Angling Trade recently visited the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show in Salt Lake City, and, as usual, came away impressed by the sheer girth and energy this event packs. This show involves everything outdoors–from running shoes to backpacks, sunglasses, to scuba, to camping gear. And yes, fly fishing was indeed a larger part of the mix this year. A number of traditional fly brands–Orvis, Redington, Umpqua, etc. exhibited in the main hall, while there was also a special fly fishing area set off in its own pavilion. I wouldn’t say that I saw a major fly presence. But I saw a notable fly presence.
Perhaps more importantly, I saw potential. I look at paddling, specifically stand-up paddle boards, which were everywhere. Consider that paddling had its own trade show once. That SUPs were virtually non-existent 10 years ago. The degree to which paddle sports, particularly SUPs played in OR was astounding. If fly fishing could work to emulate that, half of this industry’s growth concerns would vanish.
Our job is not to say if ICAST/IFTD or OR was the better trade show. They were both great. And each offers significant advantages (and potential) for certain manufacturers and retailers, depending on their own business objectives. What we will say is that the “either-or” conversation should be over. I think (and hope) that both ICAST and OR will continue to increase their interest and partnerships with the fly-fishing world. It’s good to be wanted.
Read more follow up on IFTD, ICAST and OR in the next “Product” Issue of Angling Trade.