"What happens in Vegas does NOT stay in Vegas - Part 1"
By Jerry White
The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) had their annual bash in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago. Over 7,000 representatives from the sportfishing industry, including more than 2,000 buyers and over 500 media representatives, were gathered to see the latest innovations in tackle, gear and apparel and network with the global sportfishing community. The sportfishing industry's premier trade event is produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the industry's trade association, which is headquartered in Alexandria, VA.
This year, the 53rd year of ICAST, the New Product Showcase, the tradeshow's flagship event, was more competitive than ever. Sponsored by Fishing Tackle Retailer, produced by ESPN Outdoors/BASS, 210 exhibiting companies entered 750 tackle products and accessories into the New Product Showcase. The product category with the most product submissions was the hard lure category.
Buyers and sellers - handshakes and business cards - anglers and angles. With that many fishermen under the same roof you probably needed to wear hip waders to navigate all the "bs" that was surely being tossed around. But seriously, there are over 60 million anglers in the US, so this is big business. ICAST works to sell it, ASA works to keep fisheries open and available for all of us to enjoy.
Last year when the event was in Orlando, I was also unemployed. So, that made it pretty easy to drive a couple hours and witness the event. This year, thankfully I'm working, but sadly I couldn't pull off the trip. As was the case last year, ASA/ICAST provided a list of websites of the exhibitors, and in order to provide you with the best information possible I visited each and every one of them - around 400. I sent e-mails to those that had a product/service that I felt would be paddle worthy. As the show got closer, the exhibitors started sending out product e-mails to all the media folks with news of their line of products, and items that would be featured in Vegas. As a result, my Blackberry was been blinking steady for a number of weeks - lots of information coming in.
There was so much information that one article simply won't begin to cover it all. So, this article will be split in to two segments. This article will concentrate on the winners in the "New Product Showcase". The supplemental article will focus on products that were either sent to me for review, or were something that caught my attention and I felt needed to be shared.
750 new products, in a number of categories, were taken into consideration for the New Product Showcase. Buyers and media cast the votes, and unlike what you would see on a reality TV show, here are the results, without a pause for a block of commercials.
ICAST 2010 New Product Showcase award WINNERS
Winner: FXE Stormsuit by Frabill, Inc.
Contact: Noel Vick
Traditions Media: 612-708-7339
Winner: C400/XC704 Fishouflage Bass by Ardent/Lamiglas
Contact: Michael Brook
A guy in my neighborhood has a Dodge truck that has been painted in a camo pattern. I'm not talking about a 3-color paint job done by a bunch of buddies under an oak tree. I'm talking bumper to bumper camo art. However, he also has chrome rims and a wicked sounding exhaust system. What this says to me is, "Look at me - I'm camo!" which defeats the primary purpose of camouflage. But I encourage you to head to the website and check this out - the pattern is impressive. And keep in mind that this entry won the "combo" category, which means that the reel must be top notch as well. Bottom line - it's not just another pretty face.
Winner: Lowrance Elite-5 DSI by Lowrance-Navico
Contact: Andrew Golden
Yes, this little unit would work nicely on one of our boats.
Winner: Guy Harvey Collection by Maui Jim Sunglasses
Contact: Cathi Volante
If it has to do with fishing, you simply can't go wrong with Guy Harvey graphics. I'm sure these would perform well as sunglasses, but they'd also perform well at the tiki bar after the fishing tournament.
Category: Fishing Accessory
Winner: EGO S2 Slider Landing Net by Adventure Products, Inc.
Contact: Grant Corbett
This is a slick product for the paddling community. Check out the website for the video, but the handle extends to get the fish, then retracts to save space. For our needs, this truly is a winner.
Winner: Fishfenders by Boating Expressions, Inc.
Contact: Gene Rascow
This is what you give an angler that has everything - be they ain't got any of these. Boat fenders fit inside these and hang over the side. So when you're at dock it looks like you have a huge catch hanging over the side.
Category: Kids Tackle
Winner: Pflueger-Spinning Combo-Apprentice by Pure Fishing
Contact: Ron Giudice
Blue Heron Communications - 405-740-2740
The rod handle on this rig definitely makes it look all grown up.
Winner: Sufix 832 Advanced Superline by Rapala
Contact: David James
I had an opportunity to spool up a reel with some of this. For braid, it definitely isn't as stiff as new spools of other braids I've tried. Tying line to leader was easier too because it really does feel slick. I haven't had any decent weather to cast this stuff yet, but looks to be some pretty good stuff.
