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July 15, 2017

Best New Products of iCAST: Day 3

by Craig Ritchie

Okuma Epixor XT

While the Epixor name has long been associated with Okuma spinning reels, the all-new Epixor XT adds a body built from C-40X long-strand graphite fiber for enhanced durability. Additional features include Okuma's slow oscillation system for optimal lime lay, 7+1 bearing construction and a multi-disc drag that can exert more than 22 pounds of drag pressure. Available in three sizes (20, 30 and 40 series) the Epixor XT comes with a one-year warranty. MSRP is $69.99

Revo Premier

The fourth generation Revo low profile baitcasting reel, Abu Garcia's new Revo premier takes smoothness and durability to a new level with 10 stainless steel HPCR bearings plus 1 roller bearing, an alloy frame with carbon side plates, Abu's Carbon Matrix drag system and Infini II spool, and a lube port for easy maintenance. An oversized cranking handle and knobs provide greater leverage and comfort. MSRP is $299.95.

Doomsday D-Hop 90

2017 may well go down as the year of the frog at ICAST, with frog baits more prominent than ever. Leading the charge is Doomsday tackle's new D-Hop 90. Made from DuraFoam, the D-Hop 90 can never be filled with water no matter how many pike chew on it. Soft and pliable, yet buoyant enough to float any hook the angler chooses to use, it offers an easy walking action supported by floppy legs for enhanced appeal. MSRP is $7.49.

Simms Wader Maker Wallet

Show off your angler's pride all the time with the Wader Maker wallet by Simms. Made from the same Gore-Tex material used in the company's premium waders, this wallet features six card slots, two currency pockets and an embossed Simms trout logo in a slim fold, easy wearing design. It's also just plain cool. MSRP is $89.95.

Raffal Jerk Bait

The Raffal from Biwaa Fishing Performance is an all-new jerk bait design built using a resin body for extreme durability, yet matching wooden baits in terms of performance. The Raffal delivers an erratic or gliding action depending on the retrieve, and shimmies enticingly as it falls on a slack line. Photorealistic finishes using Clone Tech – Capture Life technology give these baits an irresistible appearance. MSRP for the 4-inch model is $14.99, while the 6-inch Raffal is $17.99.

Haira Tiny

Walleye, salmon and steelhead anglers will appreciate the new Haira Tiny from Lucky John USA. This shallow diving, thumbnail-sized wobbler floats at rest, providing an enticing action when retrieves in a slow stop-and-go. With a steady retrieve, the Haira Tiny vibrates quickly, delivering intense vibrations fish can sense at long distances. Lucky John's OSS system provides increased casting range as well. MSRP is $8.99.

Magic Sponge

Star brite's Magic Sponge scuff and streak eraser uses a non-abrasive texture to safely remove stains and scuff marks from fiberglass boat decks, vinyl, plastic and other surfaces. Individually, packed, the Magic Sponge is perfect for spot clean-ups in a boat, RV, garage or house. MSRP is $2.99.

Sea Eagle PackFish 7

The PackFish 7 from Sea eagle weighs just 21 pounds and packs down to a 20x20x5 inch package that can be worn as a backpack, allowing anglers to effectively fish even the most remote waters. The PVC ladder is protected by a thick 840 denier nylon fabric to protect against punctures. Standard features include oak locks, rod holders, a measuring tape and two large gear pockets with cup holders. Inflated, it supports up to 300 pounds of angler and gear. MSRP is $399 - $439.

July 14, 2017

Best New Products of iCAST 2017: Day 2

by Craig Ritchie

New product introductions continue as iCAST, the world's largest fishing tackle trade show, runs through its second day.

Daiwa Ballistic LT

Daiwa's all-new Ballistic LT series of spinning reels were created to be lighter in weight yet stronger in build, while utilizing a more compact overall design. The strength of the Zaion housing gives the reels their name, with LT standing for Light and Tough. An A7075 aircraft-grade aluminum Digigear provides smoothness and durability while a Magsealed main shaft protects against water and debris intrusion. With models from 1000 to 6000 size, the Ballistic LT is ideal for freshwater, inshore and light saltwater applications. MSRP ranges from $229.99 to $249.99 depending on size.

Quarrow Digital Scale

Quarrow's new digital fish scale features an extremely compact design that lets it fit anywhere – even in a fishing vest pocket. Measuring just 4 inches by 2.2 inches by 1 inch deep, it can weigh fish of up to 50 pounds, displaying weights in pounds, kilograms, ounces or grams. The green back-lit screen is easy to see in any lighting, and its stainless steel hook resists corrosion for long life. MSRP is $16.99.

Head Hunter Magnum

The double-jointed Head Hunter Magnum from Livingston Lures is an all-new muskie and pike lure that combines the slow-swimming action of a swim bait with the vibration of a shallow crankbait. With its natural action, slow sink rate and EBS technology that mimics the sounds of real baitfish, and the Head Hunter Magnum should attract some fresh water monsters. MSRP is $22.99

Shimano Sustain C4000/5000

Shimano continues to update its acclaimed Sustain line of spinning reels with new C4000/5000 models built for heavy freshwater and general saltwater use. Now incorporating Shimano's Hagane gear technology and body design, and X-Protect, both feature a fast 6.2:1 retrieve ratio that allows the 4000 to retrieve 39 inches of line with each turn of the handle, while the larger 5000 brings in 41 inches per turn. MSRP is $309.99.

