With the advent of our boats.com fishing series Got Bait? we figured it made sense to attend ICAST this year, since it’s the world’s largest sportfishing trade show. And boy are we ever glad we did—not just because we met so many people who were excited about the series, but also because we discovered a whole crop of new and über-awesome fishing gear. Here are our top 10 picks from the show.
1. Eddyline C135 Yakattack – This fishing kayak was the winner of the “Best of Show” award, but that’s not why it’s on our list. Yes, it’s lighter than regular roto-molded fishing yaks (this one’s extruded plastic laminate). Sure, it has track-mounted gadgets and gizmos galore. But what really grabbed us was the price: $2,200 for the yak and $2,600 for one that’s rigged to the teeth with every fishing option you can imagine. While that may sound like a lot for a fishing kayak, remember that some of the top-selling fishing models have fewer features, weigh more, and currently top $3,500. Check it out by visiting Eddyline.
2. Maxcuatro – PowerPro was showing off a new braid fishing line, and the big news here is that it’s 25 to 30 percent thinner than last year’s braid. Where your spool used to hold 300 yards, it’ll now hold more like 400 yards. Plus, thinner diameter means less water resistance and easier casting. Get the scoop by clicking over to PowerPro.
3. YOLOtek PowerStick – Sick and tired of your cell phone running out of juice? You say you don’t have a power port on your boat? The PowerStick plugs into a regular boat running light mount, sucks out the juice, and feeds it to your cell phone. Added bonus: it also holds your phone in place, so you can use it for shooting video on your boat. Nifty thinking, YOLOtek! Those who are interested can learn more on the YOLOtek web site.
4. Plano A Series – If you need a seriously large tacklebox that’s built to take serious abuse, the new A series is the ticket. I loved the A Series Duffel, which was large enough to hold a half-dozen different sized boxes plus had several side pockets and bulk stowage areas. To learn more, visit Plano.
5. Grundens – This one’s sort of a sneak-peek. If you keep an eye on foul weather gear you’ve surely seen the Gage series, a recreational line manufactured by Grundens. Well, next year they have an entire new line of Grundens coming out for recreational anglers. We got to handle the prototypes and loved what we saw, but the different styles and types are too numerous to outline in an article like this. So stay tuned—there will be a new universe of Grundens to choose from at the 2016 Miami Boat Show. Meanwhile you can keep up to date on developments at the Grundens website.
6. Cuda Micro Scissors – A while back we called out Cuda pliers as one of the Top 10 New Inexpensive Boating Goodies of 2015. Now we’re calling out this manufacturer again, this time for their Micro Scissors. This is one of those simple, inexpensive ($5.74) products that’s worth a million bucks to a serious angler. The Micro is titanium-bonded, comes with a lifetime warranty, and has blades that are micro-serrated to chop through braid fishing line. Here’s the kicker: the handles have extra-large rubberized-coated loops, unlike those found on most mini-scissors, so you can actually get your thumb and finger in and out without getting a knuckle stuck. Check ‘em out at Cuda.
7. Ryple Bug Hatch Forecast – I can’t say if this really works or not since I just learned about it on the convention center floor, but the Ryple Bug Hatch Forecast is so different from anything I’ve ever seen that it certainly made my eyebrows rise. With data on barometric data, water levels, and tidal influences, the folks at the Fishidy website and mobile app say they can predict when those pesky bugs are going to hatch at over 8,000 individual rivers and streams across the US. And, of course, fish like trout love eating those pesky bugs, so a big hatch means a strong bite. Visit Fishidy to learn more.
8. Sunsect – It’s a pain in the butt to put on sunscreen, and it’s another pain in the butt to put on insect repellent. Why not combine the two, and reduce the pain in the butt factor by half? That’s what the folks at Sunsect did. It’s a great idea for those of us who fish in bug-infested areas, though one note of caution is required: DEET, the active ingredient in this (and most other) bug repellents, also repels fish. So if you use this stuff, be careful not to get it on your bait or lures. That said, check out Sunsect to learn more.
9. Eposeidon KastKing – There’s nothing worse than fumbling between your rod and your paddle, dropping the rod over the side of your kayak, and watching it sink to the bottom. Well, okay—rolling the kayak and losing your rod along with the rest of your gear is worse. But either way you’d still have the rod, if you had a KastKing. These folks have added a leash ring to the bottom of the butt, so you can attach your rod to a rail or eye on the kayak. Smart. For more info, visit Eposeidon.
10. Fishing Physics – The soft baits made by Fishing Physics look like plastics—but they’re not. Instead, these lures are formed from water-based hydrogels that naturally absorb fish-attracting solutions. What sort of solutions? How about pureed squid, liquefied herring, and squished salmon eggs. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? And the hydrogel slowly releases the scent-riddled solutions, as you fish. This stuff is so new I haven’t been fishing with it yet, but stay tuned for a product review. The Fishing Physics folks said they’d send me some samples to try out, and I’ll report back on my experiences asap. I did, however, convince them to break open a few jars of their “solution” at the show, and I can promise you one thing: the squid flavor really does smell like raw squid, and the herring really does smell like herring. Check this stuff out at Fishing Physics.