The latest and the greatest from ICAST, the largest fishing tackle show in the world.
Fishing tackle manufacturers, tackle shop owners, and outdoors media from all around the globe annually gather at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) show, the world's largest fishing tackle convention. At least, that was the case up until summer 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced ICAST to go virtual. Everyone did their best to make the digital format work, but the consensus was undeniable: The fish-heads wanted their real, live, in-person ICAST back ... ASAP. This past summer it happened, with tens of thousands of angling addicts flocking to Orlando, Florida, for the big event. Naturally, we were on site to get the scoop. Here are our top 10 picks from the coolest new fishing goodies and gizmos introduced.
In areas where sharks commonly attack fish on the line, those toothy critters can absolutely ruin a day of fishing. Sharkbanz, which makes shark-repelling accoutrements for divers and swimmers, won the Best Terminal Tackle category with its new Zeppelin. This little gem uses magnetic magic to overwhelm the shark's electroreceptors. When rigged 18 to 36 inches from your bait, it'll keep those sharks from becoming a hassle. $75 | Sharkbanz.com
We love Frabill's new Conservation Ultralight Net, which won Best New Boating Accessory, because serious anglers need to take responsibility for carefully handling the catch when they plan to release it. These nets have fish-friendly, knotless dipped micro-mesh that won't scrape away fishes' protective slime coating, and a linear bottom to support the fish's weight. Added bonus: The coated mesh also reduces tangles with hooks. The hoop is 18 by 21 inches, depth is 16 inches, handle length is 48 inches. $129.99 | Frabill.com
See Clearly Now
You say you wish you could watch the fish in real time? Humminbird makes it happen with its new MEGA Live Imaging, which won the award for Best New Electronics. Unlike other real-time fishfinder views, this one gets Humminbird's megahertz range imaging detail and clarity and can be used in down, forward, or landscape modes. With the transducer mounted on your bow-mount electric trolling motor, you can enjoy MEGA Live with Apex or Solix models. Helix 8-13 G3N and 7-15 G4N are also compatible if a MEGA SI or DI module is networked in. $1,499.99 | Hummingbird.com
Twister tails can be effective, but try fishing them when toothy fish like blues or mackerel are around, and they'll eat your tails off in no time. Unless, that is, you're casting one of ZMan's new DoormatadorZ. These 5- and 6-inch twisters (available in eight different color patterns) are made with tooth-proof ElaZtech plastic, and they're also infused with ProCure Flounder Pounder Super Gel Scent. Rig 'em on a bucktail or a Fluke Killer to catch those doormat flatfish. $4.99/3- or 4-pack | Zmanfishing.com
A Fine Line
There are hordes of new anglers hitting the water these days, so line-maker Seaguar decided to get back to basics with Basix. Net result? The company won the Best New Line award. This fluorocarbon mainline is soft and smooth for easy castability and knotting while being priced far lower than some fluorocarbon mainlines — even though it's still made from 100% Seaguar fluorocarbon resins. It's available in 4- through 20-pound test, in 200-yard spools. $9.99 | Seaguar.com
Bull Bay Rods burst onto the ICAST scene by winning the Best Saltwater Rod category with its new Banshee. These desert-tan rods come in 6-foot, 8-inch to 7-foot, 10-inch lengths in medium-light to medium-heavy action – and all in the lineup are extra-fast action. They're built with progressive backbones for the best possible casting, but what we liked the most were the custom-designed EVA grips with flared edges and double-locking reel seats, which felt super-comfortable in our hands. $159.99 to $179.99 | Bullbayrods.com
The Best New Eyewear award went to Costa Del Mar for its new collection of Untangled Performance Sunglasses, which are also worthy of note from an ecological angle. The frames of these glasses are made from recycled commercial fishing nets that are collected before they end up in the ocean, then melted down, pelletized, and remolded to create your next pair of shades. Slicker and smoother than previous Untangled editions and now available in versions specifically made for anglers, the complete model line features nine styles and a choice of blue, green, gray, copper-silver, or sunrise silver Costa Del Mar 580 lenses, which provide über-clear views and superior scratch resistance. When we tried a pair on, we found them to be incredibly lightweight and comfortable. $199–$269 | Costadelmar.com
Slice 'N' Dice
Slice 'N' Dice
You want the coolest, newest fillet knife on the planet? The Bubba Pro Series Cordless Electric Fillet Knife (which won for Best Cutlery) applies some serious tech to separating the fillets from the fishes, with a brushless motor powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and four high-carbon stainless-steel titanium-nitride-coated blades of different lengths (7 to 12 inches) with different flexing properties. $239.99 | Bubba.com
SUP Or SDP?
SUPs have become quite popular among paddlers, but they're not very fishing-friendly. Hobie has a whole new take on this sort of watercraft with its Mirage Lynx, which is more or less a SUP with a seat — a sit-down paddleboard, or SDP. Propulsion comes courtesy of Hobie's pedal-driven MirageDrive 180, and while the base model isn't very fishy, the Lynx has a track system for adding rod holders and is designed for easily mounting a fishfinder or Power Pole. Plus, thanks to the flat bottom and svelte 45-pound weight, the Lynx presents minimal hassle when loading it up on a roof rack. $2,699 | Hobie.com
And The Winner Is ...
There are 30 "Best of" categories in total at ICAST, but only one can win the coveted Best of Show award. Usually, you'd expect it to be some sort of expensive or complex product that takes the prize, but this year the winner was a humble little plastic fish: Berkley's new Gilly. Although it may look like countless other soft baits, its unique appeal goes well beyond the realistic look. The Gilly also has a hollow head that is easily crushed on a strike and helps the lure remain upright while swimming. It can be rigged sideways Texas-style, fished on a jig head, skewered on a weighted swimbait hook, through-rigged to a stinger, or rigged on a drop-shot; and since it's a Berkley, it's infused with loads of PowerBait scent and flavor. The Gilly is available in 3.5-, 4.3-, and 5.1-inch versions in eight color patterns, and comes in 2-or 3-packs. $7.49 | Berkley-fishing.com