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"What happens in Vegas does NOT stay in Vegas - Part 2"

By Jerry White

If you're reading this as a result of following the link on Part 1 of the article, welcome and thank you. You will soon receive a check from Bill Gates, as promised. If you were just browsing the archives and stumbled across this article, I encourage you to check out Part 1 by following the link below. Don't worry, it's linked back to this article, which is linked back to that article, which …

LINK TO 1ST ARTICLE

The first part of the article spoke about the New Product Showcase winners. As I worked on this article, I reviewed the article I wrote about last year's ICAST in Orlando, and I wondered what that year's BEST OF SHOW winner had been doing for the past year since they took home the grand prize. Did they bump it up in to neutral and coast for a year, or did they evolve? They evolved, seriously.

The big winner last year was Hobie, with their Pro Angler kayak. The new product they've been working on since then is the "eVolve", which is a battery operated propeller system, that will fit on any Hobie boat with the Mirage pedal system.

From Hobie's press room:

Hobie Cat, the world-renowned sailboat, fishing boat and kayak company, partnered with German-based Torqeedo to develop this custom-designed system. "We intend to stay ahead of the curve and work with partners like Torqeedo to devise products that enhance kayaking, fishing, and sailing experiences of our customers," stated Doug Skidmore, president of Hobie Cat Company. "The introduction of the Hobie eVolve is our latest such product to bring to market… and there is still a very long list on the drawing board."
OK, we'll be watching. www.hobiecat.com/fishing/index.html

Back to ICAST 2010, more of the offerings, and more quotes.

"Everybody who submitted a product for the competition is a winner because you are helping grow your business," said Jeff Pontius, ASA chairman of the board and president of Zebco Brands. "You are recognizing the importance of new products. You are recognizing the need to invest despite a tough economy."

Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association, who presented the awards, noted that new products are the lifeblood of every industry. "Ours is no exception," said Nussman, saluting the companies who had entered the competition. "And the only things better than new products are exciting new products."

So, let's build on that comment about "exciting new products". In my travels through ICAST 2010 (via web pages, e-mail, phone calls, and text) I discovered that a product doesn't have to be "new" to be new to me. ICAST is an event that puts products young and old in a better light. So, the products I'll be discussing may not be news to you, but they got my attention. Also, these aren't endorsements, because I'm a firm believer in letting rational adults make their own decisions.

RAM MOUNT SYSTEMS:
ww.ram-mount.com/Products/KayakMounts/
Ram sent me several items. 2 of which were rod holders. One shows the ball mounting system that has become synonymous with Ram Mount products. This rod holder has virtually limitless positioning options.

The second rod holder is from their new "Light Speed" line. It has a ratcheting swiveling joint for optimal positioning. The neat trick on this is that by lifting the rod tip up (you know, like when you set the hook) it will disengage the holding mechanism, opening it like a hot dog bun. The mechanism can be locked when you're underway
Ram also sent me a camera mount. This is something I've wanted to have for quite sometime, since I always seem to dabble in photography when the bite slows. Since mounting this on one of my boats, I have had a blast.
 
On my maiden voyage with this camera mount, I had hoped to take a self-portrait while holding a monster fish. Well, I got a decent fish, and I got the picture. Unfortunately most of the picture shows my rod holder. So, if you plan to take those pictures you need to plan a little. But I did manage to take a lot of video. The link below will take you on a 15 minute paddle from the Dunedin Causeway to the backside of Caladesi Island. This was taken 2 weeks ago, and I still enjoy watching it.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=cly3_rcp8QE

RAPALA HARDBAITS:
Contact: David James
952-933-7060
djames@rapalausa.com
website: www.rapala.com/

I can remember as a kid saving my allowance to go buy Rapala lures at a Western Auto, so I've been a fan for virtually a lifetime. Hardbaits made up the bulk of new products at ICAST this year. Of course, Rapala had their new products mixed in as well. Two of those are the "Clackin' Minnow" and the "Clackin' Crank". Rapala sent me a few of these to toss.


Rapala has a myriad of salt water products too - a never ending selection of (my favorite) Skitters that walk/pop/prop, and dozens of other models. I encourage you to get their catalog because it will give you hours of entertainment. The selection is hard to comprehend.

One thing that all hard baits have in common is that at some point, the original hooks must be replaced. ICAST revealed some innovation in this area. Two of those pioneers are Spintech and Maruto. I put them on a couple baits and I can attest to several things. They're well made, they still allow the lure to have the same action as with original equipment hooks, and they are damn sharp!

