The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show (ICAST) is the largest fishing tackle show in the world—and the 2017 show was the biggest ever. This was the 60th anniversary of ICAST and the American Sportfishing Association pulled no punches in organizing it. Close to 600 exhibitors covered almost 200,000 square feet of convention center floor, and attendees came from 73 countries. So, what did we see, that we think will be of interest to you boats.com readers? These top 10 picks are sure to feed your angling addiction.
Is it a stand-up paddleboard, a one-man outboard-powered fishing mini-mite, or a kayak angler’s dream-machine? Yes, yes, and yes. The Bote Rover incorporates the traits of all these craft, along with high-tech honeycomb-cored epoxy fiberglass construction. It weighs in at 105 pounds so it won’t be ideal for long-distance paddlers, but with a hull draft of three inches and that little eggbeater providing the propulsion, that won’t deter many shoal water anglers. In fact, the press was so enamored with the BOTE Rover they gave it the ICAST Best of Show award. Price: $3,500. Visit BOTE for more info.
Cuda Gear Nets
A net is a net is a net, right? Wrong—at least, according to the folks at Cuda Gear, and after playing with their new line of landing nets we have to agree. These nets have a fish-safe rubberized mesh that un-zips from around the aluminum hoop for easy replacement. They also have a nifty notch that secures the mesh, and keeps it from flopping around and snagging things when you’re running. Price varies depending on size; $35 to $115. Get the (ahem) scoop at Cuda.
Engle PRYM1 Backpack Cooler
Premium cooler maker Engle has entered the world of soft-sided backpack coolers, with the PRMY1. The nifty color-camo finish is great, but even more attractive is the tear-resistant 500-denier polyester diamond rip-stop outer shell (with a waterproof TPE coating), the interior radiant barrier liner of reflective foil, and the inch-thick layer of closed-cell foam insulation. Capacity is 24 cans and 20 pounds of ice. According to Engel the PRYM1 Backpack Cooler will hold ice for three days straight. Cost is $130, and you can head over to Engel Coolers to find out more.
If you love marine electronic as much as we do (read Hot New Marine Electronics for 2017 to learn about the latest and greatest entries of the year thus far), you look forward to surprise mid-year introductions like the Solix. This new MFD won the award for Best New Electronics at the show, and it features perks like Bluetooth connectivity, down- and side-imaging, and NMEA2000 compatibility. Better yet, these units can help you create your own bathymetric charts with a system they call Autochart Live (similar to Navionic’s croud-sourced charting and Lowrance’s Insight Genesis, which we first told you about in the article, Chart Transplant). Twelve and 15-inch models are available, at costs ranging from $2,899 to $3,499. Visit Humminbird to get the company line.
Penn International VI
Penn Reels has been making their International series for a long, long time, but the sixth-generation International VI is the latest and greatest. Most importantly, Penn has shaved weight off of every International model (ranging from three to 13 ounces) without cutting into toughness, nor line capacity. They also claim stronger drags and smoother freespool functions, though we note that past generations were already so smooth we’re not sure we could feel a difference. Added bonus: the International are still American-built, in Penn’s Philadelphia PA plant. Prices range quite a bit depending on size, from $500 to $1,299. Visit Penn Fishing to learn more.
Pflueger Supreme QRS
This new fly fishing reel from Pflueger won Best In Show for New Fly Fishing Reels, thanks to a cassette spool system called the “Quick Release Reel”. This allows you to pop out one spool and clip in another, to change lines in a lightning-fast manner. The reel frame is aluminum, and cassettes are polycarbonate. Three sizes are available ranging from a 2/3/4/5 to a 9/10/11/12. All have a 1:1 gear ratio, and all share the $150 price tag. For more details, check out Pflueger Fishing.
Savage Gear 3D Topwater Bat
In the “How Bizarre is That?” category we find the Savage Gear 3D Topwater Bat lure—which won a prize for being the Best Freshwater Hard Lure of the show. Yes, this thing really does look like a bat. More importantly, it creates quite a commotion with its flapping wings during retrieves, attracting in predator fish from afar. It might not screech when you cast it, but if you tie a 3D Bat on your buddies’ line when he’s not looking you will hear a scream. Price: $15 for the four-inch version, $20 for the five-inch version. Visit Savage Gear to learn more.
Editor’s Note: The guys at Savage Gear are on a roll. Last year, they took top honors in our Three Crazy Fishing Lures of 2016 article, with their 3D Suicide Duck.
Shimano Curado K
The Shimano Curado K reel isn’t a new model line, but these low-profile baitcasters have been vastly improved-upon as compared to the 2016 models. They’ve shaved about 10-percent of the reel’s weight and size, but without giving one inch on line capacity (230 yards of 30 pound braid). The brake design also got a boost, with adjustable internal brakes and a wider adjusting external dial. Cost: $180. Visit Shimano for more info.
Steinhauser Tangle Free Pocket Combo
If you fished when you were a kid you remember those old closed-face reels, and you remember the tangles they created. You also remember the collapsible pocket-rods you could tuck into a pocket when you rode your bike to the lake. Steinhauser has the best of both in its new Tangle Free Pocket Combo, while claiming to have eliminated the problem of constant tangles. We couldn’t take one fishing in the convention center so we can’t vouch for their assertion, but utilizing a through-blank line system instead of the usual guides and eyes should certainly help. And at 18” collapsed (30” extended) it definitely is pocket-sized. Cost: $28. Visit Steinhauser Fishing to get more info.
Yo-Zuri Hydro Minnow LC
The LC is the latest addition of Yo-Zuri’s Hydro Minnow line-up, and it’s one that many of us will soon be casting. With an internal weight-transfer system that shifts the lure’s ballast aft as you toss it, the LC flies farther and isn’t perturbed by a head-wind. It also features oversized eyes, stainless-steel hardware, and 3X treble hooks. These lures dive to a depth of one to three feet, have a tight wiggle action, are available in 6” and 6.75” versions, and come in 10 different polycarbonate finishes. Cost is around $10. To find out more, visit Yo-Zuri.