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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 16, 2015

Hundreds of New Baits Unveiled at ICAST

by Craig Ritchie

Anglers will face tough choices when shopping for new lures next spring as manufacturers unveil a wide range of new hard and soft baits this week at ICAST, the world's largest fishing tackle trade show. More than 11,000 people representing manufacturers, buyers, dealers and reps from around the globe are on hand in Orlando to see what's new for 2016, including hundreds of new lures from manufacturers around the globe.

Berkley has unveiled a complete line of new hard baits, in cooperation with top bass pro David Fritts. The all-new Berkley Hardbait series consists of 11 different models, each rigged with Berkley Fusion19 treble hooks and featuring custom designs and colors. Models include the Bad Shad 5 and Bad Shad 7 crankbaits that rise slightly at every pause; the Cutter 90+, Cutter 110+ and Skinny Cutter 110+ suspending jerkbaits; the Digger 6.5 and Digger 8.5 crankbaits designed for covering water with an aggressive wobble and side flash; the square-billed Pitbull 5.5, designed to bounce off of wooded cover; the lipless Warpig 1/2 and 1/4; and the deep-running Wild Thang 8.5.

Berkley's Hardbait Cutter

Berkley's PowerBait Shaky Snake

While the new hardbaits definitely raised eyebrows, Berkley has also made some significant new introductions to its PowerBait lineup for 2016, topped by the all-new Shaky Snake. Designed for finicky fish that just won't commit, this five-inch bait features a beefy head section that tapers into an egg sack. Corkscrew ribs add a lifelike, fluid motion that should coax even the spookiest bass. The ribs on the Shaky Snake are said to add more surface area, allowing more scent dispersion throughout the water column.

Thanks to its unique moving weight system, the Jaco 58MR from Jackall casts like a lure that's heavier than it actually is. The flat-sided crank will dive down to about six feet, making it a good choice for fishing over grass beds. Available in eight colors, it features an innovative internal scale pattern finish for enhanced underwater reflection.

Jackall's Jaco 58MR

Mann's Baits raised a few eyebrows with its all-new Crystal Classic spinnerbait. This lure features an actual glass crystal mounted in a clear, polycarbonate blade, which the company says generates unique vibration patterns in addition to distinctive flash in the water. The Crystal Classic comes with a Silaflash skirt, Eagle Claw Trokar hook, and the classic spinnerbait head to create a truly modern twist on one of the all-time classic lure designs.

Mann's Baits' Crystal Classic

Not to be outdone, Live Target came to the show with a number of new lures for both freshwater and saltwater applications.

The Hollow Body Sunfish comes in two sizes and 12 colors that match varied Pumpkinseed and Bluegill patterns. Perfect for use in heavy cover, its weedless design utilizes a custom Trokar double hook.

LiveTarget's Hollow Body Sunfish

With the round goby now a prolific baitfish in the Great Lakes region, Live Target has introduced two variations of this pre-rigged and weighted soft-plastic lure. Available in three sizes and eight colors, the Goby comes in both a Paddle Tail and Curly Tail versions.

LiveTarget's Round Goby

Also new is a Magnum Threadfin Shad crankbait in the BaitBall Series. Designed to represent a group of shad that have become separated from their school, the new bait comes in eight color patterns, some with metallic flash enhanced anatomy schemes

LiveTarget's Magnum Threadfin Shad

Snagproof enters the 2016 season with its new Wobbletron frog. The weedless, one-half ounce floating frog features new kicker feet that come straight out the back of the frog for great gurgling action during a slow, steady retrieve. The durable, soft, hollow plastic body stays weedless through the snaggiest weeds and feels natural to fish that hit it, allowing more time to set the hook. Specially weighted to land right-side-up at the end of the cast, the Wobbletron comes in five colors.

Snagproof's Wobbletron Frog

The new Impulse Live Rigged Paddle Minnow from Northland Fishing Tackle was designed for walleye, but should also prove a hit with smallmouth bass anglers. The lifelike baitfish-imitating bodies are precisely matched to ultra-realistic, stand-up jig heads and come conveniently pre- rigged in sizes from 3/64 to 3/8 ounce. Available in six holographic HD fish photo-image finishes, the Live Rigged Paddle Minnow is said to offer a uniquely lifelike action and feel.

Northland's Impulse Live Rigged Paddle Minnow

The ICAST show runs at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando through July 17.