Category: Soft Lure
Winner: Live Target Hollow Body Frog by Koppers Fishing & Tackle Corporation
Contact - Tom Chopin - 905-327-9095
When I was at ICAST last year, I learned one thing. Frog lures rule the world. In my saltwater biased view, I never had any idea that bass had such a taste for frog legs (not to mention frog heads and torsos). I also discovered that there are a LOT of soft lure manufacturers out there. So for this product to be chosen winner over all the other products in this category, it must have a little "S" on its chest, and come with an optional cape. SuperFrog indeed.
Category: Hard Lure
Winner: Waxwing Sub-Surface Swimming Jig by Shimano American Corporation
Hard baits made up the lions share of new products this year. I'm not surprised, because hard baits make up the lions share of products in my tackle trays too. This thing doesn't look like your typical hard bait, does it? I like the notion of the double hook rather than a treble hook. As shallow as I like to fish, I can already tell that it would spare me some grief. I will definitely be looking to check this lure out.
Winner: Talon-Shallow Water Anchor by Minn Kota-Johnson Outdoors, Inc.
Contact: Steve Roth, Swanson Russell
Yeah, can't really use a PVC stake out pole with a bass boat, can ya?
Category: Freshwater Reel
Winner: Stella FE by Shimano American Corporation
Yeah, Shimano again. They took top honors in several categories, so you'll see this contact info a lot.
Category: Saltwater Reel
Winner: Trinidad A by Shimano American Corporation
Category: Saltwater Rod
Winner: Terez by Shimano American Corporation
Category: Tackle Management
Winner: Openwater Tackle Backpack by HYI, Inc.
Contact: Adrian Dare - 714-604-8376
Even though I try my best to limit my tackle selection for the day, I always end up taking the store with me. One thing that I do enjoy is getting out of the kayak and hitting the shoreline or wading. This is a neat trick. It's a well thought out tackle backpack, which enables you to get where you're and fish... hands free. They have a number of tackle storage/transportation options, many of which would work well for us.
Category: Terminal Tackle
Winner: Soft Weight System by Sebile Innovative Fishing
Contact: Russell Gray - 325-437-8103
I bet there are a number of hook companies that have pulled hamstrings as a result of this winner. Yeah, you can get a pulled hamstring from kicking yourself in the, uh, wallet. But this is so simple... unhook the softbait, slide on the weight, rehook the bait, fish. Brilliant.
I like watching dog shows on TV. Not as much as I like watching Mecums auto actions, but that's not the point. At the dog show, they have a best of breed winner in each category, similar to the entries we just discussed. Then they close the show with the BEST OF SHOW. ICAST is no different, well aside from running products around in a circle. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:
The BEST OF SHOW / ICAST 2010
Category: Freshwater Rod and OVERALL BEST OF SHOW
Winner: NRX by G.Loomis
I have a Custom Shop Fender Stratocaster. I paid a lot for it. I also put a tiny scratch on it the day I got it because I knew I was going to be using it a lot, because it wasn't made to stay in the case. I soon discovered that a very very nice instrument such as this makes you practice more, and as a result my skills got more developed. It played so nice that I was able to do things I couldn't do with my other guitars. Subtle things, but they still made me a better player. It sounded good, which made me want to hear it more. I draw a parallel between G. Loomis and my Strat because in some ways, the comparison is apples and apples. G. Loomis is pricey, no doubt. But in order for this series of rods to not only win "Best New Product" in the freshwater rod category AND to win "Overall Best of SHOW", then in my estimation, quality won out over price point. I've never owned a Loomis, but a buddy of mine has let me use a saltwater spinning model a couple of times, and there is definitely a little something extra going on there. So, here are some shots of the NRX series, but the true test for you will be a demo at your local tackle joint.
PS - I don't keep my Strat in a case, I hang it on the way so it's ready to be played when I get the notion. Same goes for a rod of this caliber- keep it ready to go, and GO.
NOTE: Many of the products seen in the New Product Showcase are either in short supply or not available to the public yet. So, if you're interested in them, contact the companies and find out who will be carrying them and when they will be available.
This concludes the first segment of this article. If this were an infomercial, this would be the part where the annoying announcer would say "... but wait, if you order now, you can get another item for free... that's right, 2 for the price of one..." This is that segment, and I won't even charge you for shipping and handling... but it *is* only available to the first 100,000 customers...
Please 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