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July 17, 2015

Fishing Accessories Galore at ICAST

by Craig Ritchie

From tackle boxes to high performance rain suits, tackle manufacturers have pulled out all the stops with an incredible range of new products unveiled this week at the ICAST fishing tackle trade show, held in Orlando, Florida.


Plano exhibited a number of new tackle boxes, including a Women's Series of soft-sided tackle bags and a new M Series that includes a Hydro-Flow hanging bait bag that will appeal to muskie anglers and professional guides

The Women's Series of soft bags consists of three new totes offering all-new functional designs in a stylish teal finish with light pink trim.


Plano Women's Series Soft-Sided Tackle Bag and Tote



"Plano has always made high-quality products," says Plano Prostaffer Marianne Huskey, the first and only female to win an Angler of the Year title in professional fishing. "The new Woman's Series of soft bags are not only attractive to the female eye, but are well thought out in design and functionality."

The attractive Woman's Series Tote holds up to four 3600 StowAway utility boxes in its divided main compartment. The design allows two of the Stowaways to be pulled to make space for a light jacket or other fundamentals. Two oversized end pockets are perfect for storing water bottles, sunscreen or other large items, while two huge slip pockets provide additional utility. Inside, a zippered interior cell phone pocket sits near the top main opening for easy access. Two nylon straps fit comfortably in the hand for straightforward lift and carry.

The Carrier bag also accommodates four 3600 StowAway boxes in its main compartment, and has a double zippered opening at the top for wide open access. In a more traditional styling, the Woman's Series Tackle Bag offers four zippered and three mesh pockets that provide ample storage for essential fishing tools, sunglasses, pocketbooks and more.


Plano M-Series Hydro-Flo Tackle Bag


Professional guides and muskie anglers – male or female – will enjoy Plano's new M-Series Hydro-Flo tackle bag, which stores up to 25 oversized lures in vertical hanging bait compartments, with room for a 3700-series StowAway on top. Its flow-through design and reinforced base with drainage allow lures to be put away wet without fear of corrosion. Plus-sized perimeter pockets that zip closed secure tools like fish gloves, pliers and hook removers.


Yeti Coolers attracted a large crowd at the show when the company unveiled its first new Tundra cooler in more than three years, the Tundra 210.


Yeti Tundra 210 Cooler


With over 12,000 cubic inches of capacity, the new Tundra 210 is one of the company's largest coolers, yet has a smaller, cubed footprint designed to better fit a boat deck. Constructed from roto-molded polyethylene, the Tundra 210 is virtually indestructible, while its FatWal Design and extra thick PermaFrost insulation combine to provide maximum ice retention. Yeti's NeverFail hinge system and durable rubber T-Rex lid latches combine for secure, reliable storage while the Vortex drain system provides easy and complete draining with the twist of the plug. Like all Tundra coolers, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee certifies the Tundra 210 to be bear-resistant when secured with a proper lock.

The Tundra 210 is also dry ice compatible, giving users access to three times the cooling power of regular ice and more interior room for cooler contents.


Bubba Blade exhibited a full line of fishing-specific knives, including two new models for 2016. A new nine-inch fillet knife with a flexible serrated blade allows anglers to easily slice through fresh fish without tearing any meat. An offset, six-inch handle design with a trigger grip and non-slip thumb and finger pads allows anglers to utilize the entire blade, while providing greater comfort.


Bubba Blade Fillet Knives


Also new for this year is the four-inch Shorty, which also features an offset, titanium coated stainless steel blade. Versatile enough to perform double duty in the kitchen, the Shorty makes a great bait knife with its micro-serrated blade.


One of the most dramatic displays at ICAST belonged to Wiley X eyewear. Showing its roots as a supplier of precision eyewear to military and tactical support teams, the company featured a high mass impact test device in its booth to demonstrate the toughness of its ANSI-rated sunglass lenses and frames. The demonstrations clearly resonated with anglers in attendance, who all know the potential for being hit by the bait when a fish shakes off close to the boat. "We also test them by shooting them with steel ball bearings," said Ryan Wilkerson, director of brand management for Wiley X. "But that's just not practical to do in a show booth."


Wiley X Sunglasses



New for 2016 are the Wiley X, WX Legend, WX Tide and WX Peak styles, each available with a wise range of 16 different lens options, from a blue mirror polarized style popular with open water anglers, to a new gold mirror type. "We can also do prescription lenses," says Wilkerson. "The customer sends us their prescription and their choice of lens and frame style, and we ship it right out."

July 17, 2015

Next Generation Rods and Reels Unspooled at ICAST 2015

by Craig Ritchie

One expects to see new technologies introduced at the world's largest fishing tackle trade show, and manufacturers did not disappoint with numerous new rod and reel introductions at ICAST, held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando from July 15 to 17, 2015.

Leading the way from Abu Garcia are the company's new Revo MGX spinning reels. A new AMGearing system uses finely tuned machined gears cut to exacting tolerances in order to deliver better performance and longer life. The new reels also feature Abu's X-MAG gearbox, providing a super-light weight yet extremely strong gear housing that's better able to withstand the strain of long fights with strong-running fish. Like all Revo reels, the MGX series feature the company's Rocket Line Management System, and a Carbon Matrix system for smooth, consistent drag pressure throughout the entire operating range.


