Skip to main content

Somber Reaction After ICAST Shut Due to Coronavirus

‘Wow': Kevin Van Dam, others, respond to latest COVID-19 closure.

Somber Reaction After ICAST Shut Due to Coronavirus

In some ways, the news seemed almost inevitable that ICAST would join the host of other outdoors events to be cancelled this year in the continuing COVID-19 pandemic storm sweeping the globe. But that didn’t make the news any easier to accept when official word came down last week. (Photo by Scott Bernarde)

In news that seemed almost inevitable given recent COVID-19 headlines, the American Sportfishing Association made it official on the afternoon of Friday, April 17, 2020 with news that ICAST was being cancelled this summer

The news came two weeks after ASA officials had originally said the show in Orlando would proceed as scheduled. But with the nation still under various "shelter in place" and "stay at home" orders and with social distancing and group-size restrictions in place for another few weeks, holding the show became an impossibility given the coronavirus crisis.

Somber reaction came quickly from both industry members and professional anglers responsible for promoting so many of the new products at each summer’s ICAST show.

"It's the smart thing to do for the industry," said Kevin VanDam, the Kalamazoo, Mich. angling great with four Bassmaster Classic titles and several Major League Fishing titles on his resume.


"It's unfortunate though, because there are so many companies that are really struggling right now. But with the numbers, the fact that no one can travel internationally, things like that, there were a lot of concerns [about being able to pull it off]."


Edwin Evers, himself a Bassmaster Classic champion as well as the defending points champion and REDCREST champ on Major League Fishing’s Bass Pro Tour circuit, agreed. "I was just like 'Wow!’," said Evers, a Talala, Okla. resident. "I don't know what else to say about it. It really stinks bad. In the back of my mind, I was hopeful we'd open things up and get back to normal. I guess I was surprised [by the decision]."

Another member of the Bassmaster Classic champion fraternity, Randy Howell of Guntersville, Ala., echoed the sentiments of VanDam and Evers. "It was a surprise to hear that ICAST was cancelled," said Howell, also a member of MLF’s BPT fishing circuit. "But I definitely understand with all the uncertainty in the world right now. … This show is an international show with many countries represented each year, so I'm sure safety and wellness were the deciding factors."

"Events and trade shows are one of the many highlights of this industry," stated an Instagram post by Clenzoil Unlimited, a CLP marine and tackle product company based in Dade City, Fla. "Bringing everyone together for that perfect business/leisure balance. Although it's no surprise, we're bummed to hear the official cancellation of #ICAST2020. Here’s to getting through these times and sharing a beer together for next year's happy hour."

The travel and health concerns were some of the main factors that went into ICAST officials pulling the plug on the 2020 show.


"Two weeks ago, we asked for your patience as we strived to make the best business decisions we could on behalf of our exhibitors, members, staff and all our show attendees," ASA president Glenn Hughes said in an ASA news release. "Cancelling this year's show was the only decision that could be made when considering everyone's well-being and the impact the pandemic is having on the sportfishing industry and our economy."

ICAST joins other high-profile outdoor industry groups in shuttering key 2020 shows, a list that includes the NRA Annual Meetings, the Pope and Young Club Convention, and the International Fly Tackle Dealers show, among others.

But amid all the glum reaction surrounding the official ICAST cancellation, there was a glimmer of good news, too. Because, as the world has found quick ways to continue with business, education, church gatherings, and even birthday parties through various virtual means, ICAST has also made plans to follow suit.


"Despite cancelling our in-person show, we are committed to keeping all of us connected as a global community this July," said Hughes in his news release statement. "As the largest sportfishing industry trade show in the world, we look forward to producing ICAST 2020 Online, our version of a 'virtual trade show,' that will provide a wide variety of tools and a wealth of information that you've come to expect from us. We will share more with you very soon!"

Hughes remained confident that this is merely a temporary detour for the fishing industry as the world weathers the pandemic storm. "There is no doubt that we are in unchartered waters, but we are confident that we will get through this together and stronger than ever!" he stated. "As we always have."

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

Learn more about two new Elite Archery bows, the Enkore and Remedy, two new broadhead from Slick Trick and a new site from Custom Bow Equipment (CBE).

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021 are several hunter-defined products, such as the Excalibur TwinStrike Crossbow, BowTech Solution and Solution SS Bows, TightSpot Pivot 2.5 Quiver, Ripcord Cage and Code Red X arrowrests, and Black Gold Pro FX and Pro Hunter HD sights.

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021, here's a look at the new Rage Trypan NC, Nockturnal Shift Nock, Carbon Express Maxima RED Contour and D-Stroyer PileDRIVER arrows.

New for 2021: Mathews V3 27 & 31 Bows

New for 2021: Mathews V3 27 & 31 Bows

After a fall of testing new 2021 Mathews products on the road as he filmed new episodes for Bowhunter Magazine's television program, editor Curt Wells had an exciting visit with Mark Hayes, Mathews design engineer, as the pair looked at the new V3 27 and V3 31 bows.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

A new long-range hunting contender enters the fray.First Look: Winchester's New 6.8 Western Cartridge SHOT Show

First Look: Winchester's New 6.8 Western Cartridge

Drew Warden - January 19, 2021

A new long-range hunting contender enters the fray.

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers Striper & Hybrid

3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.

11 broadheads new to the expandable-blade market this year — ATA Show.New Expandable Blade Broadheads for 2021 ATA Show

New Expandable Blade Broadheads for 2021

Lynn Burkhead - January 12, 2021

11 broadheads new to the expandable-blade market this year — ATA Show.

See More Trending Articles

More News

With the latest giant weighing in at 151.9 pounds, Oklahoma's Keystone Lake is ground zero for record-size paddlefish.World-Record Paddlefish Déjà Vu - Oklahoma Gives Up Another Weighing 151.9 Pounds Records

World-Record Paddlefish Déjà Vu - Oklahoma Gives Up Another Weighing 151.9 Pounds

Lynn Burkhead - July 24, 2020

With the latest giant weighing in at 151.9 pounds, Oklahoma's Keystone Lake is ground zero for...

In-Fisherman legend, 86, changed the sport of fishing like few others have.Fishing Pioneer, Hall-of-Famer Ron Lindner Passes Away News

Fishing Pioneer, Hall-of-Famer Ron Lindner Passes Away

Lynn Burkhead - December 01, 2020

In-Fisherman legend, 86, changed the sport of fishing like few others have.

In a landmark bipartisan result, the House of Reps passed the bill by a 319-107 vote; President Trump expected to sign into law.Great American Outdoors Act Passed By House Conservation & Politics

Great American Outdoors Act Passed By House

Lynn Burkhead - July 23, 2020

In a landmark bipartisan result, the House of Reps passed the bill by a 319-107 vote;...

Opponents say controversial proposed mine in Bristol Bay region would devastate fisheries.Pressure Mounts to Scuttle Alaska's Pebble Mine Project News

Pressure Mounts to Scuttle Alaska's Pebble Mine Project

Lynn Burkhead - August 20, 2020

Opponents say controversial proposed mine in Bristol Bay region would devastate fisheries.

See More News

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now