The 2018 ICAST tackle trade show had everything from fishing rods, reels and lures to underwater cameras and underwear.
The 61st International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades was July 10-13 in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center. Exhibitors from around the world displayed their products in the hopes that retailers will stock their tackle stores with them.
There were many new items that should appeal to South Florida anglers whether they fish inshore, offshore or in lakes and canals.
Shimano’s Curado DC baitcaster, which was voted the best new freshwater reel at ICAST, features digital control technology that prevents backlashes while allowing anglers to cast farther, even into the wind. That makes the reel ideal for those who have never used a baitcaster as well as expert anglers.
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A microcomputer monitors the reel’s spool speed 1,000 times every second and applies the perfect amount of brake force. A dial on the outside of the reel provides four different brake settings: “max distance” for long casts in calm conditions; “braid/mono” for all-around use of those lines; “fluorocarbon” for stiffer lines; and “skipping” for casting under docks and piers, in extreme conditions and for beginners.
“What I like about the reel, when I first used it was in Louisiana in gale-force winds. And I could cast a hollow-body frog into the wind as far as I needed to and even better, I could get the fish out of the cover. It’s a really strong reel and has a lot of guts to it,” said bass pro Bernie Schultz of Gainesville. “It’ll handle a broad range of lures, light to heavier lures, and the casting distance is incredible. It’s also a great reel for saltwater.”
The Curado DC, which will be available in mid-August, comes in right- and left-hand retrieves in 6.2:1, 7.4:1 and 8.5:1 gear ratios. The suggested retail price is $249.99.
Shimano also won best saltwater reel with its Tekota 500, an upgraded version of the levelwind reel that was introduced in 2003. More compact, ergonomic and lighter (only 14.5 ounces), the TEK500 is offered in right- and left-hand retrieves. The reel has a 6.3:1 gear ratio and can hold 330 yards of 50-pound braided line or 285 yards of 16-pound monofilament. The price is $209.99 and it will be available this fall.
LIVETARGET also achieved a prestigious double when its Fleeing Shrimp was voted the best new saltwater soft lure at ICAST and its Hollow Body Craw was named the best new freshwater soft lure. The realistic-looking lures move backwards when retrieved and have skirts that flare and flutter. The crawfish, which can be flipped into heavy cover or crawled along the bottom, sells for $9.99-$11.49 and the shrimp costs $9.99. Both will be available in late fall.
Kayak fishing is extremely popular in South Florida and the St. Croix Mojo Yak rods were specifically designed for fishing from a kayak, with extra-strong guides and a rounded butt that won’t catch on an angler’s clothes. Voted the best saltwater rod at ICAST, the Mojo Yak comes in six spinning and two casting models in 7-foot and 7-foot, 6-inch lengths that can also be used for freshwater fishing. They feature custom Winn split-grip handles (Winn also makes grips for golf clubs) with a tacky surface that offers a more secure hold on the rod when wet. The suggested retail prices are $150 and $160 and the rods will be available in September.
The eye-catching Daiwa Proteus WN fishing rods have blue D-VEC Winn Grip polymer wraps on the handle and a limited lifetime warranty. Available now in seven conventional and two spinning models ranging from $229.99-$279.99, the rods are designed for everything from sailfish to tarpon. They feature Braiding-X carbon fiber, which produces a visible criss-cross pattern on the rod.
“It allows us to add a lot more strength to the rod while keeping the diameter small,” said Daiwa marketing field specialist Marc Mills. “That smaller diameter makes the rod lighter.”
Accurate introduced Valiant rods, its first rod line, to go with its Valiant reels because anglers couldn’t find rods that were light enough and strong enough for the small but powerful conventional reels, according to Accurate’s Justin Poe. The 12 rods in four lengths — 6 feet, 8 inches, 7 feet, 7-6 and 8 feet — are designed to match the Valiant 300 through 600 reels. Nine of those Valiant rod and reel combinations have a total weight of less than 2 pounds. Available in August, the suggested retail is $259-$289.
G. Loomis redesigned its E6X Inshore Series rods, which were introduced in 2015, to improve their durability and balance. The lightweight rods are available in three casting and 11 spinning models ranging from 6 feet, 6 inches to 8 feet for everything from trout to tarpon.
Product development manager David Brinkerhoff said each rod is crafted to match the reel and line used for a specific type of fishing, such as plugs and monofilament line on a large spinning reel for snook. All the rods have a buff blank finish. They are shipping now to retailers and prices are $189.99-$229.99.
The new Ricky Red Signature Series inshore rods from Okuma were designed by Capt. Rick Murphy of Homestead, a guide and TV fishing show host, for bonefish, sea trout, redfish and snook. Available in August in eight spinning and four casting models, the lightweight red rods retail for $99.99.
PowerPro SuperSlick V2 Braid was voted ICAST’s best fishing line. It features densely woven Honeywell Spectra eight-end fiber with a coating process that floods resin through the braid for increased abrasion resistance. It also makes the line rounder and smoother, which reduces backlashes and increases casting distance. The line, which is available in the fall, comes in four colors in 8- to 80-pound test and 150- to 3,000-yard spools.
Underwear For Men features an adjustable drawstring mesh pouch that keeps fishermen comfortable, even on the hottest South Florida days.
“It’s isolation, it’s lift, it’s support and it’s moisture management,” CEO and president John Polidan said. “We are the only underwear company brand that provides actual support. Most underwear brands just kind of mash you against your thigh. Skin on skin rubbing and contact is not a good thing, especially in the heat.”
Available in stores and online in briefs, trunks and 6- and 9-inch boxer briefs, the quick-drying, moisture-wicking underwear comes in polyester or viscose made from bamboo in extra small to 5X sizes (24-58 inches).