Abu Garcia Revo MGX


For anglers who regularly target large, rambunctious species like muskie, pike, stripers and salmon, Abu Garcia also introduced a new Revo Toro Beast heavy-duty baitcasting reel. With its active-response Power Stack Carbon Matrix drag system, the new Revo Toro Beast allows anglers to make immediate drag adjustments in mid-fight, even with the line taut. This is unique, since anglers have historically had to ease tension on the line in order to make any adjustments, sometimes losing the fish in the process. Maximum drag setting is a whopping 25 pounds. The Revo Toro Beast uses a lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum spool for high strength and longer casts, and Abu's Duragear heavy-duty gear system for increased fighting power and extended gear life. The reel even comes with a choice of handles – and extended bent grip for increased cranking power, a power handle and a casting power handle, each with large EVA knobs for all-day comfort. The Revo Toro Beast is available in eight models, including two with high speed retrieves.


Abu Garcia Revo Toro Beast


Shimano also pulled the wraps of a number of new products at the 2015 ICAST, including an all-new Stradic FK reel series. The new ST-1000HG, ST-25000HG and ST-C3000HG models each come with 6.0:1 gear ratios, while the larger ST-4000XG and ST-C5000XG models feature 6.2:1 gearing. All five reels feature six shielded AR-B bearings, Shimano's one-way bearing power roller and a cold-forged aluminum spool.


Shimano Stradic FK 2500HG


In its baitcasting lineup, Shimano revealed all new 300 and 400 models in its top-of-the-line Calcutta Conquest series. Increased spool capacity makes the new reels ideal for casting big swimbaits for bass, big bucktails and jerkbaits in musky waters, and for inshore saltwater use for anglers targeting bluefish, stripers and tarpon. The Calcutta Conquest 300 (right-hand) and 301 (left-hand) weigh in at 11.5-ounces and accommodate 160 yards of 20-pound test monofilament. Weighing 11.7-ounces, the Calcutta Conquest 400 and 401 can handle 235-yards of 20-pound test monofilament respectively. All four reels have 5.6:1 gear ratios and will retrieve in 30-inches of line per crank.


Shimano Calcutta Conquest


Premium rod builder G. Loomis came to ICAST with its all-new E6X rod series of 30 casting and spinning rods, offered in both technique specific models with exacting actions, and ‘Classic' models with more forgiving actions for use with a variety of lures. The series also includes a pair of two-piece rods for anglers looking for travel convenience. Technique-specific casting rods in the E6X line feature split grip handles with cork grips, along with Fuji reels seats and guides. Classic multi-purpose E6X models include six ‘Mag Bass' and flipping action casting rods, and six spin jig spinning rods – all with fast tapers and powerful butt-sections, full cork grips, Fuji guides and Fuji exposed blank trigger reels seats.


G. Loomis E6X



Okuma presented a number of new products as part of its 2016 lineup, including an all-new spinning reel series named Inspira. Available in thee sizes (20, 30 or 40 series) and with the choice of black/blue or white/black finishes, the Inspira line features an all-new cyclonic flow rotor that is said to create a rotation of air around the rotor, beneath and around the spool, in order to drive moisture away from structural elements to minimize corrosion and extend longevity. An all-new
Centrifugal Disc Bail design incorporating a stout brass disc for improved balance and smoother, more precise bail operation with a minimum of moving parts.


Okuma Inspira


The Okuma rod lineup also featured a number of new models for 2016, including a full range of SST salmon and steelhead rods with carbon grips. The lineup includes 26 technique-specific salmon and steelhead actions, four models of pink Ladies Edition SST rods and three 4-piece multi-species travel rods – that's a total of 34 new models in all. Carbon grip rods are crafted from tubular woven 3k carbon fiber, which is said to be more durable than traditional cork grips. It's also much easier to keep clean, stands up to use in rod holders without chipping, and provides a better grip in wet hands.


Okuma SST with carbon handle grip



Daiwa showed a wide range of new tackle for 2016. The company's new Fuego spinning reels utilize a "Hardbodyz" design said to add strength and durability. Available in four sizes (2000, 2500, 3000 and 4000) the Fuego features an innovative Air Rotor that cuts weight, and Daiwa's Digigear digital gear design and nine-bearing system for smooth and effortless rotation. Additional features include an Air Bail, ABS aluminum spool and machine cut aluminum handle with EVA knob.


Daiwa Fuego 2500



Also new for 2016, Daiwa's top-of-the-line Steez baitcasting reels now are available with SV spools. Made of G1 Duralumin, the SV spool is lighter is lighter yet stronger than traditional aluminum for easier start-up on the cast and greater longevity. Zaion side covers and a swept handle with cutouts further reduce weight. The Steez SV comes with an Air Brake system to allow long casts with lightweight lures, 8.1:1 Xltra hyper speed retrieve and 12-bearing construction. Daiwa's Ultimate Tournament Carbon drag with 13.2 pounds of pressure should stop big fish in their tracks.


Daiwa Steez SV



Available in both right and left hand models, the new TeamKVD line of rods and reels from Quantum tie bass fishing's all time money winner to a rich looking series of rods and reels that start at $79 for the reel, or $99 for a combo.


Quantum Team KVD rod and reel



Each TeamKVD reel features eight bearings, and a lightweight aluminum spool. The 7.3:1 gear ratio model sucks up 31 inches of line with every turn of the handle, while the 6.6:1 model picks up 28 inches per turn. Both feature an external magnetic cast control that helps anglers dial-in to match lure weights and wind conditions, plus a carbon fiber/stainless drag system. The matching TeamKVD graphite composite rods feature split grip EVA handles.
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