"ICAST, Therefore I AM"

By Jerry White

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. At least it did out in Las Vegas last month. That was when the annual ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) show was held (July 13-15). It's the annual convention that allows buyers and sellers of all things fishing to meet, greet, and compete. ICAST 2011 featured 427 exhibitors filling 1,270 booths, with 2,100 buyers and 530 media representatives in attendance. International ICAST attendance continues to increase with 822 attendees from 53 countries represented at the show.

New products are entered by category in consideration for "Best" in numerous categories. Buyers and outdoor journalists place their votes and the results are shown below. Some of the categories don't really apply to us paddle folk, but I've included them because some of you still venture to the dark side on occasion. But most of the categories relate to us in some way. This show is always interesting to me because better gear can often help us overcome the limitation posed by the amount of water we can't cover in an outing. Better line, longer casts, less cockpit clutter, sharper hooks, all add up in our favor.

Go get something to drink and take off your shoes - get comfy. There is a lot of info coming at you in this issue, so let's get right down to business and on to the category winners.

ICAST 2011 Best of Show Award WINNERS
Abu Garcia Revo MGX by Pure Fishing, Inc.

Category: Freshwater Reel
Winner: Abu Garcia Revo MGX by Pure Fishing, Inc.
Contact: Hunter Cole
website: www.purefishing.com

The next generation of the REVOlution continues with the 5.4 ounce Revo® MGX. The combination of an enhanced compact design with our ground-breaking X-Mag™ alloy frame and C6 carbon sideplates produce the evolution of ultra-lightweight low profile reel technology.

More than mere lightweight design, the Revo MGX features a unique Infinitely Variable Centrifugal Brake (IVCB-IV™) that sets the standard for cast control in all other reels. With 28 positions of external adjustment, the one of a kind design allows fine tuning on the water without removing the sideplate. Additionally, the IVCB-IV system allows anglers to cast extremely lightweight baits, something other baitcaster reels struggle with.

This looks like an engineering marvel.

Casting Game & Sound Fishing Kit by Pure Fishing, Inc. Category: Kids' Tackle
Winner: Casting Game & Sound Fishing Kit by Pure Fishing, Inc.
Contact: Hunter Cole
website: www.purefishing.com

Sebile D&S Crank by Pure Fishing, Inc. Category: Hard Lure
Winner: Sebile D&S Crank by Pure Fishing, Inc.
Contact: Hunter Cole
website: www.purefishing.com

Best idea since "hey, let's put the toilet INSIDE the house".
I'd love to see this theory applied to shallow running baits, and of course, offered in saltwater colors.

  • Unique patent pending design, Gravity Snagless Hook System, allows the hook to pivot on an internal pin creating a snagless crankbait
  • When retrieved the hook point remains inline with the bait's flattened tail due to Earth's natural attraction until a fish strikes the bait and the hook goes upward freeing the point to penetrate the mouth. The pivoting hook and tail on the body act to lock the fish's lip in place until the angler grabs the fish. The fish can easily be released by pressing the bait downward and pushing the hook out the area of penetration.
  • Body cross section is uniquely designed to maximize buoyancy in the front of the bait thus optimizing dive depth.
  • High pitch rattles are positioned in the tail to create maximum clatter in their respective tracks.

Frabill Suit by Frabill, Inc. Category: Apparel
Winner: Frabill Suit by Frabill, Inc.
Contact: Jeff Kolodzinski
website: www.frabill.com

I have to tip my hat to those that venture out in weather that might require a suit like this. However, if you think that things could turn ugly, this could truly be a lifesaver.

10 Ft Power-Pole Blade Edition by JL Marine Systems, Inc. Category: Boating Accessory
Winner: 10 Ft Power-Pole Blade Edition by JL Marine Systems, Inc.
Contact: Robert Shamblin
website: www.power-pole.com

The Signature Series Blade Edition is the first Power-Pole available in a 10-foot depth, so anglers can go farther and anchor deeper for the ultimate catch. Choose from four colors, black, white, blue or red, all in our famous 5-layer American Marine powder coated finish for long lasting beauty and durability.

The Signature Series Blade Edition standard features at a glance:

  • Includes wireless remote control
  • Installs in about an hour on most boats
  • New aerodynamic pocket design locks and holds Everflex™ spike in upright position
  • 5-layer American Marine powder coated finish
  • All stainless & brass hardware (free of electrolysis)
  • All new heavy-duty bronze bearings for smooth and quiet performance
  • 5-Year Warranty on all hardware / 2-Year Warranty on all electrical and hydraulics / Lifetime Warranty on Everflex spike

Daiwa D-Shock DSH-4Bi Combo by Daiwa Corporation Category: Combo
Winner: Daiwa D-Shock DSH-4Bi Combo by Daiwa Corporation
Contact: Bill Liston
website: www.daiwa.com

Hummingbird 1158c DI Combo Category: Electronics
Winner: Hummingbird 1158c DI Combo by Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics
Contact: Steve Roth
website: www.johnsonoutdoors.com/