Super Snip

The Super Snip from Boomerange Tools combines three essential fishing tools into one compact unit. Its powerful 40 milliwatt UV light charges glow-in-the-dark jig heads quickly, while an integral hook eye cleaner rids jig head eyes of paint debris. The long blade snip easily cuts fluorocarbon, braid and monofilament lines cleanly. It even has a 36-inch retractable tether to keep the Super Snip close at hand and protected against loss. MSRP is $19.99

Bobbin' Frog

Designed to accurately mimic the appearance and action of a small frog making its way across the water surface, the Bobbin' Frog from Chasebaits Australia measures just 1.57 inches long, but attracts the attention of big fish with its natural bobbing action that looks just like a small frog pushing its way along. Natural kicking legs and paddling arms work together to accurately mimic a real frog's movements. The body material is super-tough and the weedless hook positioned to avoid fouling vegetation while still providing solid hooking power. MSRP is $6.29.

Lew's Hyper Mag SLP

The new TLH1SH Hyper Mag SLP from Lew's is a premium 11-bearing reel with Lew's lowest profile design yet. An innovative, machined aluminum spool handles lighter lines and lures without sacrificing power and performance, while a one-piece magnesium frame with C45 carbon side plates keeps total weight down to just 5.4 ounces. It even features a 95mm carbon fiber handle with Winn Dri-Tac knobs. MSRP is $299.99

Berkley Juke

The Berkley Juke combines the action of handcrafted wooden baits with the durability of synthetics. Designed with input from master angler David Fritts, the Juke casts like a bullet while delivering maximum action at all speeds on straight retrieves, twitching retrieves, high-speed burns or deep trolling. Available in a wide range of colors, the Juke is described by Fritts as a "dream bait." MSRP is $7.99.

Sportfisher II Moonphase

The new Sportfisher II Moonphase titanium watch from Hook & Gaff uses a custom Swiss quartz movement to display time, date and moon phase. Said to offer "the best graphical representation of the passage of time, compared to the standard watch with more precise hands and numbers," the Sportfisher II Moonphase places the winding crown on the left-hand side to avoid irritation while fishing. Its titanium case is corrosion and water-resistant, in addition to being a poor conductor of heat during those warm days out on the open water. MSRP is $650 with the standard woven strap, and $745 for hand-stitched leather.

Yakima 4-Inch Mag Lip

Yakima Baits made a lot of salmon and steelhead anglers happy with the release of a new four-inch Mag Lip trolling plug. Also billed as an effective lure for lake trout and walleye, the new four-inch model features the unique darting "skip beat" action with an added ability to dive to depths of 16 to 18 feet. The lure can handle speeds or currents of up to 4.0 mph without turning over. Available in 30 colors, each Mag Lip 4.0 features a durable UV overcoat to increase its visibility in low light and off-colored water. MSRP n/a.

July 13, 2017

2017 ICAST Award Winners Announced

by Craig Ritchie

A total of 21 manufacturers were recognized with 2017 New Product Awards on the second day of ICAST, the world's largest fishing tackle trade show.

New products entered into a total of 26 different categories were judged based on votes by media and tackle buyers in attendance. Voting began at a new product showcase reception held on Tuesday evening, and concluded mid-day Wednesday with the winners announced in the early afternoon.

Winner of the Best of Show award as the overall most promising new product was the Rover, a fishing-specific stand-up paddleboard (SUP) made by Fort Walton beach, Florida-based BOTE Boards.

Category winners included:

Freshwater Reel
Curado K Baitcasting Reel

Freshwater Rod
Fate Black
13 Fishing

Saltwater Reel
Sustain C4000/5000

Saltwater Rod
Legend Tournament Inshore
St. Croix Rods

Rod & Reel Combo
Mach Crush Speed Spool Combo

Fly Fishing Reel
Pfluger Supreme QRS
Pure Fishing

Fly Fishing Rod
G. Loomis

Freshwater Hard Lure
Savage Gear 3D Topwater

Freshwater Soft Lure
Prop Series
Lunkerhunt LP

Saltwater Hard Lure
X-Rap Magnum 40

Saltwater Soft Lure
Holly Body Mullet

Fishing Line
Berkley Fireline Ultra 8
Pure Fishing

Kid's Tackle
Ambition Combo
13 Fishing

Tackle Management
Tactical Backpack

Terminal Tackle
Round Bend Series
Trapper Tackle

Solix 15 CHIRP Mega SI GPS

BOTE Boards

Boating Accessory
LoadOut Bucket
Yeti Coolers

Fishing Accessory
Panga Duffel
Yeti Coolers

Fly Fishing Accessory
G3 Guide Stocking Foot Waders

2017 Flounder Sample Pack
Eagle Claw

HUK Performance Fishing

Fish Prints – Actual Size
The Catch & Release Gift Shop

Lifestyle Apparel
Prym1 Series Pilot II Jacket & Bibbs
Frogg Toggs

Technical Apparel
Sierran Transition Wader
Frogg Toggs

Sunrise Silver Mirror Lens
Costa Sunglasses

The 2017 edition of ICAST runs through Friday at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

