.

The ICAST Show is a big international show, and I’ve noticed the past few years that there is growing interest in bass fishing around the world. It’s great to talk to buyers from other countries and learn about their fisheries and how my sponsors can fill their needs.

Because of the magnitude and importance of ICAST, it draws media from around the world as well. I will conduct a lot of interviews with media working the show and do countless videos that will pop up this week on websites and YouTube.

Years ago, most interviews were done with reporters holding notebooks and tape recorders. Today, it’s with video cameras that provide viewers visuals and detailed explanations of new gear.

What you haven’t seen this week on Bassmaster.com will certainly be appearing in the coming days. It’s a good opportunity to find those products the pique your interests so you can start hunting for them when they become available this fall or early next year.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

Kevin VanDam's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.