Category: Eyewear
Winner: Costa Women's Collection by Costa
Contact: Liza Jones
website: www.costadelmar.com

Fashion meets fishin'. It's not a typo …

Category: Fishing Accessory
Winner: P-Line Sparrowhawk by G. Pucci & Sons, Inc.
Contact: Stefano Pucci
website: www.p-line.com

The SparrowHawk, at a feather-light weight of 2.1 ounces and a compact size of just over 5 inches, will nest into your favorite fishing vest or fit comfortably on your belt. Don't let the SparrowHawk's small size fool you, it's made of machine cut aluminum, and has a mean set of tungsten carbide cutters which slice through braided line with ease. The cutters are replaceable, and the tool comes with a nylon pouch and lanyard. The suggested retail on this product is $29.99.

I like the notion of the replaceable jaws and the angle of the bite. Even when you bend down the barbs on your hooks they can still be tough to extract. It's easier on the fish if you can get the hook out on the first attempt and I think these pliers will help ensure that.

Category: Fly Fishing Accessory
Winner: DriftPac by VestPac
Contact: Paul Cherry
paul@vestpac.com website: www.vestpac.com

Category: Fly Fishing Reel
Winner: BVK Fly Reel by Temple Fork Outfitters
Contact: Jim Shulin
website: www.templeforkflyrods.com

I got the chance to demo one of these and it is nice, nice, nice. I'm not a fly guy (yet), but this reel certainly makes me want to be. My very first guitar was a Gibson SG Standard. If you're gonna start, might as well start at the top.

BVK reels are precision machined from bar stock aluminum. The clear silver anodized frames and spools are ported to eliminate excess weight. Equally at home in both fresh and salt waters, the super large arbor design provides faster line pick up and helps the maintenance free drag system work at a more constant pressure that standard arbor reels. Delrin/Stainless stacked discs make the drag silky smooth and the one way clutch bearing makes engagement instant and left to right hand conversion simple.

Category: Rods

  • Fly Fishing Rod - Pro4x by G. Loomis, Inc.
  • Freshwater Rod - GL2 by G. Loomis, Inc.
    website: www.gloomis.com

  • Saltwater Rod - Terez Rail Rod by Shimano American Corporation
    website: www.fish.shimano.com/
Contact: John Mazurkiewicz

Category: Giftware
Winner: 3D "Exploring Smallmouth" Picture by 3D Picture Store, Inc.
Contact: Jason Garstecki

website: www.3dpicturestore.com

I saw one of these and it looks about 2 feet deep - very impressive. We just need to see a picture of a striped bass chasing bunker or a snook under the mangroves.

Category: Soft Lure
Winner: Live Target Hollow body mouse by Koppers Fishing & Tackle Corporation

Contact: Tom Chopin
website: www.livetargetlures.com

So, how does one work a floating mouse? Easy, like a hollow frog over lilly pads or out in open water like a Zara Spook (so I'm told). Can you imagine the sort of monster bass that would see this and say "dinner is done". It would be incredible to be on the other end of *that* line - mayhem.

Category: Saltwater Reel
Winner: Saltiga SATG5000H by Daiwa Corporation
Contact: Bill Liston
website: www.daiwa.com

Every year there are a lot of new reels brought to market. And none at ICAST are junk. So for this reel to rank #1 means it's quite a machine. Here's what Diawa had to say - and it's worth reading: Because one of the points most susceptible to saltwater intrusion on spinning reels is at the rotor bearing, Daiwa borrowed a trick from NASA fuel delivery technology. Magnetic oil, one of a new generation of Nano Fluids, can change its shape when a magnetic field is applied. Controlled by magnets in the reel's rotor bearing area, it forms a seal between the reel body and the rotor to prevent saltwater, dust and grit from intruding into the rotor bearing and body. The result is a water-tight seal called Mag Seal with much lower friction than common rubber type seals.

Another key adaptation of technology is the new Air Rotor™ design featuring corrosion-proof "Zaion" carbon construction. The re-engineered design spreads stress more evenly throughout the rotor eliminating high-stress points while eliminating excess material not required for strength. The result is a strong, lightweight and corrosion-proof rotor. Its reduced weight lets it turn almost effortlessly for a smooth, fluid feel and increased sensitivity.

The five new sizes of Saltiga spinning reels cover just about any saltwater spinning need. Normal MSRP for the new reels ranges from $1,099.95 to $1,299.95.