July 13, 2017

Best New Products of iCAST 2017: Day 1

by Craig Ritchie

Berkley Fireline Ultra 8

Berkley takes fishing line innovation to the next level with its new Fireline Ultra 8. Thermally-fusing an eight-carrier Dyneema fiber braid makes this Fireline the toughest yet, with four times more abrasion resistance than the original. Casting distance is also said to be improved. Available in smoke and crystal finishes, Berkley Fireline Ultra 8 comes in 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 20 and 30 pound test. MSRP is $19.99 for a filler spool.

Ardent Tackle Apex Denny Brauer Flippin Reel

Designed by elite angler Denny Brauer, the Apex Denny Brauer Flippin Reel is specifically designed for "flippin and pitchin" to fish buried deep in heavy cover. The narrow spool design and ceramic insert nose piece allow for direct line release. Major features include 10+1 ball bearings, an all-aluminum frame, and a carbon fiber handle. But don't look for a level wind, because it doesn't have one. Available in left-hand or right-hand retrieve, in either 6.5:1 and 7.3:1 retrieve ratios. MSRP is $149.99.

SPRO BBZ-1 Rat 25

SPRO is adding to its acclaimed BBZ-1 Rat family with the all-new BBZ-1 Rat 25. This downsized topwater bait produces a deep thumping sound when fished on a steady retrieve, or an erratic side-to-side action when fished in a stop-and-go. The Rat 25 measures 2.5 inches in length and weighs 5/16 ounce, making it usable with light baitcasting gear. It comes in all five BBZ-2 Rat colors, and includes a replacement tail section. MSRP is $19.95

Garmin Quatrix 5 Sapphire Marine Smartwatch

Garmin's Quatrix 5 sapphire marine smartwatch provides comprehensive connectivity with compatible Garmin chartplotters and other devices. Capabilities include autopilot control, remote waypoint marking and data streaming, such as speed, depth, temperature and wind. Built-in Wi-Fi plus connected features for smart notifications, automatic uploads and more add to its utility. It even includes a wristband heart rate monitor, and a built-in GPS. MSRP is $849.99

Evergreen Noisy Dachs ND-90

Evergreen is known for making high-end tackle, and the Noisy Dachs ND-90 is about as high-end as fishing lures get. The new hybrid wake bait/swim bait pushes a small wall of water like most billed wake boats, but also has a distinctive shad tail – constructed of a unique hardwood said to produce a deeper, more marked sound – that thumps loudly on the surface. In fact, the entire bait is constructed of hardwood for natural action and buoyancy, and comes rigged with Decoy big game treble hooks. Consider it the Mercedes-Benz of fishing lures, and with an MSRP to match at $89.99.

Okuma Coronado CDX

The new Coronado CDX baitfeeder reel from Okuma utilizes a trip bait-feeding system that allows anglers to disengage the spool and allow the bait to run freely. Cyclonic flow rotor technology and heavy duty brass DFD and spool shaft stabilizer work with five bearing construction for silky smooth operation. A corrosion-resistant body, slow oscillation and a one year warranty make the Coronado CDX a top pick for freshwater or saltwater use. MSRP is $99.99 to $119.99 depending on size.

Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Deep Diver Walleye 5.25

Yo-Zuri showed a new addition to its popular Crystal Minnow Deep Diver Walleye series of crankbaits. The new 5-1/4 inch model dives to depths of up to 20 feet and comes in 14 painted and translucent finishes, including all-clear and all-white models for anglers who wish to apply their own unique color patterns. Black nickel round bend hooks, black nickel split rings and Yo-Zuri's proven Crystal Minnow action give this bait plenty of appeal. MSRP is $9.99.

Clee-Seven Bass Design Explorer

V-shaped and light weight, the Explorer hybrid kick boat from Clee-Seven Bass Design is the ideal watercraft for anglers who like to get way back into ultra-remote lakes. It features the company's patented Clipline system to secure cargo side bags and anchor loose fishing tackle, while the built-in seat has holders for a security flag and two fishing rods. A pocket apron keeps essential gear within easy reach, while padded backpack straps allow easy portability. It even comes with a trolling motor mount for longer expeditions. MSRP is $559.00

Wiley X Omega Kryptek Neptune

Wiley X has partnered with Kryptek to create what the company calls the ultimate in polarized fishing glasses. Filter 8 polarized lenses provide premium protection while meeting or exceeding ANSI Z87.1-2010 and EN.166 safety standards for optical clarity as well as high velocity impact protection. Offered in sizes medium and large, each comes with a case strap, cleaning cloth and a limited lifetime warranty. MSRP is $140.00.