IFTD/ICAST 2015

It isn't extremely common for online fly shops to go to a show like ICAST/IFTD, and even less common for guys from the west coast to make the trip all the way to Orlando FL. At Big Y though we feel it gives us an opportunity to find the newest and best products to bring to you, our customers. We went to the show in 2014 and found very valuable brands and products that our customer base has come to appreciate and love, and this year was no different. While we won't go over the new products and brands we are looking at adding, we will give you a look at what has come because of ICAST/IFTD and why we go.

The trip itself starts, middles and ends in an somewhat sleep deprived blur. We start out catching the red eye out of Portland, OR and end up landing sometime in the AM in Orlando with one transfer flight. After a quick nap and doing our best to recover from the jet lag we proceed to the show. Before you can enter the show we stop by the registration booth and pick up our credentials, to enter the show you must be a business and have to register months ahead of time. Security here is pretty tight, they check your tags before letting you through.

Entering the show is like entering a fisherman's wet dream, there are literally hundreds of vendors all promoting different products, for different styles of fishing. Everything can be found here, from fly fishing to tenkara, spinning lures to outboard motors, the whole scene can be incredibly daunting at first. We start the show the same way as last year and make a b line for the new product show case. This is where vendors can show off their new products being released for 2016, and retailers can get a close hands on look what is the newest and hottest products. Sorry folks but photography is strictly prohibited here, any sign of using a phone here and security will come and go through your phone to make sure you didn't take any pictures. What I will say is this, NRS has some stuff coming out specifically made for fishermen. People familiar with the brand know NRS makes some of the finest rafting gear out there, and upon examination in the New Product Showcase their fishing stuff is going to be on par with the brand we have grown to love.

After we get done with the New Product Showcase we start what I like to refer to as "the walk". With so many vendors we want to make sure we at least look at every booth. While fly fishing is usually sorted out from everything else, there are a lot of crossover products and we want to make sure we don't miss a thing. So we start walking up and down every aisle in the show making sure to take notes and look at products we really like. One of the things we found doing this last year was New Zealand Strike Indicators. They must have signed up a little late or something because they were tucked away next to booths you typically wouldn't consider fly fishing material. After doing this for a couple of hours we tend to stop, make note of where we left off, and go talk to some of our current vendors.

One of the first people I like to talk to is Skip Storch owner and president of Shu-Fly rods. He does a lot of expos on the east coast so some of you might be familiar with him. Those who aren't let me tell you this guy is one of the funniest guys to talk to in the industry. A complete show man, and yet completely honest when it comes to his product. He convinced us last year to pick up his rod line and boy are we glad we did. He makes some of the nicest rods in the price points and backs them with an unsurpassed warranty. Not only is the warranty unconditional and life time, but he makes sure to get a rod back in your hands as soon as possible. He has some of the fastest turn around times for broken rods, unlike some of the industry's leading manufacturers who can take months before returning your rod.
I can't say much about what is to come out of Shu-Fly this year, but I will say this. He isn't slowing down anytime soon. Skip is constantly looking for new rods and reels and is making sure to stay up with what end customers are looking for. In doing so he also puts a lot of time in research and development making sure that the products he makes work and work well. Please stay tuned as we will be sure to be adding some new and exciting things to the Shu-Fly line.

Next we stop by Rio and Redington, and my have these guys been busy. Both companies are coming out with some new exciting products and products they have drastically improved. Big Y will be adding a lot of the newest and hottest products from both companies. We believe that they both are going to be offering things you guys will love and be happy they did.




A company we were pleasantly surprised to see at the expo was Haggerty Lures. They make some of the jigs that we carry and can't seem to order enough of them. Haggerty is making a ton of jigs and weighted flies that aren't found online and only in a handful of stores. We quickly realized that they have a whole bounty of flies that are sure to entice the pickiest fish.
 
Be on the look out for an upcoming blog announcing the new jig patterns we will be adding from Haggerty.

While the companies above contain a lot of the show highlights there is an additional aspect of the show that we find the most enticing.... The Manufacturer. There are a handful of manufacturers at the show that make everything from fly rods to waders. Some of which we currently have make our line of Nano Rods and Big Y Fly Co Reels. The thing I will say about this is: Big Y now will have to spend the rest of the summer doing as much Research and Development as possible (I know what a bummer right?)

Overall we would call the show a success, a lot of products were seen, a lot of new people met, and some hand shakes made. Big Y is now extremely excited to be making some big changes in order to better serve our customers. Please stay tuned as updates will be sure to follow.











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