ICAST show in Las Vegas is that I never got the opportunity to give the International Fly Tackle Dealers show a decent look. For the first time ever, the two shows shared dates and a single convention center floor, and buying or media credentials for one got you in to the other. I never attended the fly show when it was a separate event in Denver because I don't do enough fly-fishing writing to justify the travel cost (and maybe to be granted media credentials). However, I do write enough about fly-fishing and fly tackle that I was excited about the opportunity to roam the show and meet more folks on the fly side while I was already right there.
Good idea. Poor planning.
When I booked my travel, I chose a flight that left Las Vegas mid-afternoon on Friday, which was the final day of the show. That gave me two full days, plus a few hours on Friday, to walk the floor. That has been enough time in the past. Between appointments with tackle manufacturers I always want to visit and a couple of major editorial projects, which were my top priority, I simply ran out of time this year. Beyond visiting as single booth by invitation, my entire time at the IFTD show totaled about 10 minutes, right before I packed up to start toward the airport. Basically, I walked the aisles and looked left and right to see what I was missing. It wasn't that I didn't keep busy. I spent every open show hour walking the floor, looking and visiting. I simply ran out of hours.
I do hope that the merged show format worked well for ICAST and IFTD and that they'll be back together next year. The next few ICAST shows are in Orlando, which means I can drive there, so I'll have more liberty with time. Were it back in Vegas, though, I'd either book a Friday redeye or stay Friday night so I could attend the whole show. I feel like I missed the boat -- the drift boat, so to speak -- by running out of time and missing the chance to learn more about the fly fishing industry and to meet more folks on that side of the business. Even 10 minutes on the IFTD floor was enough to make it clear that I was missing a lot of good stuff.