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July 15, 2016

ICAST 2016: Top 10 Lures

by Craig Ritchie

Are they made to catch fish? Or are they made to catch fishermen? With new lures it's sometimes hard to tell. What can't be argued is that lure designers keep getting more inventive all the time, as evidenced by the entries in the annual ICAST Best of Show Awards for 2016. Here are 10 top baits that impressed the judges.

Livingston Lures Walking Boss
MSRP: $19.99

When the initial prototype was destroyed by a muskie on the first cast, Livingston knew they had a winner in the Walking Boss. With its pronounced wobble walk and ability to be worked at speeds from 5 mph to a slow roll, this versatile bait has a natural look while the EBS sound calls in big predators for the strike. Built tough to withstand plenty of chewing and abuse by big predator fish, this 8-inch 4-oounce topwater features a solid 1.8mm steel wire design and 2X strong VMC hooks.

Rapala Skitter V
MSRP: $8.99

Its unique belly design is said to give the Skitter V a radical topwater action. The innovative V-Rap belly design mimics the hull of a boat, allowing for extreme, sharp-turning action. Combined with tail weighted balance, the design allows the 4-inch, ½-ounce lure to cut quick to stay in place without leaving the strike zone.

Biovex Joint Bait 142
MSRP: $16.95

The Biovex Joint Bait 142 is a slow floating, 5.5-inch, 1-ounce near-surface lure developed out of the Japanese trend of "snake-based action." Retrieved slowly, it provides a unique waking movement just below the water's surface.

Mann's Big 4-0
MSRP: $6.99

The newest member of Mann's DL (Deep Ledge) series, the beefy 4-0 is said to dive to an astounding 40 feet. Made in the USA, the Big 4-0 weighs in at 2.5 ounces and is just over 6 inches long. It can be cast like a traditional crankbait using most beefed up rod/reel combos. The Quick Dive lip gets the lure down faster than other crankbaits, so it stays at the desired depth for longer periods of time. Available in 6 popular colors.

Berkley Dredger
MSRP: $8.95

A unique body shape and weighted bill drive Berkley's Dredger deep and keep it in the strike zone longer. With a tight, subtle action, it offers great castability and a slow rise when paused. Comes in 5 different sizes and 20 different colors.

Lunkerhunt Link
MSRP: $13.99

Said to be the only hinged walking topwater currently available, the Link offers an enticing gliding, serpentine action to replicate some of North America's most popular forage species. It comes in two styles: chasing baitfish which replicates fleeing minnows, and serpent, which mimics the slithering action of a snake or eel along the water's surface. The Lunkerhunt Link is equally effective in both freshwater and saltwater environments and comes in 4.5-inch and 6.75-inch sizes in a choice of 9 natural forage patterns.

Daiwa EverGreen Crankbait CH-1
MSRP: $15.95

An extreme shallow-running crankbait with a fast pitch and rolling action, the CHI crankbait generates a tremendous amount of vibration on the retrieve, making it a great choice in stained water. Designed with a weight transfer system that provides for long accurate casting when searching for productive waters, the CH-1 comes in 6 productive colors either in a natural pattern or vibrant combinations with high quality tournament hooks.

Shimano Coltsniper Jerkbait
MSRP: $14.99

Extreme casting distance with a dynamic swimming action is the best way to describe the all new Coltsniper Jerk by Shimano. The Shimano propulsion weight transfer system uses a spring-loaded sliding weight that delivers a 20 percent increase in casting distance compared to traditional weighted lures. With a tight wobble and slashing action that triggers aggressive strikes, anglers will be able target fish from a greater distance to avoid spooking or pushing a school down in the water column. Available in 2 sizes and 8 colors.

Westin BabyBite
MSRP: $9.99

Available in both shallow runner (SR) and deep runner (DR) versions, the BabyBite has a tight swimming action with "just enough craziness to attract even the weariest of hungry predators." The lure's low density keeps it in the strike zone longer when you perform a spin-stop retrieve, and is also effective on a continuous retrieve.