    Features Include:
  • Mag Sealed to keep saltwater out
  • Air Rotor™ of corrosion-proof Zaion carbon material for lightweight strength and sensitivity - - shifts balance rearward for comfort
  • Automatic rotor brake keeps rotor stationary when bail is open
  • Lightweight Aluminum spool with carbon accents. Hard stainless lip is Titanium Nitrided to be virtually cut proof.
  • Waterproof UT Carbon Drag, ultra smooth and fade free with up to 66 pounds of drag max
  • Smooth, 14 ball bearing drive including 4 CRBB corrosion resistant ball bearings
  • Sealed, two ball bearing line roller
  • Dual, full-time infinite anti-reverse
  • Air Bail™ - tubular stainless for lightweight strength
  • Manual bail trip for maximum reliability
  • Digigear™ digitally designed and cut gearing - ultra smooth, ultra powerful and ultra durable
  • Rigid aluminum body
  • Machined aluminum handle arm with lightened, two-piece machined knob

Category: Tackle Management
Winner: 4674 Hydro-Flo Tackle Bag by Plano Molding Company
Contact: Sean Wheatley
website: www.planomolding.com

If you fish and carry any gear at all, then you're already familiar with Plano. So here it is, all under one roof. This bag would fit nicely in the tankwell too.

  • Includes five 3700 Series and two 3600 Series ProLatch™ StowAway® boxes
  • Hydro-Flo™ impact and skid-resistant base
  • Two padded pockets for sunglasses or other valuables
  • Favorite baits top access utility storage compartment
  • Cavernous easy-access, dual-compartment side pockets with lift handles
  • Clear zippered pocket under top cover
  • Expandable elastic corded pocket on back
  • Elastic tie-down straps on top
  • 24"L x 13.5"W x 13.5"H

Category: Terminal Tackle
Winner: Spinshot by VMC
Contact: Jackie Kiklas
website: www.vmchooks.com

I received some of these in a media kit before the show. I know nothing about drop-shot techniques for largemouth bass. But, as we all do, I found a way to repurpose something to meet my needs. These hooks are crazy sharp, so be careful when you tie them on - if you're touched, you're stuck. But as my field testing proved, the same goes for fish. No Bill Dance hookset required. Feel the bite, tighten the line, reel the fish in. In my waters, we have a wary/tasty creature called a Sheepshead that feeds heavily in the colder months. The mechanics of this hook (and technique used) will be bad news to my striped friends in my backyard.

ICAST 2011 Overall "Best of Show" and "Best of Show - Line"
Berkley Nanofil by Pure Fishing, Inc.
Contact: Hunter Cole
website: www.purefishing.com

Not a Mono. Not a Braid. The Next Generation of Fishing line. NanoFil is made out of gel-spun polyethylene, much like a superline. This ultimate spinning reel fishing line consists of hundreds of Dyneema® nanofilaments that are molecularly linked and shaped into a unified filament fishing line. Dyneema, The World's Strongest Fiber™, gives this line superline type strength and our uni-filament process makes it feel and handle like a smooth monofilament

Colors: Clear Mist
Pound Tests: *1, *2, *3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12
Spools: 150yd, 300yd, 1500yd

The online video is pretty interesting. I will definitely seek this out. With all the new lines that come out all through the year, for one to win the category prize and big prize is pretty special.

Best of Show - Boat - Hobie Mirage Revolution 11 by Hobie
Contact: Ingrid Niehaus
website: www.hobiecat.com

Finally, something just for the paddlers...

Here's a story about Goldilocks and the 3 boats. A few years ago my neurosurgeon gave me "that look" when I told him I was a paddler, so I set out to buy a Hobie, and spare what's left of this degenerating spine. I demo'd the Outback and the Revolution, with standard and turbo fins. The Outback was a pure fishing machine. Nimble, roomy, and lots places to mount things. But alas, it wasn't as fast as the Revolution. The Revolution was fast, tracked great, had enough rod holders and storage, but certainly didn't maneuver as easily as the Outback due to its length. I opted for the Revolution because speed is addictive, and it's been a great choice. So when Ingrid shared the specs and press release pics of the Revo 11, I was pumped. I do believe this fairy tale now has a happy ending. This boat appears to be *just right*.

Here are some specs and pictures:

  • Length: 11' 6"
  • Width: 29"
  • Hull Weight: 47 lbs.
  • MirageDrive Weight: 6.6 lbs.
  • Capacity: 300 lbs.
Additional Standard Features:
Oversized forward hatch. Two eight-inch Twist and Seal hatches. Two mesh-covered stowage pockets. Two-piece paddle with fiberglass shaft, On-deck receptacle with cap for optional accessories post or sail mast, dive flag, or nav-anchor light. Deluxe padded seatback with lumbar support. Two molded-in mid-boat carrying grips. Gear bucket.

MSRP: USD $1749

Congratulations to all of the category winners!

In 2012, ICAST will be held at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla., from July 11-13, 2012.
ICAST 2013 will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev., from July 10-12, 2013. My calendar is marked and hopefully I can be there in person this time.

As with last year, paddling.net allowed me to continue the reviews, including items that were sent to me during the ICAST season. Some of these just showed up at my doorstep, others were items I inquired about. This is just the tip of the iceberg concerning innovative new products revealed at ICAST each year. So, let's run with what I have - enjoy!

Follow THIS LINK to get to the rest of the article.

"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after"
~ Henry David Thoreau

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