SPINTECH
info@bassstarbaits.com
website: Spintechhooks.com

Typical trebles have a limited range of motion due to the eyelet that they're attached with. And, there's the possibility that the force imparted on a tight line against a stationary hook could give a fish a chance to shake loose. And how many times have you held a treble hook with your pliers so the fish could flop to freedom? That proves that if the treble is stationary (as it would be if bound up on a lure) the fish could possibly force its way off the hook. The chance of those forces lining up perfectly may be rare, or are they - I don't know, do you? This product removes that variable from the equation.

  

MARUTO SEMI-BARBLESS HOOKS
pam@castaliaoutdoors.com
website: www.castaliaoutdoors.com

I'm a big fan of crimping down the barbs on my trebles, but when a fish comes unbuttoned I always wonder if it was the missing barb, or a flaw in my fishing abilities. These trebles don't have traditional barbs, but still retain some degree of holding power. And, they would be much easier to remove from a landing net or your best buddy's ear.

  

CLICK2KNOT:
website: www.click2knot.com/

I love a good gadget, but only if it works. Here is one for your review. Its purpose is to tie a uni-knot to a lure, hook, or swivel by merely working the handle. I was skeptical, but also hopeful because thanks to the nerve damage in my right hand, tying knots can be a source of frustration at times. Newsflash - it works. You can use up to 20# mono or fluorocarbon (no braid), and it makes a very pretty knot.

Knowing that there would be a learning curve, Click2Knot has several instructional videos available to help folks like me that don't have the time (or patience) for reading instructions. www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjF7jS_DhSc

I use a minimum of 25# leader, which exceeds the specs on this product. However, I do know folks that may find this product very useful. A while back I wrote an article about "Heroes On The Water" which speaks about an organization that gives vets an opportunity to enjoy our sport. Some of those soldiers have forfeited their dexterity so that we may live as we do, so I'm sending the Click2Knot to HOTW's director Jim Dolan so he can give it a click. Hopefully it will be a benefit to those he seeks to help. Did I mention it works? It works.

LONGLINER DOWNRIGGER
website: www.anglerinnovations.com

I live in Florida, so some forms of fishing are very foreign to me. Ice fishing, nope - can't see it. Same goes for deep trolling. Deep water just doesn't happen around here. But the simplicity of this device makes it really fall in line with the simplicity of paddle angling. This product allows you to get your line down in the current like a typical downrigger, only it attaches to your main line. When you get a strike, setting the hook will release the device to slide down your line to a stopper. I put a guitar pick in the picture just to give you an idea of how small this downrigger actually is. For me, I do think I can find a use for it. I routinely fish an area that has some pretty strong tidal flows, but don't fish that specific area because there's no way to keep a bait down where the predatory fish are. Hmmmm ….

BASS FISHING LURES:
I received a number of softbaits and hardbaits that are designed specifically for bass fishing. This is a type of fishing that I have really been wanting to explore. So, in months to come I will be dabbling in that arena, and at that point I'll cover some of these products.

ORION KAYAK SAFETY AND SIGNALING KIT:
mcustomerservice@orionsignals.com
website: www.orionsignals.com/Marine/index.html

In the article I wrote for ICAST 2009, I noted some safety products made specifically for paddlers. This year there was another new entry. I mention safety last so hopefully it will be the first thing you remember, and this product is certainly something worth remembering. As the sport grows so do the number of safety related incidents - large and small. No product can cure stupidity or poor planning. But, should you get in a bind, it's good to have help. Here is help.

    This kit contains:
  • 2 Red aerial signals. Shoots up to 450' high, burns for 7 seconds. Water proof and floats.
  • 1 Orange smoke signal. Burns for 1 minute. Waterproof and floats.
  • 1 Signaling mirror/lanyard.
  • 1 Whistle 116 db at 1 meter.
  • 6" Glowstick. Illuminates for up to 12 hours. Waterproof.
  • 1 58 piece First Aid kit.
All packed it a waterproof ziplock bag that attaches with Velcro. All I did here was hook it to the back of my seat. But it could be fastened to a milk crate, cooler, etc. If you have multiple boats, merely put Velcro where you need to and take it with you. This kit is affordable and portable. You really don't have any excuses not to have something like this on your boat.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE:
Many exhibitors offered to send me samples of their goods for review. Many of them didn't have anything they could send right then because it was tied up at the show. Understood - because you should take care of the people that came in to dine before you handle the folks at the drive-thru. As a result, some of these items won't be in my hands by the time this article is due. So, I'll include reviews of the more notable products in upcoming articles.


See you out on the water …


"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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