Savage Gear 3D Suicide Duck
MSRP: $19.99

The Suicide Duck's spinning feet throw water in all directions on the retrieve, calling in large game fish from a considerable distance. Rigged with both top and bottom hook configuration so anglers can customize the bait for any fishing situation, the 3D Duck is available in two sizes and three fish-catching colors.

July 14, 2016

ICAST 2016: Top 5 Fly Reels For 2017

by Craig Ritchie

Fly fishing continues to grow in popularity, and with exciting new reels like these, it's easy to see why. Here are five of the most exciting new reels unveiled at ICAST 2016.

Bauer SST
MSRP: From $355

The new Bauer SST fly reel combines a new large arbor spool and frame design with Bauer's industry-leading fully sealed zero-backlash drag. Bauer SST premium reels come in a spectacular clear aluminum finish with a new star drag dial available in 8 color choices. The new SST precision-manufactured reels continue the tradition of Bauer innovation as the "Swiss watch of fly reels." Available for 3wt through 7wt lines.

Sage 6200 Series
MSRP: $439

The new 6200 Series is fully machined with cold forged, tempered 6061-T6 aluminum, housing our proven Sealed Carbon System (SCSI) Drag. The 6200 features a super rigid frame-to-spool connection, a widened palming rim, a large/vented arbor for high retrieve rate, and our One Revolution Drag Knob with 40 detented drag settings for adjustable and repeatable drag resolution.

Ross Colorado LT
MSRP: From $280

Less is More Lightest reel in its class - all models under 3.0 ounces Large Arbor Design All-metal clicker and cover All aluminum, fully-machined construction Machined, marine-grade bronze bushing Canvas Micarta Handle - an industry first, more grip when wet MADE IN USA

Reddington Rise
MSRP: $200

The all new RISE continues our ongoing quest to think beyond the bounds of traditional reel designs. It features a u-shaped large-arbor and a compact carbon fiber drag system that offers over nibs of fish stopping torque. Lightweight design shows through in the modern aesthetic of the RISE, and thoughtful details like twin molded soft-touch handles and oversized drag knob help the reel perform in the hands of any angler.

Hardy Ultralite ASR
MSRP: $299

The ultimate cassette system reel, the new Hardy Ultralite ASR (Assisted Spool Release) reel features a fast, easy-to-use spool release system that actively frees the spool at the flick of a switch and automatically engages the new spool with a simple push fit. Also new to this range is a lightweight size model specifically designed for the challenges of modern river fishing.

July 14, 2016

ICAST 2016: 5 Top Baitcasting Reels

by Craig Ritchie

It takes a lot to impress the judges at the ICAST Best of Show awards, but these five new baitcasting reels all made a mark.

Lew's Super Duty Wide Speed Spool E040
MSRP: $199

Designed for inshore saltwater fishing, the Super Duty Wide Spool impressed judges with its potential for freshwater salmon, stripers, muskie and sturgeon. With a line capacity of 190 yards of 14 pound mono, it uses a sturdy one-piece aluminum frame and handle side plate, high strength solid brass gears, crankshaft and worm gear, and a braid-ready anodized U-shape forged aluminum spool. A premium 11-bearing system with double-shielded stainless bearings and Zero-Reverse anti-reverse, MCS magnetic cast control and carbon fiber drag system give it the credentials to tackle the toughest customers.

13 Fishing Concept TX (Special Edition)
MSRP: $300

A reel constructed "for the extreme demands of the gulf coast angler," 13 Fishing's Concept TX is built to handle the extreme salinity of the Gulf Coast
with corrosion resistant sealed bearings and Ocean Armor 2 saltwater protection. It accommodates 135 yards of 12 pound mono, and features 10 sealed ball bearing construction and a 25 pound maximum drag setting.

Abu Garcia MGXtreme
MSRP: $499

Abu Garcia's all-new, superlight MGXtreme weighs just 4.5 ounces, but don't let its diminutive form fool you. This tough little reel features 11-bearing construction, one-piece X Mag alloy frame, Abu's Carbon Matrix drag system for smooth, consistent drag pressure, infinitely variable centrifugal brake system, Infini II spool design, aircraft-grade aluminum main gear and Ti-coated line guide that reduces friction and improves durability. If the cork handles aren't for you, then swap them out for the included spare flat EVA knobs.

Team Lew's Custom Pro SLP D047
MSRP: $259

This is a big year for Lew's, with the all-new Custom Pro SLP winning the coveted Best of Show award in the freshwater reel category. This compact Super Low Profile (SLP) design is said to deliver a 10% overall reduction in size and a reel weight of only 5.8 ounces. Features include a one-piece aluminum frame, premium 11-bearing system, 4-pin 27 position SpeedCast ACB external adjust centrifugal braking system, and 95mm power handle with WINN Dri-Tec knobs. Its innovative 32mm fast-start spool casts light and heavy lures with ease. Sitting super low on a rod, balance is unreal.

Shimano Metanium MGL 150
MSRP: $419

Sleek, agile and powerful best describes the new Metanium MGL. Features include an all-new MAGNUMLITE spool that is said to deliver up to a 15% improvement in casting distance, a redesigned SVS Infinity braking system that provides a wider range of adjustability and the all new Silentune design that reduces vibration for incredible casting smoothness. When combined with Shimano's Metanium magnesium Hagane body, Micromodule gear system and X-SHIP, these new features "ensure you remain the ultimate predator on the water."

July 14, 2016

ICAST 2016: 5 Spinning Reels To Watch

by Craig Ritchie

The ICAST show is the best place to see all the latest fishing gear. Here are five new spinning reels to watch in 2017.

Daiwa BG Series
MSRP: From $99

Daiwa's new BG spinning reel series builds on more than 35 years of experience building premium tackle for both fresh and saltwater The series includes a variety of sizes, from a diminutive 1500 model to an 8000 size capable of the toughest saltwater trophies. The BG lineup features a machined body cover with black
anodizing to reduce scratching and corrosion, an oversized Digigear drive gear for smoothness and power, and a screw-in handle that eliminates any movement or play between the main gear and the handle arm.

Eagle Claw Sabalos II
MSRP: $99

The new Sabalos II reels are built to be the smoothest, longest casting reels on the market, much less for reels selling for under $100. They feature lOBB for reliable and smooth function and are guaranteed to not fail even under the toughest tournament conditions. A three layer drag system is designed to stop the strongest fish around, while a gear ratio of 5.8:1 allows the Sabalos II series to pick up line fast, with a retrieve of 26.7 inches per handle turn for the size 20 and 29.6 inches for the size 30. The size 20 reel weighs just 9.7 ounces while the size 30 comes in at 10.3 ounces.

Ardent CForce
MSRP: $99

Available in 1000, 2000 and 3000 sizes, Ardent Tackle's new CForce is a sleek, high performance spinning reel with a lightweight carbon frame and 9+1 ball bearing construction. Its 6.0:1 high speed retrieve allows rapid line pickup, while a carbon fiber, multi-stacked sealed drag system puts the brakes on even the hardest running fish.

Shimano Nasci
MSRP: Starting at $99

The all-new Nasci spinning reel by Shimano "redefines anglers expectations in a mid priced spinning reel" according to the company. Nasci – said to be the Latin word for birth – features the Shimano Hagane cold-forged gear that is claimed to be 165% stronger than zinc cast gears. Incorporating the company's CoreProtect water resistance, Nasci is designed to resist the elements and keep the angler fishing in any conditions.

Ardent Bolt
MSRP: $79

Ardent's new Bolt is a high performance, affordable spinning reel with a lightweight graphite frame and a 6.0:1 high-speed gear ratio. 9+1 ball bearing construction, a carbon fiber rotor and a high grade aluminum spool with braid band make this a feature-rich reel at an attractive price.